Auto Accidents

Leading Cause of Injuries

Did you know that auto accidents a/k/a car wrecks are one of the leading causes of injuries in the United States. Most individuals do not realize that even a low-speed (5-10 mph) car crash with little or no vehicle damage can result in some minor injuries. Everyday, individuals suffer personal injuries that were caused by motor vehicle accidents.

These injuries range from minor cuts, bruises , and scrapes to back and neck injuries (such as strained neck muscles), broken bones, head injuries (like a concussion, which affects thinking and balance), and severe internal injuries (to the chest or abdominal organs).

Common signs and medical symptoms of a personal injury from a crash may include neck pain and stiffness, headaches, chest pain, difficulty concentrating, moodiness, tiredness, sleep problems, upper or lower back pain, and arm, hand, leg, or foot pain.

Anyone can be injured in a motor vehicle accident, but children are hurt more frequently. Most injuries occur from not using the proper safety restraints (seatbelts, car seats, etc.) A child not properly restrained or sitting in an adult’s lap can receive serious injuries, even at low speed or during sudden stop.

Call emergency medical help right away if you or your child:

  • Have chest pain or difficult breathing
  • Develop abdominal pain
  • Have sudden, severe headache or headaches that get worse
  • Has difficulty speaking or seeing
  • Cant move or feel part of the body
  • Has coordination/ balance problems that get worse
  • Has slurred speech
  • Cannot be awakened from sleep
  • Have blood in the urine.

Call the doctor, or go to the emergency department, right away if you or your child:

  • Develop new or worsening symptoms
  • Vomits more than once
  • Has clear fluid draining from the nose or ears
  • Can’t be comfortable or won’t stop crying (children)
  • Don’t want to eat or drink

If you are a pregnant women and have any of the following, call your doctor or go to the emergency department right away:

  • Labor contractions
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bleeding from your vagina
  • Blood clots, white or gray tissue, or fluid passing from your vagina
Home Care
  • If the doctor prescribed any medication, take them exactly as prescribed.
  • Make a follow-up appointment with your primary care doctor (or recommended specialist) as soon as possible.
  • Pregnant women should see your obstetrician as soon as possible.
  • Watch for signs of whiplash (sudden neck strain), particularly neck, shoulder, or back pain or stiffness, and pain or numbness in the hands.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or take recreational drugs.
  • Get plenty of rest during the day and sleep at night.
  • Resume normal activities slowly.
  • Ask your doctor when you can drive a car or operate any other equipment that requires a quick reaction.
  • Tell your child’s school, daycare provider, etc. what to watch for and which activities to restrict.
  • If you or your child had a head injury:
  1. Watch for signs of concussion, including confusion, headache, dizziness, vomiting, loss of balance, double or fuzzy vision, and memory or concentration problems.
  2. Make sure someone stays with you/your child at least the first 24-48 hours after the accident.
  3. Write things down if you need help remembering.
  4. Until the doctor says it’s okay, avoid sports and activities that can result in another head injury.
Prevention
  • Obey all speed limit and traffic laws.
  • Drive defensively (trying to avoid risk and danger) and with courtesy (respectful and polite to others)
  • Don’t be distracted while driving by using a cell phone, eating, reading, watching TV, or applying make up.
  • Always wear a seat belt, and have children wear proper safety restraints according to federal standards.
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