Some minor car accidents result in only minor injuries, while other collisions cause debilitating health problems. While broken bones, lacerations and other issues are immediately evident, internal damage and brain injuries can take hours or days to appear.
Familiarize yourself with common types of injuries that may occur in a car accident.
Soft tissue injuries
This category describes trauma to the ligaments, muscles and tendons. Strains and sprains to the back and neck, including whiplash, are common soft tissue injuries that occur in an auto accident. With these injuries, the impact of the collision stretches the muscles and ligaments around the spine, leading to inflammation and pain.
When the chest impacts the steering wheel, dashboard or other parts of the car, severe injury can result. This can include punctured lungs, fractured ribs and even damage to the heart. Internal bleeding can also affect the chest and abdomen. Symptoms of this condition include bruising, swelling, confusion, dizziness and loss of consciousness.
These injuries affect the driver and front-seat passenger when the knees strike the dashboard in an accident. This often results in torn cartilage or a shattered kneecap, both painful conditions that affect mobility and require surgical repair.
Traumatic brain injuries
Head impact during an auto accident can create a traumatic brain injury. In fact, car accidents are the most common cause of TBI. Sometimes, the signs of a TBI do not show up right away. If you experience an auto accident, be aware of headaches, forgetfulness, personality changes and other unusual symptoms. TBIs can be minor, such as a concussion, or cause significant, long-term disability.
When another driver causes an accident, he or she may be legally responsible for your injuries. You can ask the court to award damages for medical bills, lost wages and other costs. In Tennessee, you have only one year to file a personal injury lawsuit after an auto accident.