Blunt force trauma happens when a blunt object comes in direct contact with the body, resulting in tissue damage or internal injuries. It ranked sixth among the leading causes of death worldwide. Most patients who died under 35 years old suffered from blunt impact.
Trauma patients usually sustain injuries from traffic collisions, falls, and assaults. For instance, a New York City official revealed that Ivana Trump died due to blunt impact trauma, probably due to falling on the stairs. The authorities found the 73-year-old woman on the spiral staircase of her Manhattan apartment.
Blunt force injuries also caused two fatalities in Lafayette, Indiana. The two car accidents happened in April 2023. In one case, a motorcyclist died after he rear-ended the car in front of him. The other accident involved a 29-year-old driver who died because his vehicle overturned in Tippecanoe County.
Contact a lawyer if you experienced blunt bodily impact during an accident. They can help you file a personal injury claim. By instituting a claim, you can demand payment from the at-fault party.
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Common Types of Blunt Force Trauma
Most trauma patients experience contusions, lacerations, fractures, internal bleeding, organ damage, and traumatic brain injuries. You should consult a medical professional if you are experiencing any of these conditions.
Contusions and lacerations
A contusion or bruise refers to injuries to the soft tissues. These bruises form when the capillaries or small blood vessels rupture as a result of a blow. Fresh bruises may appear reddish but may turn greenish or yellowish as they heal. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, and skin discoloration.
Most accident victims experience chest contusions, especially when the chest comes in contact with seatbelts, airbags, or steering wheels. For instance, when the impact sends the driver’s body into the steering wheel, the force may cause chest contusion.
When patients go to the hospital due to contusions, doctors often request X-rays to check for broken bones. The patients may also undergo blood tests to diagnose clotting conditions. The treatment for severe contusions includes surgery to stop the bleeding. Healthcare professionals will monitor the patient’s vital signs in organ contusions.
Blunt trauma may also cause abrasions and lacerations. Abrasions are superficial skin injuries usually affecting the epidermis. On the other hand, lacerations are skin wounds resulting from the tearing of soft body tissue.
The types of lacerations include the following:
A superficial laceration affects the skin without damaging the blood vessels, while a deep laceration pierces all the layers of the skin. Lastly, a complicated laceration involves penetrating the tendons, muscles, nerves, and organs.
Blunt trauma can also cause broken bones. Doctors request the following diagnostic tests to determine fractures:
- CT scan
X-rays can provide a visual of the extent of the damage. For instance, if you suffered displaced fractures, you may need surgery to address the gap formed around the fracture. Unlike displaced fractures, non-displaced fractures do not involve highly misaligned bones. Hence, you may only need immobilization with the help of a splint or cast.
MRI scans show the bones, cartilage, and ligaments for a more comprehensive examination. But if the doctors need a more detailed image of the bones, they may request a CT scan.
Patients with long bone fractures may miss work due to pain and limited mobility. Consequently, they may fail to meet their financial obligations. Moreover, fractures can limit a person’s social interactions, affecting their quality of life.
Internal organ damage
Blunt trauma can also cause internal bleeding or hemorrhaging. Severe hemorrhage can lead to organ failure, coma, and seizures. Organ damage happens when one of the body’s vital organs stops functioning. The types of organ failure include the following:
- Small intestine
Blunt abdominal trauma can affect the liver and kidneys, which performs crucial roles in the body. The liver filters toxins from your blood, while the kidney removes waste and balances your body’s fluids. Abdominal injuries can also lead to failure of the small intestine, which absorbs the nutrition from the food you eat.
Moreover, a blunt cardiac injury can result in heart failure. The heart pumps oxygenated blood to your body parts and helps maintain normal blood pressure. Its failure to do its role can affect your whole body.
Traumatic brain injuries
Blunt force injury can cause traumatic brain injury (TBI). Patients with head injuries, such as skull fractures, may experience the following symptoms:
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of coordination
- Slurred speed
Severe head trauma may lead to brain death, an irreversible condition where brain functions cease. A brain-dead person can only survive with the help of breathing devices. Without such devices, the patient will experience heart failure and be legally dead.
Treatments for TBIs include surgery to repair skull fractures and remove hematomas or clotted blood. Patients may also take anti-seizure or coma-inducing drugs. Since head injuries can cause long-term effects, patients may also need rehabilitation to regain functionality.
Causes of Blunt Force Injuries
Blunt force injuries usually happen as a result of motor vehicle crashes, slip-and-fall accidents, and assaults. These incidents can cause varying health conditions and sometimes lead to fatalities.
Motor vehicle accidents
The common causes of car collisions include distracted driving, driving under the influence (DUI), and speeding. Distracted driving involves diverting your attention from driving. It can include texting, calling, and eating while operating a vehicle.
On the other hand, DUI involves operating a car while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or other substances. The federal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08 percent, but states can impose a lower BAC limit. States forbid DUI because impaired drivers can quickly lose control of their vehicles, causing fatal accidents.
For example, an alleged drunk driver in Bedford crashed into a sedan, killing a two-year-old girl. The child sustained blunt force injuries, which led to her death. The driver was arrested at the scene.
Speeding is another dangerous behavior that endangers road users and may likely cause serious injuries. In 2020, more than 11,000 people died due to speeding-related accidents. A car accident lawyer can help you establish liability if you have been involved in traffic crashes.
Slip and fall incidents
Slip and fall accidents usually happen due to the following:
- Floor damage
- Slippery surfaces
- Lack of signage
- Poor lighting
- Age or illness
A building with poor lighting may cause someone to slip and fall since the person may not see spills or loose rugs. Moreover, residents in nursing homes are more prone to slip and fall accidents due to their age. Consequently, caretakers must remove potential trip hazards and give appropriate footwear to the residents.
These incidents are also prevalent in the construction industry. In 2020, 1,034 people experienced fatal injuries due to construction-related falls, accounting for 46.1 percent of all fatal falls that year.
Assault and physical violence
Assault is an intentional act causing physical harm to another person. In 2019, 821,182 aggravated assaults occurred in the US, reflecting a 1.3 percent increase compared to 2018.
In 2022, a 14-year-old boy sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl, causing blunt-force trauma to the victim. The defendant said he punched her in the stomach, then strangled her. Another incident involved a group of teens who allegedly assaulted a 73-year-old man. The victim died from head injuries.
In 2023, a concerned citizen reported a man severely hurt on Winter Street. The authorities sent the victim to a local hospital. A week later, he was taken off life support and died due to blunt force injuries.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Demanding compensation involves proving liability, gathering evidence, calculating damages, and negotiating with insurance companies.
Establishing negligence or intent
Victims of motor vehicle accidents and slip-and-fall incidents must prove the at-fault party’s negligence. In relation to blunt force trauma, its elements include the following:
- The legal duty of the defendant to the plaintiff;
- The violation of such duty;
- The plaintiff suffered blunt force injury; and
- The causation between the breach and injury.
For example, every motorist has a legal obligation to drive only when sober. Suppose a 35-year-old man with a BAC of 0.09 percent, exceeding the legal limit, collides with a hatchback. As a result of the collision, the hatchback’s driver sustained brain injuries. In this case, the injured driver can demand compensation from the drunk motorist.
In contrast, victims of physical assault must establish the other party’s intention rather than negligence. The lawyer can use the defendant’s behavior before, during, and after the incident. Statements from the defendants may also show their intent to harm the victim.
The following evidence can prove liability in blunt force injury claims:
- Surveillance videos
- Medical records
- Witness testimony
You should take photos of skid marks, traffic signals, stop signs, and debris on the accident scene. You may also photograph your vehicle and injuries. It can show your perspective of the collision. For a slip and fall accident, you may take pictures of the floor damage.
Surveillance videos can show an unbiased narration of the incident. Your attorney can request footage from owners of nearby buildings to support your case. Moreover, witness testimony can corroborate your statements. It will not only be your word against the other party’s defenses.
Lastly, medical records indicate the extent of your injuries. They contain your diagnosis and the treatments you received. This document will help the insurance company, court, or jury know the expenses you paid for because of the blunt force trauma.
The possible damages in a blunt force injury case include the following:
Non-economic damages serve as payment for pain and suffering, anguish, and grief. On the other hand, economic damages pertain to compensation for monetary losses, such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and property damage.
The compensation you may receive depends on the type of injury you sustained. For example, on average, a liver transplant costs $878,400, while patients pay $442,500 for a kidney transplant. Consequently, a patient who underwent a liver transplant may receive more economic damages than one who underwent a kidney transplant.
The court may also award punitive damages if the defendant’s action were intentional or exhibited willful misconduct. For example, defendants in assault cases and aggressive drivers may pay punitive damages because their actions pose a public danger.
Negotiating with insurance companies
After filing a claim with an insurer, a lawyer can help you negotiate with adjusters. They will prepare the evidence before meeting with the adjuster to establish the other party’s liability.
Since they calculated the expected settlement amount, they will be wary of the initial offer. Adjusters usually offer a low amount since they work for insurance companies and may not have your interests in mind.
Once you are satisfied with the settlement amount, your lawyer will request the insurance company to place the offer in writing. Sign only when the final offer is in writing. Otherwise, the insurance company may change the amount.
Did you know?
Head trauma is responsible for causing 650,000 fatalities worldwide. Treatments for head injuries amount to a staggering $200 million per year.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer for Blunt Force Injury Claims
Blunt trauma injuries can cause long-term health conditions like organ failure, internal bleeding, and brain injuries. As a result, victims spend thousands of dollars on medical bills and rehabilitation costs. Furthermore, the recovery process may cause them to miss work, resulting in additional financial burdens.
Visit The Personal Injury Center for free legal information about accidental and intentional injuries. Tell us about your case, and we will help you find an attorney who specializes in handling similar cases. An experienced lawyer can help you receive a fair settlement.
The Personal Injury Center can match you with a lawyer who can represent your rights and aid in your financial recovery.
FAQs on Blunt Force Injuries
When should you file a claim involving blunt force trauma?
You should file a personal injury claim within the statute of limitations. It ranges from two to five years after the incident.
Do you need to pay up-front fees to a personal injury lawyer?
You can institute a claim without paying up-front fees. Some law firms offer contingency fee agreements where they take up to 50 percent of the recovery amount as their professional fee.
What can you do to pay for your medical bills before receiving the settlement amount?
One option is to sign a medical lien agreement. This arrangement allows a hospital to provide medical services on credit. The healthcare institution will recover its expenses from the settlement amount. Hence, you can receive medical attention even if the at-fault party has not paid yet.