You’ve survived a car accident and lived to tell the tale. Some injuries, like broken bones, are obvious and visible. Others, especially internal injuries, may not present themselves right away. If you’re ever in a wreck, remember the most common injuries sustained in car accidents, but don’t panic. Knowledge is power!
If you’re in a minor car accident, you may walk away with cuts and scrapes all over your body. Broken windshield glass can really do a number on your skin! Clean your wounds regularly and keep them bandaged as they heal.
Depending on the type of wreck, especially if you turned or swerved at the last second, you may spend the next several weeks in a cast. But even if you walk away from the accident thinking nothing’s broken, be gentle on your limbs in the following days. If they’re swollen, painful, or hard to move, get an X-ray right away. Some breaks or fractures aren’t always easy to detect.
When your car crashes into a stationary object, the impact bounces your body around, including your head. You may hit your head against the steering wheel and sustain a concussion. Even if it just looks like a scrape, when the ambulance arrives, ask the EMTs to take a closer look.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The sudden impact of a car accident can damage your spine to varying degrees. Paralysis is the most obvious injury, caused by a complete severing of the spinal cord. However, even if you can move your limbs just fine after your accident, you may feel a pinching sensation in your spine. Car accidents can really jumble your vertebrae! If your back bothers you more than usual or if you lose some sensation in your limbs, call your doctor right away.
Because your chest is so close to the steering wheel, you may sustain some damage, like broken or bruised ribs. Your seatbelt and airbag will save your life, but they may also contribute to the impact. That impact to your chest can also lead to internal organ damage that can cause serious and lasting health problems if left untreated. Get a thorough checkup after your accident to confirm the absence of injuries.
If you’re ever in a car wreck, remain calm—but remember the most common injuries sustained in car accidents. You’ll know what to look out for in the following days and what concerns you should share with your doctor. Be proactive about your health and wellness.