Internal Injuries as a Result of a Car Accident in Harrisonburg VA
In the aftermath of a serious car accident, the most severe injuries may be those you can’t see. Internal injuries are some of the most common and dangerous types of injuries that people suffer in car crashes. Not all internal injuries cause pain. Without pain or other outward symptoms indicating that a person has serious internal injuries, an accident victim may not realize that he or she needs immediate medical attention.
In many instances, car accident victims only learn about their internal injury hours or days later when they are admitted to the hospital in medical distress. If an individual does not receive treatment for internal injuries and experiences prolonged internal bleeding, he or she could go into shock, experience a drop in blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and eventually loss of consciousness.
If you have sustained internal injuries in a car accident caused by another driver in Harrisonburg, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your medical bills and other accident-related losses. Contact Kendall Law Firm for assistance. Our Harrisonburg car accident lawyers have more than 30 years of experience helping Virginia residents seek justice and fair compensation. Before practicing personal injury law, David Kendall served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Judge Advocate General, where he developed a passion for justice and service to others. His passion for justice inspires our legal team to provide exceptional personalized legal service to our clients.
If you’ve been hurt, Kendall Law Firm is here to help. Get a free initial consultation by calling our office in Harrisonburg or visiting our contact page.
What Is An Internal Injury?
In the world of medicine, an internal injury refers to damage to the ribs, organs, or bodily tissues in the abdominal, thoracic, or cranial cavities. This covers trauma to organs and other tissues inside your chest cavity, abdominal area, and skull. Breaking one or more of your ribs would be an internal injury since your ribs are located within your body’s chest cavity.
In contrast to internal injuries, surface injuries refer to damage to your limbs or other, more exposed parts of your body. These injuries are sometimes called superficial injuries.
Internal injuries from car accidents are typically caused by either penetrative or blunt force trauma. The higher the speed upon impact, the greater the chances that a person involved in a crash may suffer internal injuries.
Penetrative trauma occurs when a foreign object penetrates the body, damaging the internal tissues. In a car accident, this could be shards of glass, the jagged metal edges of the vehicle, and other foreign objects. Penetrative trauma injuries are often easier to identify and diagnose since there is an entry wound.
Blunt-force trauma is an injury caused by a forceful impact with a dull surface or object. It is a non-penetrative injury. An example of blunt-force trauma is when a driver or passenger slams their head against a window or the side of the vehicle in a crash, causing damage to the skull or brain. These injuries are often more challenging to identify than penetrative trauma injuries because the crash victim might be unaware that he or she sustained internal injuries until serious symptoms present themselves.
Types Of Internal Injuries From Car Accidents
Some of the most common types of internal injuries suffered in car accidents include:
- Internal bleeding– Either blunt-force trauma or penetrative trauma can cause blood vessels within the body to tear or burst, causing the victim to start losing blood within their body. If the blood vessels don’t clot and the victim continues to bleed, they might end up losing consciousness or suffering further harm. Excessive blood loss can lead to death.
- Broken ribs– Ribs can be broken if a foreign object strikes or penetrates the chest cavity. But they are more commonly caused by the force of impact from the crash itself. Any time a bone breaks, the pain can be excruciating. Broken ribs are especially concerning because they can cause further harm to the body, such as puncturing internal organs in the chest cavity or abdominal cavity.
- Pneumothorax/punctured lung– When ribs break due to a car crash, the broken bones can puncture the lungs. This causes the lung to collapse and deflate, as well as filling the chest cavity with air. A punctured lung is a severe injury that requires immediate medical intervention.
- Damage to other internal organs– Internal organs can be damaged in a car accident from penetrative trauma or blunt force trauma. If there is severe internal bleeding within these organs or other egregious harm, these injuries can be fatal. Even if they’re not fatal, damage to internal organs can compromise your body’s functions for the rest of your life. Ruptured spleens, lacerated kidneys, and damage to the liver are some of the most common internal organ injuries in car crashes.
- Abdominal aorta aneurysm– If your stomach is suddenly compressed in an accident, the impact can sometimes rupture the abdominal aorta, one of our body’s major blood vessels. This causes rapid loss of blood and is often fatal.
- Brain bleeds– A hard blow to the head in a car accident, even if nothing penetrates the skull, can cause bleeding within the brain, also known as an intracranial hematoma. As blood seeps into the skull, the brain loses oxygen, and the body’s functions can be affected. Brain bleeds need to be treated as soon as possible to avoid permanent brain damage or death.
Common Symptoms Of Internal Bleeding And Injuries
If you are in a car accident, here are some symptoms and warning signs of internal bleeding to look out for:
- Feeling faint or dizzy
- Losing consciousness
- Low blood pressure
- A feeling of weakness, especially more in one side of the body than the other
- Severe headaches
- Severe abdominal pain
- Feeling short of breath
- Severe chest pain
The symptoms may vary depending on the internal cavity involved. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms after a car accident, especially if there are multiple symptoms, seek medical treatment right away.
Treatment And Compensation For Internal Injuries
When internal injuries happen within hard-to-reach areas of the body, they generally require invasive treatment to repair. Exploratory surgery may be necessary to pinpoint the trauma, and the victim may need intravenous blood, plasma, and platelets. Once the patient is stable, he or she will need to rest to allow time for the body to heal itself, and they’ll need to be careful not to aggravate the injury as they recover.
Medical treatment for internal injuries can be extremely costly and leave a patient with tens of thousands of dollars of medical debt. Accident victims whose internal injuries were caused by another driver’s carelessness or negligence may be entitled to seek compensation to cover their medical bills and related expenses.
If you have suffered serious injuries in a crash caused by another driver, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible about your options for pursuing compensation.
By making an insurance claim against the driver who hit you or filing a personal injury lawsuit, you may seek compensation for:
- Your medical bills, including the cost of any future or ongoing treatment you may need
- Your lost wages and reduced capacity to work in the future
- Your pain and suffering
- Your emotional anguish
- Your damaged personal property, such as the damage to your vehicle
One complicating factor when it comes to obtaining compensation for car accident injuries is Virginia’s negligence laws. Virginia is one of a handful of states that uses a pure contributory negligence doctrine to determine liability in personal injury cases.
Essentially, this means that accident victims can be barred from recovering any compensation for their injuries if they contributed to the accident in any way. Taking advantage of this strict standard, insurance companies often try to shift some blame to the accident victim in order to avoid paying claims. Because of the way Virginia’s law is written, you should get help from an experienced personal injury attorney if you want to recover compensation for your injuries.
How Can A Harrisonburg Lawyer Help Me With An Internal Injury Claim?
The Harrisonburg car accident attorneys at the Kendall Law Firm know how serious internal organ injuries can be. We’ve seen firsthand the impact that a severe injury accident can have on the lives of the victim and their family.
Our compassionate team at Kendall Law Firm will be ready to review your accident and discuss your rights and explore how we can help you.
Virginia law gives car accident victims just two years after the crash to file a lawsuit if they wish to recover compensation. It’s essential to act quickly. Get a free case review with one of our car accident lawyers today by calling our office in Harrisonburg or fill out our online contact form. We’ll be ready to stand up and fight for you.