Common Internal Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents

Car accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to severe and life-threatening conditions. While some injuries, such as broken bones or lacerations, may be immediately apparent, others, like internal injuries, can be harder to detect. Internal injuries can be particularly dangerous because they may not present obvious symptoms right away, leading to delayed treatment and potentially serious complications.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Traumatic brain injuries occur when a sudden jolt or blow to the head causes damage to the brain. In car accidents, TBIs can result from the head striking the steering wheel, dashboard, or window or from the rapid acceleration-deceleration motion, causing the brain to move within the skull. Symptoms of a TBI can range from mild concussion to severe cognitive impairment and may include headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and changes in mood or behavior.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that transmits signals between the brain and the rest of the body. When the spinal cord is damaged in a car accident, it can result in partial or complete paralysis, depending on the location and severity of the injury. Spinal cord injuries can also cause loss of sensation, muscle weakness, and difficulty with bladder or bowel control. These injuries often require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation and can have a profound impact on the victim’s quality of life.

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding occurs when blood vessels within the body are damaged, allowing blood to leak into surrounding tissues or cavities. In car accidents, internal bleeding can be caused by blunt force trauma to the abdomen, chest, or pelvis. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath. If left untreated, internal bleeding can lead to shock, organ failure, and even death.

Ruptured Spleen

The spleen is an organ located in the upper left part of the abdomen that filters blood and fights infection. A sudden blow to the abdomen in a car accident can rupture the spleen, leading to internal bleeding. Symptoms of a ruptured spleen may include pain in the left shoulder or upper abdomen, lightheadedness, and fatigue. Surgery may be required to repair or remove the damaged spleen.

Pneumothorax (Collapsed Lung)

A pneumothorax, or collapsed lung, occurs when air leaks into the space between the lung and the chest wall, causing the lung to partially or completely collapse. In car accidents, a collapsed lung can result from blunt force trauma to the chest or from a fractured rib puncturing the lung. Symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath, and rapid heartbeat. Treatment typically involves inserting a chest tube to remove the excess air and allow the lung to re-expand.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

The aorta is the largest artery in the body and is responsible for carrying oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) occurs when the wall of the aorta weakens and bulges outward, creating a balloon-like shape. In a car accident, sudden and severe blunt force trauma to the abdomen can cause an existing AAA to rupture or a new one to form. Symptoms of a ruptured AAA may include sudden, severe abdominal or back pain, lightheadedness, and shock. A ruptured AAA is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate surgical intervention.

Seeking Medical Attention and Legal Guidance

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you don’t feel seriously injured. Some internal injuries may not present symptoms immediately, and prompt diagnosis and treatment can be essential to preventing serious complications. Be sure to inform your doctor about the accident and any symptoms you’re experiencing, no matter how minor they may seem.

In addition to seeking medical care, it is important to consult with an experienced car accident attorney. If another driver’s negligence caused your internal injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Contact Our Southaven and Hernando Personal Injury Attorneys

At Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman, our attorneys are dedicated to helping car accident victims in Mississippi seek the justice and compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered internal injuries in a car accident, contact us today for a free consultation.

About the Author
Jefferson D. Gilder is a Partner at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman and was admitted to the Mississippi and Tennessee Bars in 1990. Mr. Gilder is admitted to practice in all courts in Mississippi and Tennessee including Federal Court, the Fifth and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Gilder's areas of practice include personal injury, criminal, medical malpractice, civil rights, and product liability. Mr. Gilder spent his first ten years as an attorney practicing with his father, Robert G. Gilder, at Gilder Law Firm in Southaven, Mississippi before forming Gilder, Howell & Assoc., P.A. with Jamie W. Howell, Jr. in June of 2000. This firm although as another legal entity has now combined their resources and experience with Chatham – Pittman, to form Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Jefferson through our contact page.