Being involved in a car accident is a profoundly traumatizing experience. You might feel numb to the event, and for the first few days, you may not even have fully processed what happened, especially if you sustained severe injuries.
If you become hospitalized after an auto accident, the chances are that you’ll undergo several high-risk surgeries. That means you will need to recover from the physical and emotional injuries from the accident and the pain associated with the surgeries.
This post offers a detailed overview of car accident injuries requiring hospitalization. Read on to learn more.
What Car Accident Injuries Require Hospitalization?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, eight people are hospitalized for every motor vehicle accident fatality. Another 99 people receive treatment and are released from the emergency room.
Based on this data, what are the most common car accident injuries that require hospitalization?
Fractures are the most common injuries that require hospitalization. According to the AHRQ, fractures account for over 52 percent of hospital stays. Leg fractures are the most prevalent in terms of hospitalization, but pelvic, spine, and arm fractures also top the list.
Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries are the most critical and costly car accident injuries that require hospitalization. Spinal cord injuries cost the highest, and have the highest death rate. 13 percent of hospitalized patients die from SCIs.
Similarly, around 10 percent of TBI victims don’t make it out of the hospital alive. Often, the swelling that occurs in the brain shuts down major body functions leading to death.
Let’s have a detailed look at the types of injuries that require hospitalization from car accidents.
Neck Injuries That Require Hospitalization
Your neck is a vulnerable and complex structure comprising seven tiny bones called the cervical vertebrae. In a car accident, your neck can suffer injuries ranging from minor whiplash to severe muscle or joint damage. Some neck injuries that require hospitalization are:
1. Neck Fracture
A fractured cervical spine is a severe injury that requires emergency care. You are said to have a neck fracture when any of your seven neck bones crack or break.
Depending on your cervical spine injury, you might stay in the ICU for five to seven days and up to 127 days of hospitalization after surgery.
2. Herniated Discs
Most people suffer from a herniated disk after a car accident. A herniated disk happens when the force of the crash pushes one of your vertebrae into your spinal cord.
Without treatment, a herniated disc can lead to pain, surgery, or paralysis. So, if you’re found to have suffered a herniated disk after a car accident, the chances are that you’ll be hospitalized.
The length of stay usually depends on how well you respond to treatment, but you can expect to be hospitalized for four to five days.
Back Injuries That Require Hospitalization
There are numerous back injuries from car accidents, most of which result from whiplash. Among the severe back injuries that require hospitalization are:
1. Herniated Discs
As earlier mentioned, herniated disks are a common injury from car accident. It affects not just the neck but any region along the spine.
Car accident victims are hospitalized for several days after sustaining herniated disks from car accidents.
2. Spinal Stenosis
The physical force of a car accident can cause the narrowing of spaces in the spine. When this happens, you are said to be suffering from spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis requires surgeries such as laminectomy to relieve the nerve pressure. So, you’d have to be hospitalized for the surgery and recovery.
A spinal fracture results when your lumbar or thoracic vertebrae break or crack. While minor spine fractures heal with rest and medication, severe cases require surgery to align the bones. If you undergo surgery, you’ll likely spend five or more days at the hospital.
You must know that back injury treatment and surgery are costly. For example, spinal fusions cost as much as $100,000. If you have medical insurance, it might cover part of your costs.
We Help Our Clients with Their Legal Needs by Connecting Them with Skilled Attorneys
If you don’t, the most appropriate course of action would be to file a personal injury claim with your car insurance company or the at-fault driver. So, look for an experienced car accident injury lawyer to help you understand your options.
Head Injuries That Require Hospitalization
There are different types of head injuries from car accidents. Here are a few that lead to hospitalization:
Concussions are the most frequent brain injuries in traumatic auto accidents. A total of 812,000 children below the age of 17 are brought to the emergency room for concussion or TBI every year.
Although concussions are mild and nonfatal, they can have you hospitalized overnight for observation.
Again, even if you’re discharged the same day, you should have someone to observe you for at least 24 hours to make sure the symptoms don’t worsen.
2. Open Head Injury
An open head injury is a form of TBI that occurs when the skull sustains cracks or fractures after hitting the glass, metal or other objects. All open head injuries are critical emergencies and need prompt medical treatment.
Since most TBIs require surgery to relieve pressure on the skull from the swelling brain, hospitalization is inevitable.
The average hospital stay for individuals with an open head injury is 6.8 days, but it can go up to months depending on your response to medication.
3. Diffuse Axonal Injuries
Diffuse axonal injuries occur when brain nerves stretch to the point of tearing because of a violent crash. While the nerves break apart, some chemical from the cells is released, which damages the cell.
Axonal injuries cause life-long brain damage and can even put you into a coma. So most often than not, these injuries will have you admitted to the hospital.
The average hospital stay for patients with diffuse axonal injuries is nine days, but some stay for up to 11 days.
Overall, a lot can happen if you’re hospitalized for head injuries after a car accident. The injuries could leave you with a permanent disability, or you could also lose your job if your recovery takes long.
If you have been hospitalized due to a car accident head injury, you should consider filing a personal injury claim. Taking legal action can help you recover the damages you’ve suffered.
Other Injuries That Require Hospitalization
Some of the other car accident injuries that may require hospitalization include:
1. Facial Injuries
Most people suffer cuts and lacerations on the face during car accidents. While some scrapes and bruises are not serious, others require maxillofacial surgery, significantly if the jaw is injured. In such cases, you’d be hospitalized for surgery and monitoring.
2. Chest Trauma
Most motorists, if not all, wear seatbelts when behind the wheel. But though it’s meant to protect you during a crash, a seat belt can cause chest bruises due to the impact of the forward push.
Broken ribs and collapsed lungs are so common in car accidents. These injuries heal within six weeks, and you might spend part of this time at the hospital.
3. Broken Bones
Broken bones are another car accident injury, and they include fractures in the feet and ankles. The damage usually requires surgery where screws or plates are fixed to repair the broken bone. Depending on the severity of your injury, you might need to stay in the hospital overnight or longer.
Serious car accident injuries that require hospitalization can cause you pain and suffering. These injuries also cause financial burden to individuals and families.
Fortunately, you can get compensation through a legal claim to help pay for the treatment and also cover such damages as job loss.