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The Most Common Types of Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

The Most Common Injuries Caused from a Car Accident

Each year, many car accidents happen in Louisiana, causing physical and emotional pain for those involved. Car accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, some minor and others life-altering.

Understanding the most common injuries that arise from car accidents in Louisiana is crucial not only for accident victims but for all drivers and passengers.

In this blog, we will explore common injuries, explaining their causes, symptoms, and possible long-term effects. Whether you’re a Louisiana resident or just passing through, this information can help you stay informed and safe on the road.

Whiplash: The Silent Agony

Rear-end car accidents primarily associate with whiplash, but it can occur in various scenarios involving sudden deceleration or acceleration. Understanding the mechanics of how whiplash occurs is the first step in grasping its nature.

  • Rear-End Collisions: The most common cause of whiplash is a rear-end collision. When a vehicle gets hit from behind, the person’s body moves forward. However, the head stays back, which causes the neck to stretch excessively.
  • Other Collision Types: Whiplash can also occur in other collision types, such as frontal or side impacts. In these cases, the rapid deceleration or acceleration forces the head and neck to move suddenly, leading to injury.

Symptoms Unveiled: The Complex Landscape of Whiplash

Whiplash symptoms can be both complex and perplexing, often manifesting days or even weeks after the accident. The variability in symptoms can make diagnosis and treatment challenging. Let’s take a detailed look at the range of symptoms associated with whiplash:

  • Neck Pain: Neck pain is the hallmark symptom of whiplash. It can vary from mild to severe and may radiate to the shoulders and upper back.
  • Stiffness: Neck stiffness is a common problem that makes it difficult to move the head and do daily tasks.
  • Headaches: Whiplash often triggers headaches, which can vary in intensity. These headaches are typically tension-type or cervicogenic in nature.
  • Shoulder Pain: Pain in the shoulders and upper back can result from the impact that forced the head and neck into a hyperextended position.
  • Jaw Pain: The force of the accident can also lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, causing jaw discomfort and difficulty chewing.
  • Arm Pain and Weakness: Some individuals with whiplash may experience radiating arm pain, tingling, or weakness. This can be due to nerve compression in the neck.
  • Numbness and Tingling: You may feel numbness and tingling sensations in the neck, arms, or even the hands, indicating nerve involvement.
  • Dizziness and Vertigo: Vestibular symptoms like dizziness and vertigo can occur because of the abrupt neck motion during the accident.
  • Fatigue: Many individuals with whiplash report persistent fatigue, which can be both physical and mental.
  • Cognitive Symptoms: Whiplash can lead to cognitive symptoms such as difficulty concentrating and memory issues, collectively known as “whiplash-associated disorders” (WAD).
  • Sleep Disturbances: Pain and discomfort can disrupt sleep, leading to insomnia or poor sleep quality.
  • Psychological Symptoms: Whiplash can be emotionally challenging, with some individuals experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Delayed Onset: Why Symptoms Often Emerge Later

One of the unique characteristics of whiplash is its delayed onset. Symptoms may not surface immediately after the accident, sometimes taking days or even weeks to manifest. T Several factors attribute to this phenomenon.

  • Adrenaline Rush: After a bad car crash, the body releases adrenaline, which can hide pain and make it harder to feel symptoms.
  • Inflammation: Inflammation in the neck tissues may take time to develop and become symptomatic.
  • Soft Tissue Injury: Whiplash primarily involves soft tissue, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These injuries can be subtle and may not appear on imaging studies immediately.

Back Injuries: The Hidden Pain

Back injuries can result from various mechanisms during a car accident. Comprehending the causes is essential to fully appreciate the severity and nature of these injuries.

  • Sudden Impact: Car accidents often cause back injuries because of the strong impact felt during a collision. The jolt can strain or damage the structures of the back.
  • Compression: In some accidents, such as rollovers or side impacts, the spine can become compressed or twisted. This can result in injuries like herniated discs or fractures.
  • Seatbelt and Airbag: While seatbelts and airbags save lives, they can also contribute to back injuries. The force of these safety mechanisms during a crash can affect the back’s structures.
  • Ejection: Severe car accidents can throw people out, causing them to land forcefully and often leading to serious back injuries.

Back Injuries Unveiled: A Comprehensive Look at Symptoms

Back injuries encompass a wide spectrum of conditions, each with its own set of symptoms and potential complications. Let’s explore these injuries and the detailed symptoms associated with each:

  • Sprains and Strains:
    • Description: Muscles or tendons stretch or tear, causing strains.
  • Symptoms: Contusions (Bruises):
    • Description: Contusions, or bruises, occur when blood vessels beneath the skin rupture due to blunt force trauma.
    • Symptoms: Contusions, or bruises, occur when blood vessels beneath the skin rupture because of blunt force trauma.
  • Sprains:
    • Description: Sprains involve the overstretching or tearing of ligaments, which connect bone to bone.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms may include pain, swelling, instability in the affected joint, and limited range of motion. Severe sprains can be painful and require rehabilitation.
  • Strains:
    • Description: Strains occur when muscles or tendons are stretched or torn.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms include pain, muscle spasms, swelling, and limited mobility. Mild strains often heal with rest, while severe strains may require physical therapy.
  • Whiplash:
    • Description: Whiplash is a well-known soft tissue injury affecting the neck, often caused by rear-end collisions.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms may not manifest immediately but can include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and shoulder pain. In severe cases, it can lead to chronic pain.
  • Tendonitis:
    • Description: Tendonitis is the inflammation or irritation of tendons.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms typically include pain, swelling, and tenderness around the affected tendon. Pain worsens with movement and can interfere with daily activities.
  • Bursitis:
    • Description: Bursitis is the inflammation of bursae, fluid-filled sacs that cushion joints.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms include pain, swelling, and tenderness near the affected joint. Bursitis can limit joint mobility and cause discomfort.
  • Fibromyalgia:
    • Description: Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread muscle and soft tissue pain.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms include widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive issues (often referred to as “fibro fog”).
  • Herniated Discs (Disc Herniation):
    • Description: A herniated disc occurs when the soft inner core of a spinal disc protrudes through the tough outer layer.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms may include back pain, radiating leg pain (sciatica), numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. Severe cases may require surgery.
  • Fractured Vertebrae:
    • Description: Fractured vertebrae involve breaks or cracks in the bones of the spine.
    • Symptoms: Spinal cord injury symptoms can include intense back pain and tenderness. They can also cause deformity, numbness, tingling, and loss of feeling or movement below the injury site.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries:
    • Description: Car accidents can cause serious spinal cord injuries, leading to paralysis or loss of function.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms vary based on where and how severe the injury is. They can include paralysis, numbness, difficulty controlling the bowels and bladder, and trouble breathing.
  • Nerve Compression (Pinched Nerve):
    • Description: Nerves in the back can become compressed or “pinched” by displaced discs or bone fragments.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms often include intense pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness that spreads along the affected nerve.
  • Sciatica:
    • Description: Sciatica is when the sciatic nerve, which goes from the lower back to the legs, gets irritated or compressed.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms include backache spreading to legs, with tingling, numbness, and weak muscles in lower back.
  • Muscle Spasms:
    • Description: Muscle spasms are involuntary contractions of the muscles in the back.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms include sudden, intense pain and muscle tightness. Muscle spasms can be acute and resolve with rest and treatment.

Head Injuries: Protecting Your Brain

Head injuries can result from the impact of a car accident, even when wearing a seatbelt. These injuries range from minor concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

  • Symptoms: Concussion:
    • Description: A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs because of a sudden jolt or blow to the head.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms may include headache, confusion, memory problems, dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, and sometimes loss of consciousness.
  • Contusion:
    • Description: A contusion is a bruise on the brain caused by a direct impact to the head.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include headache, vomiting, confusion, slurred speech, and motor coordination issues.
  • Skull Fracture:
    • Description: A skull fracture involves a break in the bone surrounding the brain.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms may include head shape change, bleeding from ears or nose, passing out, and nerve issues, based on fracture location.
  • Intracranial Hemorrhage:
    • Description: Intracranial hemorrhage refers to bleeding within the brain.
    • Symptoms: Hemorrhage symptoms vary but often include severe headache, confusion, vomiting, seizures, and nervous system issues.
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI):
    • Description: DAI occurs when there is widespread damage to the brain’s axons (nerve fibers).
    • Symptoms: Symptoms may include profound confusion, coma, persistent unconsciousness, and severe cognitive deficits.
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS):
    • Description: PCS is a complex disorder that can occur following a concussion.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms include persistent headache, dizziness, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, irritability, and mood disturbances.
  • Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (SAH):
    • Description: SAH involves bleeding into the subarachnoid space, a space between the brain and the protective covering (meninges).
    • Symptoms: Symptoms may include sudden, severe headache, neck pain, sensitivity to light, and changes in consciousness.

Fractures and Broken Bones: The Visible Impact

  • Description: The force of a car accident can lead to fractures and broken bones, commonly affecting the arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms include pain, swelling, deformity, and difficulty moving the affected limb. Proper medical treatment and rehabilitation are essential for recovery.

Cuts and Abrasions: Superficial but Painful

  • Description: Flying debris, broken glass, or contact with various surfaces during a car accident can cause cuts and abrasions.
  • Symptoms: Depending on their severity, cuts and abrasions may require stitches and wound care to prevent infection.

Psychological Trauma: The Emotional Toll

  • Description: Car accidents can leave emotional scars, causing psychological trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.
  • Symptoms: Psychological symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety attacks, and mood swings. Seeking professional help is essential for coping and recovery.

Burns: A Rare but Serious Consequence

  • Description: In some car accidents, especially those involving fire or explosion, victims may suffer burn injuries.
  • Symptoms: Burns can vary in severity, causing pain, blisters, scars, and the possibility of infection.

Car crashes in Louisiana can cause various injuries, ranging from visible to hidden, physical to emotional. Understanding these common injuries is the first step in prevention and proper post-accident care.

All drivers and passengers must prioritize safety by wearing seatbelts, obeying traffic rules, and avoiding distractions while driving. Seeing a doctor immediately after an accident is crucial, regardless of whether you feel injured or not. This is to identify and treat any hidden injuries. Your well-being and safety should always be the top priority when you’re behind the wheel in the Pelican State.

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