If you drive a car, there is a chance that at some point you will be involved in a collision. For example, there are an average of 270,000 motor vehicle collisions a year in British Columbia. In fact, 18 people are hospitalized for car crash injuries every day across the province, which adds up to 6,500 hospitalizations each year.
However, not all injuries in collisions will result in a hospital stay. In fact, due to adrenalin or shock, it may not be apparent you’ve been injured until a day or so later. To help you determine whether or not you need medical care, here are some common injuries experienced in motor vehicle accidents.
Soft Tissue Injuries Can Be Hard to Diagnose
Lacerations, fractures, and broken bones are easy for first-responders and physicians to spot following a collision. But there are other injuries you should know about.
Soft tissue injuries
A soft tissue injury is damage to the muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues. We’re all familiar with common soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, or from overusing of a particular part of the body when playing sports. However, car accidents can result in complex “soft tissue” injuries that can be hard to diagnosis.
These injuries can be to any part of your body, depending on the circumstances of the crash and the severity of the impact.
For example, one common soft tissue injury is whiplash.
Whiplash, or neck strain, is one of the most common injuries experienced as the result of a motor vehicle accident. Any impact or blow that causes your head to jerk forward or backward can cause this neck strain. The sudden force, like the lash of a whip, stretches and tears the muscles and tendons in your neck.
If you experience neck pain, loss of head movement, headaches and numbness following a collision, you may be experiencing whiplash. In this case it’s important to seek help as soon as possible to rule out other possible causes such as fractures or tissue damage.
Back and spinal injuries
Back pain following auto collision can be caused by injury to the spinal discs. These disc-like, round pieces of cartilage act like a cushioning system between each bone that makes up the spine. When one or more spinal discs is damaged in a motor collision, the pain can be intense.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to or sudden movement of the head that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull. The effects from a mild concussion are often temporary but can include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination.
Seek medical attention no matter how minor the collision
Typically following a motor vehicle collision, your body will reflexively produce hormones called endorphins that act as painkillers. Because of the stress and shock of the accident and the production of endorphins, you may not realize until later that you have been injured.
So, even if you feel fine it’s important to seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
Be prepared when you meet your doctor
When you do receive treatment, note any doctors, physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, or other medical professionals who treat you. This will not only help during your subsequent recovery, detailed notes will also help with any personal injury claims you might have.
Any time you meet a physician or therapist, remember to:
- Keep copies of all medical reports and bills.
- Never sign any documents that you don’t understand.
- Be sure on what you are signing, so you are not signing away any of your rights.
Be sure to continue with your course of treatment
More than anything else, once you have been diagnosed and begin treatment you shouldcontinue until your are advised to stop treatment by your physician or therapist. .
There are two reasons why this is important:
- Your healthcare practitioner is in the best position to determine how seriously you are injured, and in turn determine the best treatment for you.
- If you decide to file an injury claim, the record of your visits seeking treatment is an excellent way to document and verify the nature and extent of your injuries.
Spraggs & Co. is a personal injury law firm located in Coquitlam, BC specializing in motor vehicle collisions and other injury-related legal services.
Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation toll-free: 1.866.939.3339.