Types of Injuries Children Sustain in Car AccidentsPublished: Sep 27, 2022 in Auto Accident, Personal Injury
The thought of being injured in a car accident is horrifying for most adults. For parents and guardians, the idea of their children being harmed in a collision is even more frightening. A crash can have life altering effects to a child and their loved ones.
In March 2022, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report regarding 2019 child car accident statistics. According to their findings, over 91,000 child passengers under the age of 12 were injured in traffic accidents, and another 608 were killed.
Proper use of restraints such as car seats and booster chairs can go a long way in reducing the risk of injuries. Careful driving also decreases chances of a collision. However, even the most cautious parent or guardian cannot completely prevent danger on the road.
If your child is hurt in an auto accident, make sure they receive appropriate medical attention as soon as possible. The reasons are twofold. One is to alleviate the harm your child incurred. The second is to gather evidence of their injuries to build a legal case for your child through paperwork, x-rays, photographs, and other documentation.
What Types of Injuries are Possible?
Children’s bones are not as hard or strong as adults’ bones. If they suffer a head injury, their skulls may not provide enough protection for their still-developing brains. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can range from a mild concussion to permanent developmental damage. Further risks include lacerations, contusions, and fractures to the base of the skull.
Another consideration is the sounds from the accident. Airbags are quite loud when they deploy, with some as loud as 170 decibels. Between this and other noises caused by the collision, a child may suffer hearing loss. It is important after the accident to monitor the child for signs of serious injury.
A common injury from car accidents is whiplash, where the impact causes the neck to rapidly flex and extend. Complications include neck pain, abnormal burning or tingling, and damage to intervertebral joints, discs and nerve roots. Other possible spinal injuries include herniated disks and fractured vertebrae.
Sudden force to the chest, either from direct impact or sudden tightening of restraints can lead to chest injuries. Rib fractures might occur, especially for younger children with softer bones. Internal damage may involve bleeding and injury to the heart, lungs or airways.
The abdomen houses a large number of internal organs, including the liver, kidneys and intestines. Blunt force trauma to these parts can be life threatening. Possible harm ranges from mild bruising to severe internal bleeding. The force of the impact can also cause pelvic and rib fractures.
Injuries to Extremities
Any of the arm or leg bones may break during a car accident. Bracing against the crash can lead to hand, wrist or foot fractures. Collisions which force hard surfaces against a child’s legs is another cause of fractures. Children whose legs dangle from their car seats may be at increased risk of broken legs. Those who are thrown from the vehicle often suffer arm, femur, and fibula fractures.
What are Possible Long-Term Impacts?
While the accident itself may be brief, injuries and complications stemming from it can last for days, weeks or longer. Blows to the head, especially those which cause TBI, can have lasting impacts. Blurred vision, memory and concentration issues, hearing loss, and seizures may persist for years after the accident.
Lasting effects from whiplash injuries involve chronic pain. The pain may be located in the neck near the site of the whiplash. Injured facet joints in the neck or cervical discs may also induce headaches and aggravate migraines. Referred pain from the neck might appear in the arms or between the shoulder blades.
Damage to the peripheral nerves, or those outside the head and spine may also occur. Injured soft tissue might compress the nerves or fail to deliver enough blood to affected parts. Paresthesia – tingling, burning or numb sensations – can result.
Growth plates are a form of cartilage appearing at the ends of long bones. If a fracture runs through the growth plate as well as the bone, the child might deal with uneven limb growth. In collisions with significant trauma to the limbs, the limb could need to be amputated.
What Psychological Harm May Occur?
Experiencing a car accident is traumatic. If the child requires hospital care after the event, it can add to their psychological injuries. The child’s stress can make them withdrawn, agitated, detached from the world or other unusual behaviors. Psychological disorders which may arise from the accident include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD,) depression, anxiety, and phobias. Trauma might also have physical manifestations such as sleep disturbance, nausea, headaches, or other pain.
After a child is injured in a collision, their family will seek out the best possible medical and rehabilitation care. Parents or guardians may take time off of work to attend to their child. Medical fees can accumulate, and lost wages make payment difficult. Hiring a qualified attorney can assist your family with getting the compensation they deserve.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help assess the full amount of your child’s injuries, both physical and emotional. From there, they can advise how to build the case as well as determine who is liable and work tirelessly to get your child the compensation they deserve.
The East St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers of The Cates Law Firm, LLC Represent Auto Accident Victims and Their Families
If your child has been injured in a vehicle accident, do not hesitate to speak with the experienced East St. Louis car accident lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC. Our legal team will fight to ensure your child receives the compensation they are entitled to. For a free consultation, call us today at 618-277-3644 or fill out our online contact form. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we represent auto accident victims in East St. Louis, Belleville, St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, Waterloo, Chester, Carbondale, St. Clair County, Madison County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.