Auto accidents can put drivers at risk for severe injuries such as soft tissue damage, brain trauma, spinal cord injuries and psychiatric disorders.
Each year, car accidents leave thousands of motorists in Washington facing injuries. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, in 2011, the last year with available crash data, over 32,600 collisions that resulted in car accident injuriesoccurred statewide. Tragically, in many of these accidents, Spokane Valley drivers may suffer serious injuries with lasting adverse consequences.
Motor vehicle accidents are a factor in over 14 percent of traumatic brain injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This makes auto accidents the third leading cause of these injuries. Traumatic brain injuries may range from mild concussions to more severe injuries that cause permanent effects. The consequences of a TBI can be varied and include the following issues:
- Short-term balance problems, sleep disturbances, memory issues and difficulty focusing
- Long-term impacts on reasoning, sensory perceptions, behavior, emotions and moods
- Increased risk of other neurological problems and brain disorders, such as epilepsy
Unfortunately, these injuries can be difficult to recognize initially, and their ramifications are often challenging to predict.
Spinal cord injury
Auto accidents are also a leading cause of spinal cord injuries, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. Over one-third of these injuries reportedly occur during car crashes. Car accident victims who have suffered spinal cord damage may experience loss of sensation, weakness, paralysis, sensations of pain and incontinence. Mild or incomplete spinal cord injuries may heal in time, but tragically, severe damage to the spinal nerves may be irreversible.
Soft tissue damage
Soft tissue injuries, or injuries that affect the muscles, ligaments and tendons, are another potential outcome of car accidents. An especially common soft tissue injury is whiplash, which occurs when the neck overextends suddenly. As these injuries heal, victims may experience mobility problems and pain. Although a soft tissue injury can typically heal in months, some people experience residual effects, such as sensations of pain.
After more serious car accidents, many people may also be at risk for psychological injuries, such as posttraumatic stress disorder. The National Center for PTSD states that, according to general research, about 9 percent of car accident victims go on to develop PTSD. This figure may underrepresent the scope of the problem, however, since some people may never seek help for psychological injuries. Some car crash victims may also experience anxiety, phobia or depression.
Recourse for wrongful injuries
People who suffer any of these injuries as a result of another driver’s negligence may be able to seek recourse. Unfortunately, given the complex nature of these injuries and their serious impacts, securing appropriate recompense may prove difficult in many cases. Consequently, victims of serious car crash injuries may benefit from speaking with an attorney as soon as possible regarding their rights and legal options.