Common Orthopedic Injuries in Car Accidents

Orthopedic Injuries in Car AccidentsCar accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, some of which are orthopedic in nature, which means they affect the musculoskeletal system. These injuries can have a significant effect on your life, causing pain, disability, and the need for extensive medical treatment. Understanding common orthopedic injuries in car accidents is important for both accident victims and those involved in their medical and legal care.

Types of orthopedic injuries

Orthopedic injuries are those that affect the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints of the musculoskeletal system. In car accidents, the most common orthopedic injuries include:

  • Fractures. Broken bones can occur in car accidents due to the impact of the collision or the force of an airbag deploying. Common fracture sites include the arms, legs, ribs, and collarbone.
  • Dislocations. Joint dislocations can happen when the force of the accident causes the bones at a joint to separate from their normal alignment, leading to pain and loss of function.
  • Sprains and strains. These injuries involve damage to the ligaments (sprains), muscles, and tendons (strains). They can result in pain, swelling, and limited mobility.
  • Whiplash. Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when the head is suddenly jerked forward and backward. It can lead to neck pain, headaches, and even cognitive issues.
  • Herniated discs. The force of a car accident can cause the cushioning discs between the vertebrae in the spine to rupture or bulge, potentially compressing nearby nerves and causing pain and weakness.
  • Rotator cuff injuries. In side-impact or rollover accidents, the shoulder can be vulnerable to injury, particularly to the tendons and muscles of the rotator cuff.
  • Pelvic and hip injuries. A high-impact collision can lead to pelvic and hip fractures or dislocations, which may require surgery.
  • Knee injuries. The knee is a complex joint that can be injured in various ways during a car accident, including ligament tears, dislocations, and fractures.

Causes of orthopedic injuries in car accidents

Orthopedic injuries in car accidents can result from various causes:

  • Sudden deceleration. When a car comes to a sudden stop due to a collision, the force can spread through the body, causing injuries to bones, joints, and soft tissues.
  • Direct impact. The collision itself, whether with another vehicle, a stationary object, or even the vehicle’s interior, can directly cause fractures, dislocations, and other injuries.
  • Airbag deployment. While airbags are crucial for safety, the force of their deployment can lead to injuries, especially if a person is positioned too close to the steering wheel or dashboard.
  • Ejection. If a car occupant is not properly restrained by a seatbelt, they may be ejected from the vehicle during a crash, leading to a higher risk of severe orthopedic injuries.
  • Rollovers. Rollover accidents can subject the body to extreme forces, causing a wide range of orthopedic injuries, including fractures and dislocations.

Symptoms of orthopedic injuries

Recognizing the symptoms of orthopedic injuries following a car accident is essential for seeking prompt medical attention and treatment. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain. Pain at or near the injury site is a common symptom of orthopedic injuries.
  • Swelling. Swelling may occur due to inflammation and fluid accumulation in the injured area.
  • Bruising. Bruising or discoloration may result from damaged blood vessels and tissue under the skin.
  • Deformity. In cases of fractures or dislocations, the injured area may appear deformed or out of alignment.
  • Limited range of motion. Orthopedic injuries can lead to stiffness and a reduced ability to move the affected joint or body part.
  • Weakness. Muscle or ligament injuries can cause weakness and a lack of stability in the injured area.
  • Numbness or tingling. Nerve compression or injury can result in sensations of numbness or tingling in the affected area.

Treatment for orthopedic injuries

The treatment for orthopedic injuries in car accidents varies depending on the type and severity of the injury. Common treatments include:

  • Immobilization. For fractures and dislocations, immobilization with casts, splints, or braces can be necessary to allow the injured area to heal properly.
  • Surgery. Some injuries, such as complex fractures, dislocations, and herniated discs, may require surgical intervention to repair the damage.
  • Physical therapy. Physical therapy is often essential for rehabilitation and restoring mobility and strength in the injured area.
  • Medication. Pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to manage pain and reduce swelling.
  • Rest and ice. Resting the injured area and applying ice can help reduce pain and swelling during the initial stages of recovery.
  • Assistive devices. Mobility aids such as crutches, walkers, or wheelchairs may be necessary to support mobility during recovery.
  • Nerve treatments. In the case of nerve compression or damage, specialized treatments may be needed to alleviate symptoms and promote healing.

After a car accident that causes orthopedic injury

When an orthopedic injury occurs as a result of a car accident, the victim may have legal options to seek compensation for their damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. The first thing you should do is contact your insurance company and inform them of the accident, so you can begin the process of filing a claim. After that, call our injury lawyers in Huntsville or Decatur, and we can take care of the rest.

At Martin & Helms, we begin by establishing who was liable for liable for the accident, because the liable party’s insurance may be responsible for covering your damages. Negotiating with insurance companies can be challenging, and having legal representation can help ensure that you receive fair compensation.

In cases where negotiations fail to result in a fair settlement, we may file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation through the court system. In Alabama, the statute of limitations for personal injury is two years, so the sooner we can get started, the better.

Did you or a loved one suffer serious orthopedic injuries in an accident? The Huntsville and Decatur attorneys at Martin & Helms are here to help. We can help establish fault and work to secure you the compensation to which you’re entitled for your injuries. To learn more, call our offices or fill out our contact form. We serve clients in Madison, Athens, and all of North Alabama.