Most major injuries caused by car crashes are external and therefore visible. Someone involved in a motor vehicle collision might break their arm. While the broken bone isn’t technically visible, a person can readily tell that their arm is not in the right position and that they cannot use it as normal. Those with contusions and cuts recognize that they may need medical treatment.
People with internal injuries may have a harder time recognizing when they require medical care. Anyone involved in a car crash could potentially develop internal injuries due to blunt-force trauma or even the safety restraints in their vehicle. The possibility of overlooking an internal injury is one reason why seeking medical evaluation after a serious car crash is often the smartest choice.
What internal injuries could people develop?
Internal injuries usually involve internal bleeding
For example, someone who hits the steering wheel with their stomach or whose safety belt stops them from flying out of the vehicle in a high-velocity crash could have severe internal bleeding in their abdomen. Bleeding in the torso is also possible, as is internal bleeding within the skull.
Trauma to the head or violent motions that shake the brain inside the skull can lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that could put someone’s life in danger. Internal injuries often slowly grow worse over time after the initial trauma. If people do not receive a prompt diagnosis, they could be at risk of worsening symptoms. In some cases, internal bleeding can reach a point where someone’s life is at risk.
It is also possible for someone to have stable injuries that they overlook at first. A stable fracture remains aligned after the bone breaks, allowing someone to use the affected body part at least a bit. It might be days later as their pain worsens or after they experience a secondary trauma, like losing their balance on a stairway, that they realize they had a broken bone the whole time. Even a spinal cord injury can be stable and prone to worsening if someone experiences a secondary trauma.
Therefore, individuals involved in high-speed or particularly violent crashes may need to go to a medical facility for a thorough evaluation to check for internal injuries. Learning about the potential medical risks of a car crash can be beneficial for anyone who regularly travels in a motor vehicle.