Internal Injuries Following Accidents
Not all injuries can be seen on the outside of the body. Trauma to the body can cause damage to internal organs, vascular structures, and soft tissue that may not be visible to the naked eye. The potential for internal injuries is a very important reason to seek prompt medical attention. Even when you have no cuts, bruises, or other obvious external injuries, internal injuries could possibly be present.
A delay in the treatment of internal injuries can lead to serious medical issues—or death. You should immediately obtain medical attention if you have been in a vehicular collision to ensure that any life threatening injuries have been ruled out.
It is important that you speak with an attorney before you speak with an insurance adjuster. At the Noll Law Office, their lawyers are compassionate, highly experienced attorneys who will help you understand the litigation process and make informed decisions throughout the claims process. The Noll Law Office is from the community, for the community.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Internal Injuries?
Medical dictionaries generally refer to “internal injuries” any injury to the thoracic, abdominal, and cranial cavities. Put another way, it refers to injuries sustained in the middle of your spine, the large Holloway space in the torso of your body that houses many of your organs (think stomach, liver, lungs, and the like), and of course, the space inside of your skull.
Internal injuries can take the form of internal bleeding, organ injury, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and a host of other conditions. The injuries can be caused by many different types of accidents. Because internal injuries can be so serious, it is imperative that the injury be identified and treated as quickly as possible. Most vehicular collisions can cause internal injuries, as can serious falls, certain types of medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, and other blunt force traumas to the body.
The National Library of Medicine recently published a 2022 study, Blunt Abdominal Trauma, that found that the chief cause of blunt force abdominal trauma is motor vehicle collisions. These life threatening injuries can cause internal bleeding and damage internal organs, with a significant morbidity rate. Emergency room staff will typically ensure that a patient is breathing and hemodynamically stable prior to ordering CT examinations to rule out solid organ injuries. Ultrasound is also available as a diagnostic tool. With immediate medical treatment, the survival rate is high.
The authors of Blunt Abdominal Trauma concluded that blunt abdominal trauma is in the top three categories of preventable injuries, which included adults falls and preventable motor vehicle accidents.
One common phenomena associated with car accidents is the “seat belt phenomena.” While seat belts often prevent death in motor vehicle collisions, the presence of skin abrasions on the neck, chest, and abdomen – called the seatbelt sign – indicate a high chance of internal injuries. One study published in the National Library of Medicine reported that the presence of abdominal wall ecchymosis (seat belt sign) increases the chance of intra-abdominal injuries by eightfold. The authors concluded that because signs of peritonitis may not show up for one or more days following the vehicular collision, patients should be admitted to the hospital for evaluation if the seat belt sign was present.
Delayed presentation of these internal unseen injuries are why it is so important to obtain a medical evaluation immediately following a motor vehicle collision. At best, the physician and treating facility staff will rule out any major injury, and you will be on your way. On the other hand, diagnosing life threatening injuries early on can help to prevent significant complications and exorbitant medical bills later on, or at least save your life.
In contrast to the above reports, penetrating injuries due to car accidents are much rarer than blunt force trauma injuries. In 2022, the National Library of Medicine published an article on the management of an abdominal penetration injury due to a car accident. The authors found that while penetrating injuries were much more rare from car accidents, the penetration injuries were severe and challenging to treat. The overwhelming majority of these injuries were caused by gunshot wounds and stabbings. Transfer from the emergency room to surgery is critical for optimal outcomes and to prevent death. However, multiple surgeries are usually necessary to obtain a long-term, functionally positive outcome.
What Treatments Are Available for Internal Injuries?
The treatment regimen for internal injuries varies widely depending on the type of injury sustained and where the injury is located. Most serious injuries will require immediate surgical intervention. Hospitals have “trauma teams” that categorize incoming persons following a motor vehicle collision. These trauma teams will have a surgeon and other specially trained individuals who will provide ready assistance for diagnostic and therapeutic assistance following the accident. The important thing to do is ensure that you receive a medical evaluation immediately.
What Should I Do If I Sustained Internal Injuries Following an Accident?
Follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment and ensure that after the initial treatment has been completed. Follow up with your specialists as advised by your physicians. Internal injuries can have life threatening consequences if not medically followed and it is not worth risk to yourself or your family by avoiding seeking medical help.
How Can Noll Law Office Help Me?
The Noll Law Office understands how devastating the aftermath of an accident can be. The attorneys at the Noll Law Office provide compassionate counsel, while aggressively using the lawyers’ extensive litigation experience to help their clients. The Noll Law Office has fifth-generation Springfield attorneys, who love representing other Central Illinois families. Feel free to contact the Noll Law Office today for a free initial consultation to discuss your case.