What to Do for a Victim of Shock After a Car Accident

Published on Aug 15, 2019 at 10:00 am in Car Accidents.

Paramedics getting person in stretcher out of ambulance

Since around 3 million people are injured each year in car accidents, it’s not surprising that some of those injuries are serious. Even though serious injuries might not be immediately apparent, they can cause a victim to go into shock. Shock is when there is insufficient blood flow through the body. It is typically caused by internal bleeding, severe burns, and serious injuries to the heart, nervous system, or organs.

Shock often leads to even worse conditions, like oxygen deprivation, heart attacks, organ damage, and even death. If a victim of a car accident is displaying signs of shock, it’s important to get them medical attention right away.

How to Help a Victim of Shock

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), victims are most likely to die within the first 24 hours after going into shock. This makes it vital to act quickly. Even if you’re not a medical professional, there are still ways you can help. Here is what to do for a victim of shock after a car accident:

  1. Call emergency services if someone has not already
  2. Keep the victim as still as possible
  3. Raise the victim’s legs, never elevate the head
  4. Perform CPR if necessary
  5. Loosen tight clothing
  6. Put blankets or coats over them
  7. Protect them from sun or rain as much as possible
  8. Stay with them until medical professionals arrive

An important phrase to remember is, “If the face is pale, raise the tail.” This means that if someone’s skin is pale—the most common symptom of shock—wedge something beneath their legs to keep their blood flowing to their head and core. You can even rest their legs on your knees if you do not have a towel or blanket to put under their legs.

Car accident victims can have internal injuries that aren’t visible on the surface. Moving their body beyond raising their legs could make things worse and cause permanent damage. Unless where they are poses a serious threat, leave a victim where they are until medical professionals arrive.

First Signs of Shock

A victim of a car accident can go into shock if they have internal bleeding or significant blood loss from wounds. Shock is dangerous, so you need to be vigilant for the early warning signs. Here’s what to look for to identify a victim of shock:

  • Cold, clammy, or pale skin
  • Excessive sweating
  • Quick, weak pulse or low blood pressure
  • Blue tinted lips
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Weakness, dizziness, or confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures

On top of traumatic shock, a car accident victim could also be experiencing emotional shock. The two tend to go hand in hand. Many symptoms of the two overlap, but some symptoms unique to emotional shock are anxiety, panic, and feeling unreasonably upset. Feelings of panic can contribute to a racing heartbeat, which makes the victim’s condition even more dangerous if they are bleeding.

If you see any of these symptoms in a car accident victim, it’s a sign they need medical care immediately. Make sure a medical team is on their way and help however you can until they arrive.

If you suffered injuries severe enough to cause shock from a car accident in Jackson, you probably need legal support. At Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, we have lawyers who can help you in your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Free Consultations


Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.