The human body is amazingly resilient. But when one-ton machines collide at 65 mph, the impact is bound to cause severe harm to the people involved. In this article we’ll discuss some of the crash-related injuries which most often require surgery. Get in touch with a lawyer experienced in car accident cases to learn more about what to do following a car accident injury.
Car Accident Injuries that Most Often Require Surgery
Will I need surgery after a car accident? It’s a common concern of car crash victims. The answer will differ based on the circumstances of the vehicle wreck. The severity of injuries sustained in a car accident will depend on multiple factors, including:
- Speed at the time of the crash
- Seat belt use
- Accident location
- Number of vehicles involved
- Angle and place of impact on the vehicle
- Type of accident
- Whether or not air bags deploy
- Position of the victim’s body at the moment of collision
- Age and health conditions of the accident victim
Once your doctor has fully examined and assessed the extent of your injuries, they will recommend a course of treatment. It’s typical for physicians to offer alternative treatments that can be implemented instead of or before surgery. Surgery is a much more extreme medical procedure than something like setting a bone, using a splint, therapeutic massage, or physical therapy. Your doctor will only advise surgery when your condition necessitates the procedure.
The following types of injuries are the ones which most commonly require surgery after a car accident:
Head, Brain, and Neck Injuries
Damage to the head, skull, neck, and brain can leave the most long-lasting and catastrophic physical damage following a car accident. Confusion and shock after a car accident is common, but in cases of untreated brain damage, a person’s personality and ability to function can be permanently affected. The thought of brain surgery after a car accident can be terrifying, but is sometimes life-saving. Head injuries can progress quickly, which is why it is important to see a physician as soon as possible.
Surgery to address the issues stemming from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) could include blood clot removal, skull fracture repairs, and procedures to stop hemorrhaging and relieve pressure building in the brain. Neck surgery after a car accident could require fusions, plates, implants, or bone grafts. If you are experiencing headaches, confusion, or are recovering from a concussion or whiplash after a car crash, be alert for any additional symptoms that could indicate more significant damage. Seek treatment immediately if any conditions worsen.
Broken Bones and Compound Fractures
When bones are severely broken or shattered in a vehicle accident, surgery is often needed to stabilize fractures. Less severe breaks can usually be repaired through the use of a cast, split, or other medical device to hold the bones in place as they heal. But when a car accident victim suffers an injury that results in severely broken bones, more invasive measures need to be taken. The use of rods, plates, pins, and even artificial joint apparatuses may be necessary to allow patients to use the limbs that have been crushed or mutilated in a vehicle crash.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries are ones which involve ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Minor soft tissue injuries, like sprains, swelling, and bruising, can generally heal on their own over time. But doctors need to be watching for soft tissue damage which can become permanent if left untreated.
Tendons and ligaments surrounding a broken bone, for example, may need to be repaired through a combination of surgery and physical rehabilitation. Therapy may be ongoing for months or even years, as soft tissue can take a long time to fully heal. Not every soft tissue injury requires surgery, and those which do will also usually demand a significant recuperation period.
Many accident victims suffer burns, scrapes, jagged cuts, lacerations from broken glass, and other wounds leading to permanent disfigurement and deep scarring. These injuries often impact the most visible areas of the body, like the hands, arms, neck, chest, and face.
Reconstructive plastic surgery after a car accident may be required to address permanent damage. Examples include skin grafts to cover burned areas and facial surgery done to correct impairment of airways. These kinds of surgery can help victims recover functionality, manage pain and infection, and move forward without a constant physical reminder of the trauma.
Tooth, mouth, and gum damage sustained in an accident can mean the victim requires oral surgery. This is often the case when the head smashes against the steering wheel on impact and teeth are loosened or knocked out. Sometimes, an oral surgeon is able to repair the victim’s own teeth. But in other cases, dental implants will be used to replace the missing or damaged teeth.
Internal Organ Injuries
Damage to internal organs often requires immediate, emergency surgery. Kidney, liver, lung, spleen, heart, stomach, and other organ injuries can be fatal if not addressed within hours, or sometimes even minutes, after the accident. Internal bleeding is a serious issue, and some car accident victims don’t even realize the extent of the internal damage until it is too late. Be on the lookout for signs of latent car accident injuries if you or a loved one sustained injuries in a car crash.
Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
Back surgery after a car accident is not uncommon in serious crashes. Torn tissue, herniated discs, annular tears, broken and dislodged vertebrae, and other severe back and spinal cord injuries usually need be addressed surgically. These are among some of the most dangerous car accident injuries and should only be handled by a skilled surgeon. A specialist in spinal cord injuries is often the most qualified to mend these types of injuries. Your primary care physician will likely be able to recommend the most qualified professional to undertake your back or spinal surgery after an accident.
How Can I Afford Surgery After a Car Accident?
There is no doubt that surgery is expensive. Very few people are prepared to pay the enormous expenses that accompany after-accident medical care out of pocket. In addition to a steep surgery bill, there are sure to be other costs incurred for complementary and supplemental forms of medical care. This could include bills for:
- Hospital stays
- Doctor’s visits
- Transportation to and from appointments
- Diagnostic tests and exams
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Wheelchairs, crutches, or other medical equipment
- Professional home care
As you are amassing a pile of medical bills, you may simultaneously be dealing with the issue of lost wages due to missed work. It’s normal to wonder: How could I possibly afford all these medical expenses?
That’s where car accident lawyers like us come into the picture. Personal injury law exists so that people who are harmed through the negligence of others are not forced to pay the price. We work hard to make sure that the accountable party takes responsibility for the results of their actions.
If you were injured in an accident and are unsure how to deal with the financial consequences, let us discuss your case details with you. No one should ever be afraid to seek medical treatment for fear of not being able to afford it. Reach out for a free consultation today.