Car accidents are prevalent in the U.S. – it records the most road crash deaths,…
Car accidents can be devastating, resulting in serious physical and emotional trauma. You may be at a loss after it happens and not know what to do or where to turn. Nathan Fitzpatrick, a leading car accident lawyer in Atlanta, GA, is here to provide some answers regarding what you need to know about common injuries from a car accident and what you can do about them.
What You Need To Know About Car Accident Injuries
A car accident that has caused serious enough injuries to require a lawsuit should be filed as soon as possible. In fact, Georgia law states that you only have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. You may be wondering if you’ve got a chance at winning, and that’s something that an experienced attorney can tell you. However, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- You were injured; your car sustained significant damage; a loved one was killed.
- The other driver was found to be 51% or more at fault.
That’s it. As long as you can conclusively prove that you were wronged and the other person was at fault, you’ve got a good chance of winning your case.
The Frequency of Car Accident Injuries
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, car accidents in the Peach State were the second leading cause of fatality-related injuries, along with the second leading cause of ER visits and hospitalizations in 2020. In that same year, car accidents in the state were also:
- Behind Georgia coming in fourth in the nation for traffic fatalities (1,664), despite being the eighth largest population.
- The second leading cause of injury death for adults aged 25 and up.
- The leading cause of injury death for children aged five to 14.
As you can see, car accident injuries happen frequently in Georgia, and a lot of fatalities happen every year. You have the legal right to file a lawsuit as long as you meet the two requirements listed in the previous section.
Types of Car Accident Injuries
There is a virtually countless list of possible injuries that people can sustain from car accidents. The following list contains some of the most common car accident injuries.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries are one of the most common car accident injuries. They affect skin, fat, connecting tissue, blood vessels, tendons, muscles, and/or ligaments. Common soft tissue injuries include:
- Soft tissue sprain
- Soft tissue strain
- Shoulder impingement
- Torn ACL
- MCL Tear
If you’ve suffered from one or more of these soft tissue injuries, you’ll want to receive medical attention and speak to an attorney.
Remember: Many people leave scenes of car accidents without getting checked out, and some of them really regret it once their injury becomes clear. Always be sure to receive a clean bill of health instead of taking a chance. Otherwise, you could be facing years of neck injuries or soft tissue injuries with little to no chance of winning a lawsuit.
Head and Brain Injuries
Every day in America, there are approximately 176 deaths caused by traumatic brain injuries. You can get a traumatic brain injury from receiving a blow, bump, or jolt to your head. If you think about how much car crashes toss car accident victims around, it’s easy to understand how traumatic brain injuries happen.
A study conducted on the brains of former NFL players found that those who had suffered a traumatic brain injury had mild or severe changes to their brains . These included depression, impulsivity, anxiety, apathy, explosive rages, problems with attention, and episodic memory loss. All these things can also happen to you when you receive head injuries in a car crash, which helps highlight why you’ll want to file a lawsuit.
Other brain injuries you could suffer from a car crash include:
- Brain contusion
- Acquired brain injury
- Skull fracture
- Brain penetration
Does your chest hurt after being in an accident? Unfortunately, these injuries are quite common after car accidents. Thanks to the adrenaline rush that being in an automobile incident can cause, you may not even realize you’re suffering until hours, days, or even weeks later. Again, this is why it’s best to let a doctor check you out after the accident.
Four of the most commonly experienced injuries to the chest are:
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing
- Fluid retention changes
- Abdominal pain
Did you know that if you have trouble breathing after an accident, you most likely have damaged blood vessels or organs? And abdominal pain can indicate a damaged or ruptured spleen? These are just a couple of the reasons to consider filing a lawsuit against the responsible driver.
Arm and Leg Injuries
Before a car crash happens, your arms and legs work as expected. After one, though, you may be unable to work and may be even unable to lift your young child. These are serious burdens, and it’s worth filing a claim.
Here are just a few of the many arm and leg injuries you could suffer:
- Fractures, broken bones
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Dislocated joints
- Nerve damage
- Ulnar nerve entrapment
Dealing with any of these can completely upend your life. It doesn’t matter if it takes a month, a year, or sometimes even never to get better. Your pain is real, and you should seek compensation.
Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis
During the accident, your spinal cord became injured. This is a life-altering event that may leave you with partial or complete paralysis. Can you imagine every physical thing you do right now being taken away from you like that?
Receiving immediate medical attention is the best way to minimize the overall damage, along with the time frame that you’ll have a spinal cord injury. Some of the injuries can bother you for the rest of your life, too.
We suggest contacting a car accident attorney as soon as you’ve seen a doctor, especially if you’ve got:
- Loss of feeling
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Difficulty breathing and/or coughing
Internal bleeding can be one of the worst injuries you can sustain in an accident, but it’s also one of the hardest things for the layperson to recognize. Internal injuries with hemorrhagic (bleeding) shock are more common than you’d think, and an improperly worn seatbelt often causes it.
If you’ve got internal injuries such as bleeding, there will be many symptoms like feeling cold, abdominal pain, pale complexion, lightheadedness, fatigue, and thirst. You may also experience blood in your urine or stool, which is an indicator that you need immediate medical attention.
Mental and Emotional Injuries
While some physical injuries heal in days and with little medical treatment after a car accident, emotional and mental injuries often aren't so straightforward. They are sometimes difficult to treat, requiring extensive therapy that can be long-term.
Sometimes these types of injuries leave you with permanent mental and emotional disabilities if the trauma was deep enough. For instance, you may experience a phobia about driving, along with many other mental and emotional injuries after an accident occurs. Or, you could have lost your child in a car collision. These feelings are real, and you deserve justice for being a car accident victim with mental and emotional anguish.
Common Symptoms of Car Accident Injuries
It’s not uncommon to experience symptoms after a car accident; some are nothing to worry about, while others are indicators that you need to seek medical attention. Either way, it's best always to see a doctor about any symptoms and to document any pain or unusual feelings after your vehicle accident.
Pain and stiffness
Car accident victims commonly feel pain and stiffness. In many cases, they aren't serious health issues. Still, they can indicate that you’ve sustained a serious injury, even if it doesn’t feel severe at the moment. It could be something like whiplash or soft-tissue damage that is more obvious after some time has passed. Always err on the side of caution, and see a doctor if you have pain and stiffness after being in a vehicle accident.
Headaches and dizziness
After an accident, you may suffer from headaches and dizziness for days, weeks, or even months. In some cases, you could also suffer from short-term memory loss and confusion. These symptoms can be a sign of significant head injuries, so it’s important to seek medical attention.
Numbness and tingling
Numbness and tingling can also be signs of an injury. These symptoms may indicate nerve damage, so it’s important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing these sensations.
Bruising and swelling
Bruising and swelling can be signs of an injury, even if there is no apparent damage. These symptoms may indicate bruising or tearing of muscles, tendons or ligaments underneath the skin. Bruising of the abdomen can even indicate internal injuries, which can lead to internal bleeding, a life-threatening condition.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Most people think of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as something that happens to soldiers who are in combat. But the truth is that any severe trauma, including car accidents, can cause PTSD.
PTSD can cause:
- Accident flashbacks
- Trouble sleeping
- Nightmares about the crash
- Detachment from loved ones
- Emotional distress when faced with reminders of the accident
- Startling easily
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Aggressive outbursts
- Severe anxiety
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Suicidal thoughts
Treatment for Car Accident Injuries
The treatment you may have to go through for your automobile accident injuries can be difficult and expensive. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to go through everything alone. Instead, hire an experienced attorney.
Seek immediate medical treatment for common car accident injuries. This could reduce the length and quantity of your suffering. It’s also going to put you in a much better position to file a lawsuit. After all, the insurance adjuster is NOT going to be on your side, so you’ll need to do everything possible to prove your case. Additionally, it’s a good idea to get yourself checked out by a medical professional, just in case.
Going to a physical therapist is one of the best ways to start your road to recovery. There are a number of reasons why anyone involved in a car crash should go to a physical therapist, including:
- They’ll support your recovery process (and may find injuries you didn’t know about).
- They may be able to prevent long-term damage.
- Your pain will be reduced by being physically active.
- It may help you avoid surgery.
Even if you were in a car accident a long time ago, it may be helpful to go to physical therapy. Your therapist will help you regain mobility and restore function to any affected areas.
Alternative therapy, or holistic medicine, may be able to help your injuries. Among the most commonly received alternative therapies for an automobile crash victim are getting a massage, going to a chiropractor, acupuncture, and cupping. There are also holistic doctors whose expertise lies in homeopathy, nutrition and detoxification, that you can see who will work with you to help you get better.
You’re probably wondering if you can include the cost of these services in your lawsuit. The answer is maybe. Make sure you have a doctor’s referral to the alternative therapy you choose because this may help you get reimbursed.
Legal Advice for Injuries Obtained In Car Accidents
The absolute best legal advice we can give you is to seek immediate medical attention and then contact an attorney. You’ll also want to take notes or pictures at the scene because you can’t rely solely on your memory. Be sure to contact your insurance company right away, too. Motor vehicle accidents are common, and this is required.
The Importance of Contacting a Lawyer
Everyone has the right to represent themselves, but this isn’t usually a good idea. For instance, you can be guaranteed that the insurance company will be using a skilled, experienced lawyer, and this puts you at an immediate disadvantage. Fortunately, you can level the playing field by hiring your own attorney.
Another excellent reason to use a lawyer is that they’ll handle your case while you’re contending with getting better and staying better. Without an attorney, you’d have to make all the necessary phone calls, send a formal demand letter, etc., and this can quickly become not only frustrating but too much for a non-professional to deal with. By hiring legal representation, you’ll be able to relax instead of dealing with more stress.
Understanding the Claims Process
After car accidents occur, there are eight steps you must take:
- Get immediate medical care.
- Hire a good attorney.
- Notify your insurance company (but don’t sign ANYTHING until a lawyer can review it).
- Start a post-accident journal to keep track of everything.
- Write down all your expenses.
- Your attorney will draft a formal demand letter. The insurance company will have 30 days to answer.
- Negotiate a settlement.
- Move on to trial.
It may take 1-2 years before your case ends, especially if you go to trial. It may take even longer if your injuries are long-term or you have severe injuries.
Documenting Injuries and Medical Expenses
As mentioned above, it’s absolutely critical that you document everything about your injuries and medical expenses. This will make it much easier to verify how much you’ve paid and how injured you are.
Common Car Accident Injuries FAQs
These are some of the most common questions we are frequently asked about that concern car accident injuries.
How long after a car accident can injuries show up?
A car accident injury can sometimes take days, weeks, and even months to manifest. That fact is why it’s important to see a doctor immediately after an accident. Some car accident injuries can be exceedingly serious and linger for some, especially when it comes to traumatic brain injuries, infection, and broken bones.
What if I was partially at fault for the accident?
In some cases, a court may rule that you are partially to blame for the auto accident. That doesn’t mean you don’t get any compensation if you were injured or if there was property damage. The amount of compensation awarded is usually determined by a percentage of how responsible each party was for the car accident. In Georgia, this is known as comparative negligence, allowing injury victims to recover damages even if they are partially at fault.
Can I still get compensation if I wasn't wearing a seatbelt?
Some states adhere to what is known as the seatbelt defense. This means that the person who was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the auto accident can still recover damages. But those damages might be reduced if it is deemed that not wearing a seatbelt contributed to the severity of injuries. For instance, if you were 20% at fault for the injuries you sustained in a car accident, you will likely receive 20% less compensation.
However, Georgia does not observe the seat belt defense. Per O.C.G.A. § 40-8-76.1, failing to use a seat belt during an auto accident can’t be considered evidence of causation or negligence. Therefore, the failure to buckle up can’t be used to diminish recovery for damages.
If you’ve sustained one or more car accident injuries, it’s vitally important that you contact an attorney AFTER you’ve received medical attention. There are many injuries you could have sustained, such as:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Head and brain injuries
- Chest injuries
- Arm and leg injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Internal bleeding
- Mental and emotional injuries
When it comes to car accidents, hiring a lawyer is by far the best way to pursue legal action against the responsible party. One benefit of working with a Georgia personal injury attorney is that they know how to navigate the Peach State's legal system, and you don’t. That fact alone can definitely help you.
So, if you have been in a car accident, you shouldn’t ignore any symptoms of pain or discomfort. Seek medical advice and consult with an experienced Georgia car accident lawyer to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
The law team at The Fitzpatrick Firm is available 24/7 to answer your questions. We pledge to give you the compassionate treatment you deserve while taking a very aggressive stance during your case. We understand that the opposing attorney will be looking for any way to get their client out of paying, and that’s not what you deserve. Therefore, we’ll fight to get you the best possible settlement.
If You've Been Injured, Contact Our Trusted Car Accident Lawyer At The Fitzpatrick Firm
If you've been injured in an accident, you know how overwhelming and confusing the situation can be. You may not even know where to turn or what your rights are. That's why it is so important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an incident has occurred. An experienced lawyer can provide guidance and knowledge about the legal system that you may not otherwise be aware of. They can evaluate your case, determine if you have a legitimate claim, and help you get the financial compensation that is rightfully yours. At The Fitzpatrick Firm, we are here to help with all aspects of your personal injury claim and make sure you get the justice you deserve. Contact us today at (678) 607-5550 or by filling out the form below and let us begin helping you build a strong case for your personal injury claim.