What Rare Car Accident Injuries Can Be Catastrophic?

Published on Jan 27, 2022 at 2:47 pm in Car Accidents.

Stethoscope on chart

Rare injuries are some of the most complicated, severe, and difficult to manage after a motor vehicle collision. Unusual car accident injuries often require more unconventional treatments, longer recovery periods, and the care of specialists who know how to handle these conditions. From your perspective, this can mean towering medical bills and months of missed work and lost wages—on top of the pain and suffering you are experiencing.

Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC is committed to representing victims of catastrophic injuries who were hurt in car accidents caused by negligence or willful wrongdoing. There are legal steps to take after a motor vehicle crash resulting in rare, serious injuries. These steps can help you recover the compensation you need to secure your financial future. After learning more about what rare car accident injuries can be catastrophic, reach out to our personal injury law firm with questions.

What Is a Catastrophic Injury?

What is considered a catastrophic injury? In personal injury law, a catastrophic injury is one that has a severe, long-term, and often permanent impact on a person’s life. Different types of catastrophic injuries can alter a person’s ability to function in varying ways. An injury victim may lose their ability to walk, see, pick up objects, hold employment, or perform everyday cognitive tasks. A catastrophic injury can also lead to wrongful death. Catastrophic injury examples include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCIs), especially those resulting in paralysis
  • Internal organ damage
  • Severely broken bones
  • Third-degree burns

Uncommon Car Accident Injuries

Most of us are familiar with the more common car accident injuries. Motor vehicle crashes can be—and often are—devastating. When two powerful machines collide at high speeds, the human body can suffer injuries like broken bones, cuts, bruises, mild to severe brain injuries and head injuries, burn injuries, whiplash, soft tissue damage, and a variety of other physical trauma. There are also complications that are rarer but still quite possible, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or high blood pressure or strokes caused by a car accident.

Some types of injuries are much more unusual, seen in only a small number of vehicular crash victims. The effects of these rare car accident injuries on an individual’s life can be considered catastrophic, due to the serious nature of the condition, the intense medical care required to treat it, and the extreme challenges it inflicts on the injury victim’s ability to live a normal, everyday life as they did prior to the accident. Below are some examples of rare car accident injuries that can be catastrophic.

Air Bag Injury

Catastrophic air bag injuries comprise a small percentage of auto collision injuries. These can include injuries when an airbag fails, or injuries suffered due to the force of impact when an airbag deploys. Although airbags are designed to protect drivers and passengers from serious injury, in some cases an airbag—whether it deploys as intended or not—can cause bruises and broken bones, facial disfigurement and scarring, head and neck injuries, or trauma to the chest and abdomen. Children too young to sit in the front seat of a car can sustain particularly devastating injuries in crashes in which air bags deploy. In the most catastrophic air bag-related injuries, a victim may suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from impact, or a ruptured vein or artery that leads to internal bleeding.

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Leak

The cerebrospinal fluid is a liquid that circulates in and around the hollow spaces of the brain and through the spinal cord. If the membrane containing the watery fluid is ruptured through head trauma in an event like a car accident, CSF can leak out of the nose and ears. Those who suffered a CSF leak in a car accident may experience symptoms of unusual nasal drainage, ringing in the ears, headaches, loss of balance, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and a salty or metallic taste in the mouth. A CSF leak alone does not generally cause acute harm. However, the risks associated with this condition can be life-threatening. When left untreated, a cerebrospinal fluid leak can lead to a brain infection or meningitis. Surgery is often recommended to treat this type of injury.

Friction Burn

Friction burns, also referred to as “road rash,” result when an area of a car accident victim’s body is scraped along the surface of the roadway, causing a burn due to sliding friction. Those involved in car crashes may suffer friction burns if they are thrown from the vehicle. Friction burns are more commonly seen in motorcycle accident victims because the rider’s body is exposed, rather than enclosed inside a vehicle. Bicyclists and pedestrians struck by moving vehicles are also vulnerable to road rash injuries. Many friction burns are relatively minor, but due to the high degree of heat produced in a sliding injury, victims in severe cases can suffer third-degree deep burn injuries. These injuries are highly vulnerable to infection and usually require surgery and prolonged, ongoing treatments. Friction burns that occur at high speeds, on abrasive road surfaces, on high-temperature road surfaces, and those that involve exposed skin not covered by clothing are likely to be the most catastrophic.

Bowel Obstruction

If you experience severe abdominal pain following a car crash, you should be examined promptly by a physician for signs of internal organ damage. A bowel obstruction (or intestinal obstruction) is an injury that can result from the blunt force trauma of the seatbelt against the abdomen. With this injury, food is not able to pass through the body as part of the digestive process. Although a rare occurrence, cases have been reported in which car accident victims were diagnosed months after the accident with delayed bowel obstruction due to a seat belt injury. These injury victims endured severe physical pain and trauma, and some even lost their lives due to complications. When intestines are unable to properly function after this type of injury, patients may experience intense abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, and abdominal swelling. This condition is considered a medical emergency and must be treated immediately.

Punctured Lung

Traumatic pneumothorax, or a punctured or collapsed lung, results when the lung is stabbed and punctured by an outside object or broken rib. This means that air enters the space between the lung and chest wall and the lung is unable to expand as it normally would, making breathing difficult. Some cases are mild and can heal on their own, but usually require a significant rest and recuperation period. More severe lung damage will lead to intense pain, trouble breathing, and other serious issues caused by a lack of oxygen. These cases often require surgery, the placement of a chest tube, or supplemental oxygen. If untreated, complications can lead to permanent lung damage, infection, heart failure, and even death.

Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC Fights for the Rights of Injured Victims

At Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, we know how to handle the complicated legal cases. Regardless of your circumstances, when we take your case, you have the reassurance that we will do whatever it takes to get you the justice you need and deserve. Our case results speak for themselves.

To learn more about how we may be able to help you recover after a catastrophic car accident injury, fill out our free consultation form. An experienced car accident attorney from our firm will be in touch to schedule an initial case evaluation. At no cost to you, we will listen to your story and provide experienced advice about your legal options following an accident.

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