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What Is Considered a Serious Injury in a Car Accident?

Paramedics at the scene of a serious accident attending to a crash victim on a stretcher.

Serious injuries disrupt a person’s life. They limit a person’s ability to enjoy hobbies or go to work in the same way as they had before the accident.

Any injury can be serious. The worst action a person can take in response to their pain is to not seek medical care. Doing so can possibly cause a minor injury to become a major problem.

Examples of Serious Injuries After an Accident

Police define serious injuries when reporting a wreck as any injury that prevents a person from driving, walking, or engaging in normal activities. Serious injuries after a crash include obvious wounds such as:

  • Severe lacerations: Deep cuts or puncture wounds expose and tear through internal tissues, muscles, or organs, resulting in significant bleeding and pain.
  • Broken bones or dislocated joints: The bones or joints are visibly out of place, twisted in the wrong direction, or pushed through the skin. Internal fractures may be indicated by deep bruises, severe pain, and an inability to use the limb properly.
  • Crush injuries: The hand, foot, leg, or arm is mashed, breaking tissue and bone. Recovery may require multiple surgeries or amputation.
  • Severe skull, chest, or abdominal injury: Injuries to the torso and head are the most serious injuries as both locations contain vital organs.
  • Second and third-degree burns: Severe burns are defined as affecting 10% or more of the body and require skin grafts.
  • Unconsciousness: A person found incoherent, unresponsive, or comatose is always considered severely injured. The longer a person takes to regain consciousness, the worse their long-term neurological symptoms may become.
  • Paralysis: A person who has trouble moving, sensing, or feeling limbs or parts of their body is automatically classified as having a serious injury.

Persons with serious injuries often cannot walk away from a car crash on their own. They are usually rushed to the emergency room and undergo immediate care or surgery.

What If You’re Able to Walk Away From an Accident?

Most wrecks don’t involve severe or life-threatening injuries. Visible injuries, such as abrasions, shallow cuts from glass, and bruising may prompt many to seek medical care.

Don’t try to tough out your injuries.

A doctor generally knows what questions to ask and will examine you from head to toe. It’s better to discover a problem early rather than deal with it later on. Delaying care can mean the difference between healing quickly or suffering long-term complications.

But what if your injuries aren’t visible? Are they serious enough to warrant seeing a doctor?

The answer is yes. Injuries are always serious when they are your injuries.

Pain often doesn’t appear after an accident until the next day. After 24 hours, the adrenaline and endorphins protecting you have worn off. The body can no longer shield itself from the effects of invisible, internal injuries.

Serious Injuries Aren’t Always Visible

People can walk away from an accident appearing unscathed, only to realize hours or days later that something is wrong. Internal injuries after a wreck should be taken just as seriously as obvious external injuries.

Examples of serious internal injuries include:

Signs you may be suffering from an internal injury after a crash include fever, chest pain, disorientation, sleep issues, emotional difficulties, speech problems, vision problems, chest pain, abdominal pain, difficulty passing waste, etc.

None of these symptoms should be ignored. Internal injuries can easily become fatal or lead to more problems in the future.

Medical Care Is Expensive: Talk to a Lawyer

It’s the sad truth that many car accident victims avoid seeking emergency medical care because they either do not have insurance or their insurance still leaves them thousands of dollars in debt.

The good news is a personal injury lawyer can help. Their job is to negotiate on injured clients’ behalf to ensure the insurance company pays the bill for the accident.

Worried about the cost of consulting a lawyer? Don’t be. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations and work on a contingency basis.

At Gary Martin Hays & Associates, we help car accident victims with serious injuries recover the financial assistance they need to get their health and life back on track. We lay out a recovery roadmap so you understand the process step-by-step.

Don’t wait to protect your health and don’t let the insurance company scare you into signing away your rights before talking to an attorney. Contact us today to get started.

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