The injuries people suffer after car accidents range from minor bumps and bruises to catastrophic injuries, including spinal cord injuries, amputation, and traumatic brain injuries. In one recent year, 39,107 people died in car crashes, and 4.5 million people sought medical attention for injuries. The cost of car crash injuries for that year was $463 billion, a staggering sum.
What to Do After a Car Accident Injury
What you should do after a car accident injury depends on the severity of your injuries. At the accident scene, if you believe you might make injuries worse by moving, sit still and wait for the emergency medical technicians to arrive.
If You Have Minor Injuries
If you believe your injuries are minor and you won’t suffer additional injuries or make those that you have worse, you can help your case at the accident scene. First, call 911 to report the accident. Check on others involved in the accident. If you are still on the phone with first responders, let them know if they’ll need to send more than one ambulance.
Take photos of the accident scene before anyone moves their vehicles. Most people will move their vehicles to the side of the road if they are drivable. While doing that is safer for those involved in the accident and for other drivers, it also destroys the evidence. If you can get photos before anyone moves their vehicles, you can help preserve evidence. Be sure to take photos from all angles.
Obtain contact information from other drivers and passengers involved in the accident, including each person’s name, a good phone number, and, if possible, a good email address. Also, obtain all drivers’ license and insurance information.
Obtain contact information from each witness. You can also ask each witness what they saw and write down what they tell you.
Always allow first responders to check you over. Once the police release you from the accident scene, go to the hospital or an urgent care center. Some car accident injuries don’t show symptoms for hours or even a day or two later. Tell the nurses and doctors that you were in a car accident and need a thorough exam to ensure that you do not have internal injuries or other injuries that might manifest later.
If You Have Major Injuries
Do not try to move. Allow the emergency medical technicians to check you out. Go to the hospital via ambulance if the EMTs recommend it. You could have additional serious injuries that you can’t feel because of the adrenaline flowing through your body. The police will obtain all of the available information about the accident and put it in the police report, of which you can later request a copy.
Injuries You Could Suffer in a Car Accident
Car wreck injuries can include:
- Bumps, bruises, scrapes, cuts, and scratches.
- Road rash.
- Burns from fuel, oils, or fire.
- Strains and sprains.
- Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions and penetrating injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
- Internal injuries.
You could also suffer from secondary injuries, such as infections from open wounds, disfigurement, and scarring. If you have certain underlying conditions, such as diabetes, immunodeficiencies, or are on certain drugs, such as chemotherapy, you are at a higher risk for infections. Because of these underlying conditions, or because your white cell count is lower because of certain drugs, it takes longer to recover. The longer a wound is open, the more risk you have of acquiring an infection.
Recoverable Damages for Car Crash Injuries
Nevada allows car accident victims to recover two types of damages from the party that caused the accident: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages break into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are reimbursement for accident-related expenses, while non-economic damages are reimbursement for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering.
Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic damages can include:
- Past medical expenses incurred because of the vehicle accident and before a settlement or trial award.
- Future medical expenses that the victim will likely incur after a settlement or trial award.
- Wages lost before a settlement or trial award because of injuries suffered in a car accident.
- Future lost wages the victim will likely lose due to their car accident injuries. Some injuries lead to long-term or permanent disabilities, making it impossible for the victim to ever work again. However, if the victim can work, but cannot work in the same capacity and for the same pay, they might receive partial future lost wages.
- Replacement or repair of destroyed or damaged personal property, including the vehicle and personal property in the vehicle.
- Funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses if you lost a loved one in a car accident.
Sometimes referred to as general damages, non-economic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Loss of use of a body part, such as a foot or hand.
- Loss of use of a bodily function, such as eyesight or bladder control.
- Loss of quality of life.
- Loss of companionship.
- Loss of consortium (Loss of benefits from a family relationship).
- Compensation for amputation, excessive scarring, and/or disfigurement.
- Inconvenience, if the victim must hire someone to do chores that they would usually do, such as grocery shopping, lawn maintenance, or home maintenance and repair.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car or vehicle accident, contact an experienced car accident attorney near you for a free case evaluation to determine if you can pursue compensation.