On average, there are 6 million automobile accidents in the United States each year. 6% of these result in a fatality, while 27% result in non-fatal injuries. These accidents injure roughly 3 million drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Of these, nearly 2 million will have long-term or permanent damage as a result of the accident. It is estimated that between 15 and 40% of auto accident survivors will experience some form of chronic pain for the remainder of their lifetime.
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The Most Common Car Accident Injuries
- Head Injuries – Head injuries can occur when the cranium strikes the window, windshield, steering wheel, or dash. Common injuries include concussions and contusions. In severe cases, the impact may cause bleeding and bruising within the brain. These forms of traumatic brain injury can lead to long-lasting cognitive problems, coma, or loss of motor control.
- Neck Injuries – Whiplash is a well-known accident injury. It occurs when the head is thrust rapidly forward and then back, or to the sides. It is a common injury seen in many rear-end collisions. Whiplash can cause long-term pain and stiffness in the neck, loss of range of motion, headaches, and pain in the upper extremities. A study conducted in 2002 examined patients who had suffered whiplash. Of those in the study, 50% were still suffering symptoms more than 20 years after their accident.
- Chest Injuries – Individuals can suffer chest injuries when airbags deploy, when they hit the back of a seat, or if their body is thrown onto the dashboard. This blunt-force trauma can break ribs, collapse lungs, or trigger cardiac arrest. It can also damage organs and lead to internal bleeding or organ failure.
- Lacerations – Flying glass and other objects can cause severe lacerations to the face, arms, chest, and neck. These injuries are typically superficial and will heal. However, they can cause permanent disfigurement and scarring. They can also lead to loss of vision and blindness if the objects strike the eye.
- PTSD – Post-traumatic stress disorder can occur following even a minor accident. On average, 60% of individuals involved in a motor vehicle accident will experience PTSD following the accident. PTSD can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life, career, and willingness to drive in the future.
The Most Common Car Accidents
1. Low-speed accidents are among the most common types of auto accidents. These occur at speeds of up to 10 mph. Often called “fender benders,” these accidents typically occur in parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks. While low-speed, they can still cause serious injuries including whiplash, broken bones, lacerations, and concussions.
2. Rear-end collisions are another leading cause of injuries. Each year, there are an average of 1.7 million rear-end collisions. These accidents kill approximately 1,700 people and injure another 500,000. These types of collisions often occur in parking lots and in high-traffic situations.
3. Frontal-impacts can include collisions with other vehicles or fixed objects such as parked cars, trees, retaining walls, buildings, etc. They also include impacts with pedestrians or animals. Frontal impacts cause roughly 53% of road fatalities each year. Many of those who are killed are not wearing their seatbelt at the time of the collision.
4. Side-impacts cause 25% of automobile accident fatalities. These accidents occur when a vehicle is sideswiped or “t-boned” by a vehicle. Many survivors of side-impact collisions will experience complex injuries when the forward momentum of the vehicle is disrupted by forces thrusting the vehicle sideways. This can lead to whiplash, compound fractures, and internal organ damage.
Factors That Lead to Automobile Accidents
There are many factors that cause automobile accidents. Each one of these can contribute to the severity of the accident and the injuries that are inflicted on drivers and passengers. These include the following seen frequently by our car accident lawyers in Las Vegas:
- Speeding. Speed is a contributing factor in nearly 30% of all automobile accidents. A speeding vehicle has considerable momentum that will be transferred into any vehicle it collides with.
- Running Red Lights. Each year, nearly 750 people are killed and more than 100,000 more are injured by drivers running red lights.
- Driver Inexperience. In 2014, 221,000 teenage drivers were injured in automobile accidents. On average, six teenage drivers die each day as the result of an automobile accident. This makes it the leading cause of death for individuals under the age of 19.
- Distracted Driving. In 2013, 424,000 people were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver. Drivers focusing on cell phones, radios, food, or other distractions cause nearly 1 in 5 automobile accidents each year.
- Drowsy Driving. Up to 60% of Americans admit to driving a vehicle without sufficient sleep. Nearly 30% of drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel. In 2013, drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 accidents. These caused 44,000 injuries and 800 fatalities.