Internal Injuries and Organ Damage in Vehicle Accidents

During a car crash, the brain responds by triggering a flood of adrenaline. This hormone is what causes the basic “fight or flight” response in humans, and one of its functions is to minimize pain. So, sometimes people who have been involved in a relatively minor crash don’t realize they’ve suffered a devastating injury.

Internal injuries and organ damage can cause rapid internal bleeding, heart failure, and death. Even less serious injuries, such as soft tissue damage, may require surgery and rehabilitation.

If you’ve suffered a serious injury in a car crash, you could be entitled to compensation that covers the cost of your medical care, lost wages, and ongoing treatment. Contact the law firm of John R. Colvin today to request a free case consultation: 1-931-962-1044.

Medical Treatment for Internal Injuries

Anyone involved in a crash should seek medical treatment as soon as possible, so a doctor can determine whether any internal injuries have occurred. Because of the complex nature of organ damage and internal injuries, if a doctor suspects such an injury, the patient may need to be transferred to a Level 1 Trauma Center for emergency treatment.

A trauma hospital is staffed around the clock, with surgical teams ready to mobilize at any time. These facilities may also have special teams dedicated to handling specific types of injuries. Examples in our region include:

  • The Erlanger Trauma Center – a dedicated Level I Trauma Center serving 63 counties in Alabama and Tennessee.
  • The Vanderbilt Center for Trauma, Burn, and Emergency Surgery, the only American College of Surgeons (ACS) designated Level 1 Trauma Center in the state of Tennessee
  • The Neuro Intensive Care Unit at University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, which treats crash survivors who have suffered spinal cord injuries and brain injuries.

With immediate treatment at a trauma center, people who have suffered serious internal injuries may be able to fully recover. But they may be left with medical debt, as trauma center care is costly, especially because trauma patients often develop complications.

A study published in the journal “Surgery” revealed just how costly trauma care can be. Among the 512 trauma center patients in the study, 330 had no complications. But 53 had more than one minor complication, and 129 had more than one major complication. Their median costs of care were:

  • $33,833 (with no complications)
  • $81,936 (with minor complications)
  • $150,885 (with major complications).

Accident victims and their families often struggle with the high cost of care. Even with health insurance, out-of-pocket costs can be significant, so it’s important for families to use every resource at their disposal, and that includes talking to a personal injury attorney.

Types of Organ Injuries

The brain, heart, kidneys, liver, and lungs are the body’s most vital organs. Injuries to any of these organs can be fatal or cause lifelong disability.

Injuries to the spleen, liver, digestive system, and kidneys are common in vehicle accidents, especially among children. If those injuries are not severe, a patient may not need surgery. But if organs are punctured or lacerated and bleeding, surgery is essential to control the bleeding.

Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries

Injuries to the brain and spinal cord can be devastating. Both types of injury can cause partial or total paralysis. Brain injuries that are localized – such as a hematoma – are generally easier to treat than widespread brain damage. When the brain moves rapidly inside the skull, as often happens in a car crash, a person may suffer diffuse axonal injury, which is when nerves throughout the brain are damaged.

Complete recovery from such an injury is unlikely.

People who survive brain and spinal cord injuries will usually require some degree of ongoing care, such as physical therapy and speech therapy. And an injury to the spinal cord can disrupt the function of bodily organs, leaving patients dependent on external machines to perform essential bodily functions.

Tendon and Ligament Injuries

The sheer force of a vehicle accident throws the human body into unnatural positions, which can result in torn ligaments and tendons. Some torn ligaments may heal on their own, but major ligaments like the ACL – the stabilizing ligament in the knee – will need to be repaired surgically if torn.

Many people who undergo surgery for torn ligaments recover well, but some experience lifelong pain and discomfort.

Help for Accident Victims

If you or an immediate family member has suffered a serious injury in a vehicle accident, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. John R. Colvin has represented many crash survivors, helping them get the compensation they need to move on with their lives as best as possible.

Request your free, no-obligation consultation today by filling out our online form or by calling 1-931-962-1044.

Licensed to Practice in Tennessee & Alabama