There are plenty of reasons why San Diego, California, is a tourist hotspot. Aside from its idyllic location, its beach culture is a must-experience for many. This Southern California city evokes that perfect Cali vibe – perfect weather with the coastal breeze and the party scene. San Diego County is also famous for its fantastic food and craft beers. That said, it’s easy to get lost in the revelry. San Diego is the 19th most congested city in the US, and the road conditions don’t make it any better. Poor infrastructure contributes to a high number of car accidents. It has cost the city a whopping $5.8 billion in traffic crash deaths.
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How are car accident injuries categorized?
Car accidents resulting in minor injuries don’t always require medical attention. However, serious injuries that lead to permanent disability often happen due to several factors. The driver at-fault can be driving under the influence (DUI), or the injured individual wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Fatal injuries can also happen in a high-speed collision or faulty vehicle.
No matter what led to the car accident injury, some insurance companies would place them under one of these categories:
- Blunt or impact injuries
- Penetrating injuries
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Blunt trauma occurs when a force is applied to the body in such a way that it causes injury. This can be due to an impact, such as during car or motorcycle accidents, due to negligent drivers.
Some examples of blunt trauma or impact injuries include contusions, lacerations, abrasions, or fractures. Whiplash, for example, is a blunt trauma to the head when someone hits the dashboard in a car crash.
Another presentation of blunt trauma is abdominal trauma. The most common cause for emergency room visits in the US is motor vehicle accidents. Such car accident injuries can lead to several subsequent injuries, including organ contusion and internal bleeding.
Detecting injuries can be tricky in blunt force trauma because diagnosis is often delayed. While the initial presentation may seem to indicate it’s not a severe injury, concussions can be pretty serious. This is why seeking medical attention or visiting a medical specialist after a car accident is critical. Medical doctors can do physical exams and other tests to determine the presence of covert injuries.
When visiting a doctor, it’s helpful to report what happened during the car accident. They may ask about motor vehicle speed, mechanism of injury, and use of alcohol or substance abuse. This way, they can be thorough with their check-up and know what to look for during the medical visit.
The medical report’s completeness and data from police reports can help strengthen your case.
Sharp objects cause penetrating injuries. In a car accident, the most common penetrating injuries are broken bones and punctures in the skin. These types of wounds can be life-threatening if they go untreated.
The severity of a penetrating injury depends on the object that caused it and where it entered the body. The severity will vary if an object penetrates through clothing, skin, or organ. It will depend on the type of tissue involved and the degree of damage. For example, a simple cut may heal without treatment. However, severe bleeding could require surgery or even amputation.
Penetrating trauma can cause damage to the internal organs. The most commonly affected would be the following:
- Small bowel (50%)
- Large bowel (40%)
- Liver (30%)
- Intra-abdominal vascular (25%)
Even when the injury is apparent, a complete assessment is still important. Imaging modalities such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs determine the exact extent and severity of the injury.
The Most Serious Types of Car Crash Injuries
Auto accidents can leave motorists and pedestrians with significant health issues. A serious injury can lead to mounting medical bills. Aside from preventing car accident victims from earning their full potential, injuries can also result in emotional trauma.
Suppose the negligent actions of another party caused your car crash. In that case, you could recover compensation for your financial, physical, and emotional losses.
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Whiplash, head, and back injuries
Whiplash is a common injury that can cause pain and stiffness, particularly in the neck. Sudden jolts cause it to the head or neck from an accident. The most severe whiplash injuries are those that result from a rear-end collision. In these cases, your car may hit another vehicle from behind. It’s also possible that another driver may have rear-ended you stopped at a traffic light.
The force of this impact can whip your body around suddenly. It causes the neck muscles and ligaments to stretch abnormally, putting pressure on other parts of your spine. This pressure can cause long-term damage if it isn’t treated immediately.
If you experience whiplash, it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor will perform an examination and may recommend physical therapy, which can help relieve pain and speed up healing.
The best way to prevent whiplash is to wear your seat belt. It’s also essential to avoid driving while tired or drowsy, so you don’t lose focus on the road..
Face, head, and brain injuries
Motor vehicle accidents are among the most common causes of facial injuries. These types of injuries can cause serious damage to your face and eyes. It can also impair your ability to see or speak properly.
Brain injuries are often more severe than facial ones because of the force impacting the head during an accident. Victims can become unconscious and be in a state of coma. In cases where brain injury happens, recovery takes time. It can even result in long-term physical therapy and medical treatment.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are often classified into mild, moderate, and severe. The levels depend on the severity of tissue damage, age, and prior medical history.
Mild brain injuries often result in little more than a headache or confusion. However, this can also be the precursor to more serious problems like concussions. Symptoms may include drowsiness, speech problems, loss of balance, tinnitus, and light or sound sensitivity. Victims may also lose consciousness for a few seconds or minutes.
Moderate brain injuries involve bleeding on the surface of your brain. This injury can cause seizures or other neurological symptoms that may not appear for hours after the initial impact. Victims may show signs of mild brain injuries but higher in severity.
For example, loss of consciousness or headaches can last for hours to a few days. Some victims may also fall into a coma.
Severe brain injuries are often fatal. It’s the condition wherein the victim has been unconscious for more than six hours. If the car accident victim experiences post-traumatic amnesia for over 24 hours, it’s also considered severe TBI.
Internal bleeding and soft tissue injuries
Internal bleeding is a serious injury one can sustain from a car crash. It can be hard to diagnose and treat because some may not present obvious symptoms. Your body may be experiencing internal bleeding if you have any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Abdominal swelling
- Blood in the urine or stool
- Vomiting blood
- Altered speech
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
If any of these symptoms occur after a car accident, it’s best to seek medical treatment immediately. Fatalities can happen if internal bleeding isn’t detected. The main treatment goal is to stop the source of bleeding.
Minor internal bleeding can stop on its own and only requires bed rest and symptom control. As the body heals, the blood gets reabsorbed, and inflammation decreases. However, severe ones need more extensive measures, such as surgery.
Most surgeons will consider the following factors:
- Organ or blood vessel involvement
- Cause of internal bleeding
- Patient’s overall health
Severe internal bleeding and soft tissue damage can lead to several complications, including organ failure and coma. In some cases, severe cases can lead to death, even with treatment. That’s why it’s critical to identify and treat internal bleeding early to prevent complications.
Internal bleeding is considered a serious injury requiring assistance from a personal injury attorney. You must present a medical report of your car accident injuries for a personal injury claim.
Amputation and loss of limbs
Severe trauma to the limb may lead to amputation. When a car accident happens, those inside the vehicle can get pinned down.
When the pressure impedes blood flow to the limb, it can lead to nerve death. In this case, it won’t be possible to save the limb. The best option is to remove it to prevent infection.
Amputations can be partial or complete as a result of a car crash. They are also common in pedestrian accidents. For example, a speeding car may hit bicyclists and pin them under the vehicle.
Removing a limb is risky due to blood loss, infection, shock, and other complications. Most victims will need therapy and use a prosthetic limb to survive. Some will need continuous medical attention.
Additionally, the loss of a limb isn’t only a physical issue. It can be traumatic for car accident victims. They will need to live adjusting to their new condition. Amputees will not be able to do the things they used to enjoy. It will also impact their chances of landing a good-paying job.
Are you faced with the same situation? A personal injury lawyer can assist you or your loved one get fair financial compensation for your medical care needs.
Broken bones and fractures
Fractures are partial or full breaks in the bones, and there are hundreds of bones that can break. The most common types include:
- Simple fracture: Refers to a break that doesn’t involve serious damage to the bone or surrounding tissue (such as a hairline crack)
- Complex fracture: Occurs when the bone has been broken along its length or width and causes damage to other tissues
Fractures can occur anywhere in your body, including your skull, spine, ribs, and pelvis. The location and severity of the fracture depends on the car accident.
Fracture symptoms include pain at the site of injury, numbness, or tingling sensations. Victims may have difficulty moving due to weakness, paralysis, or inflammation from swelling caused by blood leaking into surrounding tissues.
Burns can result from any fire, including the flames from a car crash. If you’re involved in a collision, and your vehicle catches fire, it’s essential to get out immediately. This will prevent further damage to your skin and other tissue.
- First-degree burns involve only the outer layer of skin. They’re notable by redness and pain but no permanent damage. Home treatment is possible with ice packs or warm soaks in water. If your first-degree burn is severe enough to require medical attention, you must see a specialist. They will provide immediate care, such as dressing the wound and applying a bandage to protect it from further damage.
- Second-degree burns involve partial thickness of the skin. They can cause blistering, bleeding under pressure, itching, soreness, swelling, and stinging sensation around the affected areas. These types require immediate treatment at an emergency room, where victims may receive antibiotics. Close monitoring is necessary until burn wounds heal without complications like infection or scarring.
- Third-degree burns penetrate the skin layers. Since the damage crosses the fat layer under the skin barrier, third-degree burns cause nerve and tissue damage. The affected area may feel leathery to the touch or appear tan or waxy white. Note that the victim may also have a loss of sensation due to damage to nerve endings. Treatment may include skin grafting to close the wounds completely.
- Fourth-degree burns reach the bones. The most severe burn classification is the deepest injury of all. It penetrates all the layers of the skin, tendons, muscles, and bones, and the skin will appear charred. Fourth-degree burns can lead to amputations or fatalities. Victims can survive a fourth-degree burn. However, they have to live with disfigurement. Some victims undergo reconstructive surgery or skin grafting to restore the skin as much as possible.
The burn degree can change mainly if the skin damage spreads and the injury go deeper. Burns can also have complications.
- Infections: Infections are always possible when there’s a break in the skin. For burns due to car accidents, an infection can occur if the blister bursts and the affected area is not kept clean. Signs of infection may include pain, fever, redness and swelling on the burnt area, and foul smell.
- Septic shock: An infected burn can lead to blood poisoning, which can be fatal if not attended immediately.
- Fluid loss: Loss of volume is common in burn patients because of the imbalance in the microcirculation of the unburned and burned tissues. This leads to a massive loss of fluid in the body. These fluid shifts often occur during the first 24 hours, with peaks at about eight hours post-injury.
- Pulmonary embolism/Deep vein thrombosis: Pulmonary embolism happens when the blood clot gets stuck in the artery in the lungs. This blood clot blocks the blood flow to the lungs. This is often due to prolonged immobility when recovering from burn injuries since the blood pools in the lungs.
- Mental and emotional trauma: Burn patients have to deal with mental and emotional trauma during and after their recovery period. For some burn patients, recovery is a lifelong journey for them. Burn can lead to disfigurement and amputation, significantly impacting their mental health.
Other Impacts of Car Crash Accidents
Car accidents result in other setbacks for the victims. Aside from attending to their injuries, they also have to take care of other factors relating to the accident.
If your vehicle is not drivable after the collision, it will be necessary to tow it to a repair shop. When car accidents happen, the victim’s insurance company may cover the cost of towing the vehicle. Many insurers allow victims to choose their repair shop at the time of damage estimation. Although, some insurance companies require claimants to go directly to a specific repair shop.
While waiting for the completion of car repair after an accident, getting around or going to work may be challenging. Some insurance companies may cover car rental companies with significant coverage, but not all provide that coverage.
If your insurance company does not cover this service, it will be an out-of-pocket expense on your part. However, it’s possible to claim it against the driver at-fault for the car accident.
Financial difficulties are a considerable consequence of any car crash. You have medical expenses that won’t stop building up. It may be hard to keep up with the bills because of the inability to work.
If your car sustained any damage during an accident, you’d usually be liable for the repair costs. The expense will add up if your insurance doesn’t cover vehicle repairs. This can seriously affect your finances and may even give you some negative energy to go with it.
If you cannot work due to your injuries, you can take a claim for lost wages. No matter the severity of your injury, recovery can take time. During this period, you won’t be able to work or earn money to sustain your daily needs.
Speak with a lawyer about any benefits you’re eligible for and what steps to take next.
Has a loved one or family member been injured in a car accident? Do you need a lawyer who understands how these cases work? Connect with a San Diego personal injury attorney for a free consultation.
Consult San Diego Car Accident Attorneys
It is difficult to recover from injuries sustained in a car accident without the help of an experienced attorney. It’s possible to make an insurance claim for your loss. However, there is no guarantee that the other driver’s insurance policies will be sufficient to cover all of your expenses.
In some personal injury cases, the driver at-fault may be an uninsured motorist. Unless you have uninsured motorist coverage, you’re out of luck. You cannot file a claim with their insurance agency for wrongful death or injuries. Your only option is to sue the driver directly.
An experienced attorney is your best resource after a car accident case. They know what to do when compensating you for the injury damages you have sustained. They’ll also give you their expert opinion on the best way to tackle the case.
Your attorney will be able to review the police report or property damage due to the accident. They will advise you on who’s liable for the injuries or loss of your loved one.
Trial lawyers can also represent you if ever your case goes to trial. They often have a legal team who is well-versed in building and presenting the case.
Choose a car accident attorney in San Diego with a good track record of making a successful car accident claim. Read testimonials of their previous clients and check out their success rate.
Get fair and maximum compensation for car accident injuries, loss of income, and more. Let The Personal Injury Center assist you in finding a car accident lawyer in San Diego today!
FAQs on Car Accident Lawyer San Diego
Loss cost is the amount an insurer must pay for expenses incurred during the administration and investigation of claims. Insurance companies factor in these costs when computing premium payments.
Victims who are planning to file a claim against property and persons have two years to do so. If they file a claim within that time, they may be able to seek compensation for their car accident injuries and damages.
According to Section 27365 of the California Vehicle Code, you must put children under eight in a car or booster seat. They cannot sit in the front passenger seat. Children can use the booster seat once they reach eight years old OR have a height of 4’9”. However, it’s still mandatory to wear seat belts.