Our bodies aren’t naturally designed to deal with modern dangers like car crashes. For this reason, getting into an accident—no matter how safe the car—can result in damage to the body ranging from small aches and pains to life-changing injuries.
When you get behind the wheel, you’re trusting yourself and other motorists on the road to drive carefully and defensively to prevent accidents. Unfortunately, car crashes do still happen—and it’s important to understand the impacts they can have on the body.
What injuries can happen to your body during a car crash?
When you’re driving along in a car or other vehicle on the road, your body and the vehicle both have what’s called kinetic energy. When you want to stop and you press on the breaks, that energy moves into the brakes as heat and you’re able to stop easily. But when you get in a sudden, unexpected car crash, your body ends up taking on that energy and can lead to pain and injuries.
Modern day cars have thankfully been created to better protect us from energy by absorbing a lot of this energy during an accident. However, in most crashes, especially high-speed ones, your body will inevitably still absorb some energy and risk being injured from the impact. Here’s what can happen to different areas of the body:
Right after impact, the body keeps moving at the speed it was before even though the vehicle has stopped or slowed from the crash. That speed is only stopped when the body comes into contact with another object—such as the seat belt, airbag, car door, dashboard, windshield, or other items in the car.
If the vehicle is in a rear-end accident, your neck can get thrown backwards from the impact before rebounding forward. This is known as whiplash, and it stretches the tendons and muscles in the neck. Whiplash can cause minor to major damage to the neck, back, and spine.
Arms and legs are normally less protected from movement than other parts of the body during a crash, meaning they can come into contact with various parts of the car. This can cause cuts, bruises, and fractures.
Upper Body and Spine Trauma
Your collarbone, which is fairly fragile, is one of the first parts of your upper body that can become injured in a crash since the seat belt lies in front of it. At this point, the left or right collarbone can break, depending on which side of the car you’re sitting on. If it’s a high-speed car crash, the ribs can also break from the impact. Since the ribs protect the lungs, the chances of a lung collapsing increases drastically. In addition, the heart is propelled forward with the rest of your torso and can hit the hall of the chest and ribs, bruising the heart. This can lead to large amounts of blood loss or even instant death. The discs between your spine can also experience trauma and disc herniation from whiplash and the impact of the car crash.
Like your other organs, your stomach, intestines, and other contents of your abdomen will be forced forward at your vehicle’s speed during the crash, hitting the abdominal wall and absorbing the tension from the seat belt. This can cause any of these organs to rupture or bruise, possibly releasing waste products into the body or causing loss of blood.
Pelvic fractures are one of the worst injuries you can sustain during a car crash, as treatment often requires surgery and extensive rehabilitation. If you suffer a hip or pelvis fracture during a crash, you shouldn’t be left dealing with the financial costs associated with treatment. Call a car accident lawyer to help you recover for your damages.
Besides the physical injuries your body can experience during a car crash, your brain responds as well. It will release endorphins and adrenaline to increase physical alertness and elevate mood, making it easier for the body and mind to handle the crash. Some accident victims may seem calm after an accident because of these hormones that are released to block pain and stress. However, the emotional impact of a car crash can also be significant, either immediately or over time, especially if the victim suffered a great amount of pain, damage, loss, or death of a loved one.
Were you injured in a car crash?
At John Foy & Associates, we have 20+ years of experience working with personal injury victims recover for physical and financial damages resulting from a car crash. We’re here to listen and advocate for you during this overwhelming process—and we NEVER take the side of the insurance companies! For a FREE consultation to discuss your case and how we can help, call us today at 404-400-4000 or complete the form to the right to get started.