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paramedics applying an oxygen mask to a child in a stretcher at an accident scene

When you get behind the wheel, a car crash is often the last thing on your mind. It’s easy to get lulled into a sense of safety while navigating roads, but North Carolina car accidents are unfortunately typical. Last year, nearly 1,800 people were injured in North Carolina car crashes. In some cases, drivers and passengers are lucky to escape with minor scrapes and bruises. In other instances, the injuries are serious and require comprehensive medical treatment. Regardless of the severity of an injury, you should contact a North Carolina car accident lawyer after a crash. It’s common to feel pain weeks after an accident — you may not realize the extent of your injuries until adrenaline and shock wear off. Attorneys will do the hard work so you can focus on healing. An attorney will gather evidence to help your case, communicate with your insurance company, and push for you to receive a fair settlement. 

No two car crashes are the same. Whether you’re injured depends on factors like vehicle speed, how many vehicles were involved, the size of the other cars, and whether you were wearing a seatbelt. In many cases, walking away unharmed comes down to sheer luck. There are common injuries that car accidents cause, and some injuries can be catastrophic and life altering. Knowing what symptoms to look out for can help you monitor your health in the aftermath of an accident. 

Head & Brain Injuries 

Car accidents are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury in the U.S. It’s not unusual to suffer blows to the head during a collision, which can easily cause brain injury. Concussions are common after crashes, and the majority of people recover quickly. If a concussion goes untreated, the risk of developing more concussions down the road increases. Concussion symptoms are easily confused with other conditions, so it’s essential to be examined by a doctor after a car accident. Someone with a concussion might complain of headaches or say light and noise bother them. They might feel nauseous, have a hard time concentrating, or say they feel sluggish. If you have these symptoms after a car accident, you should seek medical help. 

The skull bone is difficult to break but can be injured with enough force. Skull fractures are also common after car crashes. These injuries range in seriousness. Linear skull fractures are the mildest and can be treated with pain medication and observation in the hospital. In contrast, basilar skull fractures happen when the bones at the base of the skull break and are often more serious. A person with this injury might need surgery to fully recover. 

Neck Injuries

Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when the neck moves back and forth forcefully, like a hit from a whip. It frequently occurs after rear-end collisions and leads to neck and shoulder pain. Whiplash also causes symptoms like dizziness, headaches, and muscle spasms. Most people who get whiplash after a crash will feel better with medication, but it can cause permanent injuries. 

Car accidents can also cause disk herniation, which occurs when a spinal disk leaks or tears. A herniated disk can be excruciatingly painful and cause numbness and tingling. After a car accident, someone with a herniated neck disk might need physical therapy or spine surgery to recover fully. Neck injuries can cause lifelong chronic pain and leave sufferers desperate for help.

Broken Bones, Strains, and Bruising

Drivers and passengers who aren’t wearing seat belts are especially prone to broken bones, but even people who are properly restrained during an accident can get their bones broken. Pelvic and leg bones are frequently injured during the impact of an accident. Airbags prevent injury, but they deploy at high speed. They’re known to break ribs and collarbones. The recovery time from a broken bone will vary. Sometimes, a patient returns to normal after a few weeks in a cast. Other times, the bone never heals correctly.

Strains and bruising are the most common minor car accident injuries. In some cases, the injuries will heal without medical intervention. Other times, you’ll need to see a doctor. Accidents can cause hematomas, which can be confused with a bruise but involves larger blood vessels. A severe bruise that doesn’t improve can also be a sign of internal bleeding. If you are concerned about a bruise after a car accident, it’s essential to seek medical help. 

A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. If you’ve ever felt like you pulled a muscle, you were likely experiencing muscle strain. Your body might be pulled or twisted in unnatural ways after the initial impact of a car accident, and your muscles can be injured. Mild muscle strain will heal quickly, but a patient might need surgery to repair the damaged muscle in the most severe cases.


A car crash can cause problems that create ideal conditions for a fire to spark. Spilled oil or fluids, exhaust system damage and blown fuses can all cause car fires. If you smell smoke after a car crash, it’s best to turn off your car and get out of it as quickly as possible. Burn injuries can be deadly, and a car fire can quickly kill all of a vehicle’s occupants. If you’re lucky enough to survive a car accident blaze, you’ll be taken to a hospital and treated by medical staff. Burn treatment can be complex, and patients are at higher risk for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

You need to know your rights if you are injured in a North Carolina car accident. Insurance companies often try to get you to accept a settlement offer that won’t fairly compensate you for your losses and injuries. In addition to stopping you from agreeing to a lowball settlement offer, there are many other reasons to hire a North Carolina car accident attorney. We know how the system works and can get you the highest settlement possible while you focus on recovery. Call the Whitley Law Firm at 800-785-5000 for more information or request a free case evaluation online. 

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