Common Joint Injuries for Car Accident Victims
In a car accident, there are many different body parts that are especially susceptible to injury. Merely a slight bump might cause substantial damage, so even minor accidents have potential to be serious. Joint injuries are common in most car accidents, but vary in severity depending on the nature of the crash. The neck, knee, elbow, jaw, and ankle are common sources of joint injuries resulting from car accidents. If you have suffered any of these injuries as a result of an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a DC personal injury lawyer if you think you may have case.
The most common neck injury resulting from a car accident is whiplash, often caused by rear-end collisions. Whiplash occurs when the head is forced forward, and then immediately forced backward. In many cases, victims do not experience symptoms for about 24 hours following the accident.
Whiplash can cause damage to the spinal bones, discs, ligaments, and nerves in the neck. If left untreated, spinal joints may function improperly due to a loss of shock absorption and resiliency abilities. Some accident victims may experience further, more serious complications such as numbness, difficulties with mental functions, and restricted movement.
Two common knee injuries that occur in car accidents involve the posterior collateral ligament (PCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The PCL is located in the back of the knee and is responsible for keeping the shin bone from moving too far back. It is often damaged when the bent knee hits the dashboard of the car.
Damage to the ACL might also result from forceful knee contact with the dashboard. The ACL is one of the main ligaments responsible for giving stability to the knee cap, thus holding the shin bone in proper position. An ACL injury is often more severe than a PCL injury; even the smallest tear in the ACL cannot heal on its own. The American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) states that following the start of physical therapy, surgical repair is often performed to repair the ACL. Both PCL and ACL knee injuries may lead to the development of arthritis.
One of the most common elbow injuries is known as radial head dysfunction. The radius, a bone in the arm, is connected to the elbow by the radial head. In an accident, the radial head may get jammed or struck hard. In many cases, the radial head cannot move because the radius has been forced out of place. Essentially, this is known as dislocation and typically requires repositioning by a medical professional. Some victims may suffer additional damage that requires surgical repair.
An injury to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a common jaw injury caused by car accidents. The TMJ is the joint located where the lower jaw meets the skull, and allows for the opening and closing of the mouth, chewing and talking. Individuals have two of these joints, and one or both can be affected. Also, many instances of TMJ injury occur in conjunction with whiplash.
A broken ankle is the most common ankle injury that results from a car accident. While there are multiple parts of the ankle that may be injured, damage to many of these areas often results in surgical intervention and extensive physical therapy. Unfortunately, victims are often subject to discomfort and difficulty walking for many years.
Regardless of the perceived extensiveness of a car accident, it is vital to seek medical care. Although victims may seem uninjured immediately following an accident, symptoms may take 24 hours or longer to appear.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into common auto accident injuries.