The injuries that can be sustained in car accidents are varied and may not always be visible. If you are dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, it’s important to think about how your injuries could affect not just your ability to get back to work but your life as a whole.  

According to Thompsons Scotland, over 22,000 life altering injuries occur in the UK each year alone. These are injuries that don’t kill, but can make life much more complicated.

Read on for a run down of three common car injuries that can have life altering effects.

ACL Injuries

Knees are essential to the action of getting around on your own two feet. While they are generally robust enough to withstand everyday strains and pressures, they often get damaged during collisions. Extreme crumpling of door panels or being thrown forward and then back again when your feet brace against the footwell of your car are a prime cause of knee injuries. While a minor crash may result in some bruising, more serious incidents can cause damage to your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).

ACL injuries are incredibly painful. They occur when extreme violent force connects with the knee, making the ligament stretch tight in the knee and possibly even rip. This type of injury may leave their victims unable to move, wiggle or pull on their leg at all for several weeks. There is an associated loud pop in the knee, rapid swelling, inflammation throughout the knee and surroundings. Recovery from a torn ACL can take months if it ever fully heals. 

Treatment usually includes a combination of surgical interventions and physiotherapy.   Months of physiotherapy can be required to establish a strengthening regime that aims to compensate for life long instability within the knee itself.

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Flashbacks and bad dreams are a common understanding of PTSD, but it can also be accompanied by clenching pain, shaking and even vomiting. PTSD is unfortunately common in victims of car accidents and it is made all the worse by the fact that there are no traditional physical symptoms to show for it.

The emotional instability and anxiety caused by PTSD can make returning to your routine impossible, for example some people struggle to drive again. PTSD is a difficult subject for many people to acknowledge in their own lives let alone in court documents, making it hard to seek compensation in the courts in addition the act of reliving an experience can cause sufferers to spiral deeper into theri PTSD. For readers in the UK, look for a trauma informed solicitor, like those available at Thompsons Scotland, to get the proper support and guidance for a claim. Canadain readers may be interested in this podcast from trauma informed lawyer Myrna McCallum that explains the concept of trauma informed lawyering.

Whiplash

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries associated with car accidents and its effects can be felt even after low-speed events.

The good news is that the vast majority of whiplash injuries heal naturally.  Usually the amount of pain diminishes over six months before disappearing.. However in a small number of victims, whiplash will have lingering after effects, that can become an intermittent part of life or even become more pronounced over time. 

Longer term effects to be on the lookout for include: 

  • Nausea, 
  • Vertigo 
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling chronic pain
  • Numbness

Compensation for Injuries 

We mentioned compensation briefly before and it’s an important point to come back to. Assigning a dollar value as compensation for an injury can stir up difficult feelings. It is important to remember that the cost of compensation is not an admission of fault or forgiveness on your part. It is a means of offsetting a drop in earnings that you would likely not have had to contend with if this injury did not happen. It can also be a vital means of funding the long term treatment that you may need. Extensive physiotherapy for physical injuries or therapy for a mental one could be required for months if not years in serious cases.   

By being honest about your needs, you can hopefully get the compensation you deserve that will get you on the path to recovery and, hopefully sooner than later, back to your usual self. 

Injuries caused by car accidents are rightfully a worrying topic. Prevention is almost always better than a cure, so we suggest taking a look at our previous post How to minimize the risk of an injury during a car accident for ideas on how to keep yourself and your family safe. 

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Could having a car accident change your life? ," in Medicalopedia, October 29, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/9348/could-having-a-car-accident-change-your-life/].