Common injuries that cause death in car accidents include traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, broken ribs, or spinal cord injuries. These types of damages typically occur due to head-on collisions, driver- or passenger-side impacts, or rollovers caused by driver negligence or reckless behavior.
If you lost a loved one in a car accident and someone else was at fault, your family is entitled to compensation for your losses. A car accident lawyer can help you establish who was at fault and how the accident led to the death of your loved one.
What Are Common Injuries in a Car Accident?
Auto manufacturers build vehicles with durable, rigid parts designed to keep you safe in a crash. For instance, your car’s steel frame and laminated glass windshield are fabricated to safeguard you and your passengers by providing vehicle integrity in a collision.
Unfortunately, components that keep you safe in one instance can cause injury in another. A person’s fragile tissues, organs, and bones can be lacerated, punctured, or shattered when impacted by the metal and glass of an automobile.
Car accident injuries commonly fall into one of two categories:
- Impact injuries: A part of the injured person’s body strikes a stationary object or is hit by a moving object. For example, a head-on collision can result in a head injury due to impact with the steering wheel or a rapidly expanding airbag.
- Penetrating injuries: An object pierces the wounded individual’s skin, creating lacerations or other open wounds. For example, shattered glass from the car’s window could penetrate a person’s skin or even lodge into a muscle or cause eye damage.
Typical Injuries that Lead to Fatality in a Car Accident
When a car accident occurs at high speeds or involves a pedestrian, fatalities are a real possibility. In addition, the degree of damage to a victim’s body can be significant in these situations, with injuries that go far beyond surface cuts or bruises.
Some of the most common injuries that lead to a car accident fatality include:
A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be caused by a blow to the head or penetration through the skull into the brain tissue. As a result, torn tissues, bruising, and bleeding can happen. In severe cases, TBIs can lead to life-long complications and possibly death.
Mild cases of TBI may result in a decline in mental state or unconsciousness. Severe cases result in long periods of unconsciousness, coma, or fatality.
A Spinal Cord Injury
A sudden impact from another vehicle or object can jar the body, leading to a spinal cord injury. There may be significant damage to the spinal cord or nerve endings.
According to the Mayo Clinic, spinal cord injury symptoms include loss of movement, difficulty breathing, and coughing. Spinal cord damage can also lead to paralysis or limited body function. A total severing of the spinal cord can also lead to death.
Internal Injuries and Bleeding
Victims may not know about their internal injuries until they arrive at a hospital emergency room. At that point, a doctor can examine the patient to diagnose the damage and attempt to stop the bleeding. However, internal bleeding can happen quickly, leading to an unexpected fatality before medical treatment is available.
Broken bones can cause death if bone fragments puncture an organ. For instance, fractured ribs can pierce the lungs, heart, intestines, liver, or other vital organs.
Like other internal wounds, locating and identifying the injury can be complicated. Therefore, a patient may not receive adequate treatment for their injuries.
Vehicle Collisions that Can Cause Life-Threatening Injuries
Any car crash can be deadly, especially if it involves a vehicle or vehicles that are traveling at high speeds. However, certain collisions tend to be more likely to end with a fatality. These include:
- Head-on collisions: When two cars traveling in opposite directions run directly into each other, the force of the impact is multiplied. Head-on crashes are often caused by distracted drivers that drift over the centerline, and they can be fatal even at moderate speeds.
- Rollover accidents: When drivers overcorrect or attempt to swerve around another vehicle or object, they run the risk of losing control and rolling their vehicle over. This is because occupants are subject to rapidly shifting forces coming from multiple directions, and there is also a danger that the car’s roof could collapse and cause head and spine injuries.
- Accidents involving a pedestrian: When in another vehicle, a victim has a better chance of walking away from an accident. However, when struck by a car, a pedestrian is at risk for substantial, life-threatening internal injuries or other trauma.
- T-bone: When a driver ignores traffic lights or stop signs, they may run at a perpendicular angle into the side of another vehicle. Also known as a T-bone accident, this type of collision is especially hazardous for the driver or passengers sitting on the impacted side of the car.
What to Do After a Loved One Is in a Fatal Auto Accident
When a loved one is involved in a fatal car accident, it can traumatize you and your entire family. Consequently, you may not know the steps to take or the legal options available to you.
Seek Treatment Right Away
Following an accident, seeking emergency medical treatment for the victim should be the primary concern for anyone nearby. A fatality can transpire any time after the impact. Calling 911 and acquiring urgent medical care could save the victim’s life.
Even if the victim believes they’re okay, you should still encourage them to be examined by a licensed physician. This is because specific injuries, including a TBI, can lead to death several days after the accident.
Keep Careful Records of All Accident-Related Expenses
You may incur a wide range of expenses or financial losses from the accident, including:
- Medical treatment
- Hospital bills
- Vehicle or other property damage
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of household income
Obtain all related documents and keep meticulous records of your expenses. Then, your attorney can use these documents as evidence when establishing fault and liability.
Connect with a Car Accident Lawyer
Before you speak with the insurance company, you may want to consult a car accident lawyer. An attorney can discuss your case, answer your questions, and give you valuable advice on moving forward with your wrongful death claim.
Once you hire an attorney, they can manage your case, allowing you and your family to grieve during this difficult time. A lawyer can also help with your lawsuit by:
- Investigating the accident to ascertain the facts
- Identifying who is at fault for the accident
- Estimating the actual value of your claim
- Formulating a legal strategy to help you win your case
- Negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company
- Representing you in court if you decide to file a lawsuit
No amount of money can replace your loved one; however, your family should never have to pay for the negligent actions of another person. A car accident lawyer by your side can defend your rights and fight to earn you the compensation you’re entitled to.
Get Experienced Legal Help from a Car Accident Attorney at Morelli Law Firm
Morelli Law Firm is dedicated to ensuring justice is served and that auto accident victims recover their losses.
We are committed to you and your family and will do everything we can to help you during this challenging time. Call (212) 751-9800 to get a free case assessment with a member of our team.