Common injuries drivers are at risk for during car crashes in Seattle

On behalf of Dean Standish Perkins at Law Offices of Dean Standish Perkins & Associates

Many car accidents in Washington leave victims facing serious injuries, including brain trauma, back injuries, whiplash and psychological injuries.

New innovations in the field of vehicle safety technology have helped decrease the risk of injuries occurring during car accidents. Still, Americans suffer millions of these injuries each year. In 2014, over 2.3 million car crash injuries were reported in the U.S, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Sadly, car crashes may leave many people in Seattle facing severe ailments that are highly debilitating and even life changing, including the following common injuries.

Soft tissue trauma

Whiplash, which results from the abrupt stretching and bending of muscles in the neck, is a common injury in car crashes. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the symptoms of whiplash aren't always apparent immediately, but once they surface, victims may experience pain, limited mobility, dizziness and headaches. Although whiplash isn't permanent, it can persist for weeks or months. Some victims also experience lingering headaches and pain even after this injury heals.

Traumatic brain injury

Car crashes are the third leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, which are blows or penetrative injuries to the head that impair normal brain function, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Victims of TBIs may suffer from lasting adverse mental and emotional effects, which can be broken into the following categories:

  • Changes in mood and behavior - victims may experience mood swings, mood disorders such as depression, impulse control issues and personality changes.
  • Communication issues - a brain injury can impair a person's ability to speak, write, interpret language and understand other people.
  • Cognitive deficits - issues with memory, reasoning and executive functions may also result from a TBI.

Unfortunately, the prognosis for victims of these injuries is often uncertain, since each brain injury is unique and unpredictable.

Back injuries

Injuries to the back are another common outcome of serious car accidents. One of the most severe types of back trauma is spinal cord injury, which occurs more frequently in car crashes than in any other type of accident, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. These injuries can cause various debilitating side effects, including pain, paralysis, loss of sensation and incontinence. Other serious back injuries that may occur in car crashes include sprains, disc herniation and fractures.

Psychological injuries

Many car accident victims also suffer from serious emotional or mental injuries. As the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs observes, car accidents are one of the most common traumas that people in the U.S. experience. Many survivors of serious car accidents subsequently develop depression and anxiety disorders. Additionally, about 9 percent of car crash victims develop posttraumatic stress disorder.

Seeking help

Given the devastating physical and mental consequences that car accidents can have, people who have suffered harm in these accidents may benefit from seeking legal advice. If an accident occurred because of another person's negligence, victims may be able to pursue compensation for their medical expenses, emotional suffering, income loss and more. In addition to evaluating liability in an accident, an attorney may be able to help a person assess his or her damages and draft an effective claim.