If you’re able to walk or drive away unharmed from an auto collision due to the negligence of another driver, consider yourself lucky. Nearly 270,000 people in Texas were injured in car wrecks in 2016 alone. The types and severity of injuries are varied, and if you are injured in a motor vehicle collision of any type, there are several steps to take to ensure you are protected both physically and financially. Bodily harm can vary significantly regardless of the severity of the impact. Many injuries are obvious immediately, while others are not and can take days or weeks to become noticeable. If you have been injured, be mindful of your pain, document everything, and call a personal injury lawyer.
Seek medical care as soon as possible after the incident. “This is important for your health, and to protect your legal rights,” says Gene Burkett, partner with Frenkel & Frenkel. “Stay in tune with how your body reacts and alert your doctor if you begin to notice new pain or symptoms that become more prominent. Many family doctors will not see you if you’ve been involved in a wreck, but an attorney can usually refer you to a doctor with no out of pocket cost.”
Whiplash is the most common type of injury sustained in an auto collision. Whiplash injuries are complicated due to an unpredictable combination of factors relating to the spinal cord, nervous system, muscle joints, and connective tissue. As a result, there are many different injuries that could affect a person who has suffered a whiplash injury. According to the US National Library of Medicine, whiplash affects up to 83 percent of patients involved in auto collisions and is a common cause of chronic disability. Other types of neck and back injuries that can occur are back sprains, disc injuries, thoracic spine injuries, lumbar spine injuries, lumbar radiculopathy, and cervical radiculopathy.
Brain and head injuries are also common injuries related to automobile collisions. These can consist of concussions or other traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that can include skull fractures and internal bleeding, external lacerations that can require plastic surgery. Even when there are not any noticeable signs of damage, such as bleeding or bruising, the brain can still have suffered injury. These can sometimes heal on their own after some rest, or they may even be severe enough to impair vital functions, including vision or concentration. New studies are showing that even a mild TBI can have a significant and lasting impact on the recipient’s life. Even a single concussion can cause problems for years.
Facial injuries also happen frequently as the result of vehicle crashes. These can be caused by a variety of factors including the airbag, steering wheel, dashboard, the side window, or even shattered glass. The types of injuries that they can inflict include lacerations, facial fractures, dental injuries, jaw disorders, vision loss, and loss of hearing.
The type of crash you’re involved in can result in specific injuries. According to Frenkel & Frenkel, the primary types of crashes that need insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits include the following:
- Head-on collisions. It shouldn’t be surprising that head-on collisions are serious and often deadly. Head and brain injuries, back and spinal cord, loss of limbs and deep cuts, whiplash, and injuries to soft tissue are common injuries.
- Rear-end car wrecks. Whiplash is the most prominent. Concussions also are frequent. Neck and back injuries, including disc damage, are commonplace as well as soft tissue injuries.
- Side-impact crashes. Injuries sustained in a side-impact crash could include brain, head, neck, back, chest, abdominal, rotator cuff, and meniscus tears, and soft tissue injuries.
- SUV rollover accidents. Due to the higher center of gravity for these larger vehicles, rolling, them can result in injuries such as head, spinal cord, and soft-tissue injuries as well as broken bones. In the worst scenario, passengers are sometimes ejected in rollover accidents.
- Truck and commercial vehicle wrecks. A commercial vehicle’s size and weight alone can cause catastrophic impact resulting in head wounds, spinal cord injury, and broken bones. In some cases, there is vulnerability to chemicals due to vehicle transmissions or cargo on board.
- If you or a loved one are involved in an automobile crash, Frenkel & Frenkel suggests taking the following steps, then seek the counsel of an experienced, reputable personal injury lawyer who can help you with your case.
- See your doctor as soon as possible, tell them about all injuries, and follow his or her orders.
- Stay in touch with your doctor regularly to maintain appointments. If you must cancel, notify your doctor with as much notice as possible. The words “no show” on a doctor’s record sheet can be used against you at the time of a settlement or trial.
- Attend physical therapy sessions as prescribed to facilitate recovery from your injury and participate actively in the process. Physical therapy is helpful in many types of injuries including strains, sprains, and other soft-tissue injuries.
- Follow your doctor’s orders on medications, physical therapy, exercises, or limitations of activities. Failure to follow your doctor’s advice can be used against you when it’s time to settle or litigate your case.
- Keep accurate records of time missed from work due to your accident.
If you’ve been injured in a car, truck, or motorcycle wreck, you likely have hospital bills, lost wages and a host of financial losses. Mark Frenkel, Scott Frenkel, and Gene Burkett have first-hand experience with the insurance industry and more than 20 years of experience defending their clients against big insurance companies. They have handled thousands of car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian/bicycle, and commercial vehicle cases and have access to experienced investigators, reconstructionists, and medical experts. They also work with economists and life care planners to help determine the cost of injuries today and into the future. The attorneys at Frenkel & Frenkel handle all types of motor vehicle collision caused injuries — whether caused by drunken drivers, truck driver fatigue, auto defects — on a contingency basis. This means clients don’t pay attorney fees unless they get compensation, either through a settlement or verdict at trial.