Approximately 27,000 car accidents take place every day in the United States. The majority of these incidents do not result in a fatality and some do not even cause an injury. Unfortunately, because of the large number of crashes, there are still approximately 2.35 million people injured or disabled every year. Even seemingly minor injuries may be more severe than people initially realize.
Recognizing Traumatic Injuries
Any injury to the head, neck and back is potentially serious. The victim should only be moved by a paramedic or other emergency personnel when these injuries take place. The individual needs to be examined even if they believe the problem is minor. The full extent of issues like concussions and whiplash may not be obvious for hours. Spinal injuries may also seem mild until the person is moved or moves wrong and causes permanent nerve damage or even paralysis.
Managing a Break
Many accidents lead to broken bones. Passengers in the back seat frequently suffer from broken legs and ankles. People riding in front experience broken bones in the wrist and the face. Seat belts may cause broken ribs, clavicle or pelvis bones. Small fractures and the shock of the accident may make people believe they are only stiff and sore. Children should always be examined immediately following an accident. Adults should seek help if there sprain or bump is still swollen and painful after 24 hours of rest and ice.
Watching for Signs
Not having any visible physical damage does not mean the accident was injury-free. Internal injuries may not reveal themselves for several hours. Any stomach pain, sudden swelling or dizziness are signals that an ER visit is necessary. Large, unexplained bruises, fainting spells and confusion are also serious concerns.
Even minor car accident injuries could cause long-term medical problems, a need for therapy and an inability to work. This is why accident victims should accept medical help at the scene of the accident even if they think they are okay. It is also important to follow up with a physician as soon as possible. Document injuries at the time they happen to make it easier for medical professionals to diagnose the problem more accurately and to provide proof for lawsuits or disability claims later on if needed.