Understanding the injuries most often associated with car accidents

Victims of car accidents may be at high risk for various severe and complex injuries, including brain trauma, spinal cord injuries and whiplash.

Despite advances in vehicle safety technology, car accidents frequently still have devastating consequences for drivers, passengers and other road users. In 2014 alone, over 61,000 crashes that occurred in Edwardsville and other areas in Illinois left victims with injuries, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. The nature of these car accident injuries can vary widely, but often, they have severe and even permanent impacts on victims.

Brain trauma

Motor vehicle accidents represent the third most prevalent cause of traumatic brain injuries in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among people between the ages of 15 and 44, auto accidents constitute the top cause of brain injuries that require hospitalization. These serious injuries may have various adverse effects on a person's moods and behavior as well as the following faculties:

• Logical reasoning and memory

• Communication and comprehension

• Perception of sensation and other stimuli

These injuries are often complex, and they may produce unexpected effects that only manifest months or years later. According to the CDC, brain injuries also may raise the risk that victims will subsequently develop other neurological disorders, including epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Spinal cord injury

From 2010 to 2013, motor vehicle crashes were the top cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for more than one-third of these injuries, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. Spinal cord injuries can cause issues ranging from loss of mobility and sensation to partial or complete paralysis. Tragically, these injuries are irreversible, although immediate medical attention can reduce their severity. The NSCISC states that spinal cord injuries also can have huge lifelong costs, with estimated expenses frequently exceeding $1 million.

Whiplash

Whiplash, which is a type of soft tissue trauma, is another common injury among car accident victims. Whiplash occurs when joints, ligaments, nerves or muscles in the neck suffer injury due to a sudden jolting motion. Symptoms, which are sometimes slow to manifest, include pain in the neck and surrounding regions, dizziness and stiffness. More severe symptoms may include impaired concentration, memory loss, emotional disturbances and exhaustion.

Options for injury victims

Sadly, statistics suggest that these injuries and other trauma resulting from car crashes will affect thousands of people in Illinois this year. When these injuries occur due to the negligence of other parties, victims should understand that compensation might be available. Under the Illinois Compiled Statutes, victims may be able to recover various damages even if they were up to 50 percent at fault in an accident. However, they must act quickly to protect their rights, as the state observes a two-year statute of limitations for injuries of this nature.

For assistance meeting this deadline and pursuing compensation, car accident injury victims may benefit from consulting with an attorney. An attorney may be able to evaluate the full cost of a person's injuries and offer advice on options for seeking adequate recompense.