Car accidents are shockingly common. Last year there were 82,000 car accidents across Washington State. That means about nine times per hour, someone’s commute becomes potentially dangerous.
The only way to plan for the unthinkable is to learn the common causes of auto accidents and the common injuries they produce. With this information, you have the best chance of either avoiding an accident or at least caring for yourself correctly afterward. In this article, we’ll examine the most frequent causes of auto accidents in Washington, as well as the injuries your body may sustain.
What Causes Car Accidents?
Unfortunately, the underlying causes of car accidents are the same every year. There are three main behaviors exhibited by drivers that contribute the most to accidents. Those behaviors are:
- Drunk or Impaired Driving: This is still the most common cause of auto accidents in Washington State. A blood alcohol content of 0.08% is the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle. Since Washington legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood has become the standard for judging impairment. Anything above these numbers dramatically increases your chances of having an accident.
- Speeding: Drivers who habitually drive faster than the speed limit or road conditions dictate cause the second-most amount of accidents behind drunk drivers.
- Distracted Drivers: Drivers who text, talk on the phone, or eat while driving makes up the next statistic of preventable car accidents.
Drivers who participate in these illegal actions open themselves up to harsh criminal penalties and civil suits. Worse, they invite the possibility of injury and death on themselves and their victims. The easiest way to avoid an accident is to avoid these three behaviors.
What Are Common Injuries Associated With Auto Accidents?
After an auto accident, your health should be your number one priority. Many people forgo medical treatment after an accident because they do not feel injured at the moment. This is always a mistake. Many of the typical car accident injuries discussed below do not immediately show symptoms, and when they do, the pain is often masked by the adrenaline coursing through their veins. Injuries can go unnoticed for several days and can even become life-threatening if not treated properly. Always seek medical attention after a car accident to be safe. Here are the most common injuries:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The brain is a delicate organ. A crash at even a low speed can cause the brain to damage itself against the inside of your skull. Concussions are one of the most common injuries associated with auto accidents. A concussion happens when a blow to the head causes the brain to shake violently. This injury is particularly scary because the effects are not always felt immediately. Other brain injuries include contusions (bruising of the brain), diffuse axonal injuries (shearing of brain structures), and coup-contrecoup injuries (damage to two sides of the brain from blunt force trauma).
Spinal Cord Injuries
Another extremely common injury associated with auto accidents is those involving the spine. Spinal injuries are separated into the categories “complete” and “incomplete.” Incomplete injuries include:
- Anterior Cord Syndrome: where the front of the spine is injured, resulting in a loss of sensation in pain, touch, and temperature.
- Central Cord Syndrome: where the center of the cord is injured, resulting in often permanent loss of arm movement.
- Posterior Cord Syndrome: where the back of the spine is injured, resulting in a loss of coordination.
As frightening as these injuries are, they’re no match for the list of complete spinal cord injuries. This short list contains only two possible outcomes:
- Complete Paraplegia: loss of all feeling and movement below the waist
- Complete Quadriplegia: loss of all feeling a movement below the neck. Quadriplegic patients often need assistance to breathe.
An injury to the brain or spine can be immediately life-altering, but so can many other “less severe” auto accident injuries. The most common ones are:
- Lacerations: Scrapes and cuts can come from all angles during a crash. Sharp metal, glass, and any objects you are traveling with can quickly become a projectile.
- Muscular and Soft Tissue Injuries: This includes bruises, whiplash, lumbar injuries, and herniated or bulging discs in the back. During a crash, your body is whipped around in uncomfortable ways that, on their own, can cause injury. The injuries are compounded, however, when your body is whipped into the window or steering column.
- Broken Bones: Smashing into your car’s interior at incredible speeds can take a severe toll on all of your bones. The most common ones broken are those of the arms and hands as your body naturally tries to shield your face.
If you have been injured in a car accident, call the personal injury specialists at NBF Accident Law. We can make sure you get the help you need to pay for your medical bills. Call today at (206) 923-8888.