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Three serious injuries motorists are at risk for during car crashes

Common injuries that people are at risk for during car accidents include traumatic brain injuries, damage to the spinal cord and mental injuries.

In any given year, tens of thousands of people in Virginia are involved in auto accidents. Tragically, these incidents often result in injury to at least one involved party. In 2015, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, about half of the 125,800 crashes that occurred statewide left people injured. In many cases, these victims may face serious impairments that have significant physical consequences and financial costs.

1. Spinal cord damage

Every year, about 17,000 people in the U.S. suffer non-fatal spinal cord injuries, per the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. According to the most recent data available, car accidents are the top cause of these injuries, accounting for over one out of three cases.

Depending on its location and severity, a spinal cord injury may have serious effects, including loss of feeling, reduction or loss of mobility, muscle spasms and chronic pain. As a result, victims often require continued medical attention or are forced to make significant lifestyle changes. The average lifetime cost of a spinal cord injury can range from $1 million to over $4 million without even accounting for factors such as income loss, according to the NSCISC.

2. Traumatic brain injury

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that motor vehicle accidents rank among the three most common causes of traumatic brain injuries. In 2010, 2.2 million traumatic brain injuries were diagnosed in emergency rooms, while between 2006 and 2010, car accidents caused 14.3 percent of all TBIs. These figures suggest that over 300,000 TBIs may result from car accidents in a typical year. The effects of these injuries are unpredictable but may include:

· Physical setbacks. Victims may develop problems with balance, coordination or sensory processing.

· Emotional disturbances. These can include changes in personality, socially inappropriate behavior and mood disorders.

· Impaired cognitive function. Survivors of brain injuries may also experience issues with memory, reasoning and communication.

· Increased risk of brain disorders. Research shows that brain injuries can make a person more likely to develop disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, these injuries can cause epilepsy.

In some cases, rehabilitation may help a person recover physical and cognitive function after a TBI. However, according to the CDC, over four-tenths of people who are hospitalized after suffering a TBI still live with a related disability one year after the date of injury.

3. Psychological injuries

The survivors of more serious auto accidents may also experience mental injuries, such as anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs states that auto accidents are the most commonly experienced traumatic event for males and the second most commonly experienced traumatic event for females in the U.S. Studies estimate that about 9 percent of car accident survivors develop PTSD, and a significant proportion of these victims also suffer from anxiety, depression or phobias related to driving.

These mental injuries may produce varied symptoms, including insomnia, mood swings, reduced energy and loss of interest in regular activities. As a result, these injuries may adversely affect a person’s relationships, workplace performance and ability to handle everyday tasks.

Seeking fair recompense

In cases when another person’s negligence caused an accident, injury victims may be entitled to compensation for various losses, including their medical bills, reduced earning capacity, and pain and suffering. However, establishing fault in an accident and documenting the effects of a related injury can be difficult. Consequently, people who have suffered harm in car accidents should consider contacting Crandall & Katt, Attorneys at Law for help protecting their rights and navigating the claim process.