Internal Injuries From Car Accidents in Maryland
“Internal injuries” is a very broad term that encompasses any type of damage to an internal organ or system inside the body. Internal injuries are particularly dangerous because they are often overlooked immediately after an accident. Frequently, there is no obvious sign of an internal injury, yet catastrophic damage could be lurking inside the body that may have serious consequences. This means that many victims fail to seek proper medical treatment for potentially deadly injuries.
Internal injuries are common in car accidents because of the forces exerted on the body. Pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists are particularly susceptible to internal injuries in a crash because they have virtually no protection in a collision.
Even what might appear to be a relatively minor car accident can cause the body to collide with an object in the vehicle with enough force to cause significant trauma. Along with a traumatic impact injury, the force of a collision can also cause internal organs to be compressed, causing an internal injury.
Common causes of internal injuries in a car accident include:
- Ejection from the vehicle.
- Colliding with the steering wheel, dashboard or other hard surfaces.
- Airbag deployment.
- Shattered glass.
- Seatbelt injuries.
Internal bleeding typically follows a serious trauma. Trauma can be categorized as blunt or penetrating. Blunt trauma occurs when a body part collides with another object with great force. Penetrating trauma happens when a foreign object penetrates the body.
Internal bleeding is sometimes the result of an obvious trauma that clearly requires immediate medical attention. For example, it is likely that someone who has been ejected from a vehicle would be examined for internal bleeding. However, a less serious trauma can also cause internal bleeding and may not be detected if the victim is not thoroughly checked out soon after the accident.
Almost any of the organs and blood vessels in the body can be damaged, causing internal bleeding. While any source of internal bleeding is a cause for concern, some of the most serious sources include:
- Bleeding around the lungs (hemothorax).
- Bleeding around the heart (hemopericardium and cardiac tamponade).
- Head trauma with internal bleeding (intracranial hemorrhage).
- Tears in the large blood vessels near the center of the body (aorta, superior and inferior vena cava and their major branches).
Symptoms of Internal Injuries
The symptoms of an internal injury vary depending on the type, the location in the body and the severity. Some common symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain or swelling – If the liver or spleen is injured, pain and/or swelling in the abdomen will likely occur and will worsen as the bleeding continues and the injury increases in severity.
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting – The body needs a certain amount of blood to function properly. If someone has an internal injury that is bleeding and they lose enough blood, they will usually begin to feel weak, dizzy and lightheaded.
- Swelling in the legs or arms – This may result from internal bleeding caused by a fracture.
- Bruising – Bruising is common in car accidents. A large area of deeply purple skin may be the result of bleeding into the skin and soft tissues.
- Change in blood pressure – A significant decrease or increase in blood pressure often indicates a problem with the way blood is circulating throughout the body, which could be because of an internal injury.
- Blood in vomit – Anytime blood appears in vomit, saliva, urine or any other bodily secretion, it could be a sign of internal injuries.
Although many of these symptoms may seem harmless enough on their own, they should be considered a cause for concern when they follow a car accident.
The body has a number of built-in alarm systems that are intended to alert you when there is a problem. However, for those alarm systems to work, you must listen to them. The basic rule is that if you have been in even a minor car accident, you should go to the hospital immediately to have a thorough medical examination.
Treating Internal Injuries
Treatment is typically twofold once an internal injury has been diagnosed. First, the source of the injury must be addressed. Second, any loss of blood must also be treated.
It is likely that a victim who presents with an internal injury will be put on intravenous fluids and given a blood transfusion to prevent an unsafe drop in blood pressure and to replace the lost blood. After that, doctors will usually do some type of imaging test to check for internal bleeding. Once the source of the injury is identified, doctors will decide whether to proceed with surgery or to observe the patient for a while first.
Serious injuries to internal organs will usually require immediate surgery. Other internal injuries may heal on their own if given time and proper monitoring.
Get Help from a Washington DC Car Accident Lawyer Now
If you have suffered internal injuries in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries or loss you have suffered. The Washington DC car accident attorneys at The Abelson Law Firm can help you navigate the legal process to help make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact The Abelson Law Firm by using our online contact form for a no cost, no obligation review of your case and to learn what legal options you may have. You will not incur any attorney fees unless we are successful in recovering compensation for you.