Common Head and Neck Auto Accident Injuries

Auto accidents can be traumatic even if there are only minor or few noticeable injuries. It is pretty clear to auto accident victims who have serious injuries or whose loved ones are killed in accidents that they should consult an attorney. But even minor injuries entitle a victim to compensation.

An experiencedpersonal injury attorney can help victims through the personal injury claims process. The Law Office of Shane Smith will make sure that documentation from a victim's medical examinations is included in the claim.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), pedestrian accidents account for 11 percent of all fatalities involving motor vehicles. The NHTSA reports that a pedestrian is killed approximately every 100 minutes. Metropolitan areas account for nearly 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities; this is due to the confluence of vehicles and pedestrians. Rural areas account for more serious injuries, including broken bones, spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries and internal organ damage. Over 150,000 people go to emergency rooms after injuring their hands in car doors. Yet these are minor injuries compared to those sustained in auto accidents.

The head, neck and back are most commonly injured in auto accidents. Other common injuries are sustained to internal organs, legs and arms.

Head and Neck Injuries

Traumatic Brain Injury

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or CT scan (Computed Tomography) may be used to diagnose traumatic brain injury (TBI). Post-concussion syndrome, a mild TBI caused by an impact to the head, may not be identified without expert medical attention following an accident. Headaches and dizziness, the most common post-concussion syndrome symptoms, may not develop for up to 10 days after an automobile accident, slip and fall or jostling accident. The victim's symptoms will often disappear within a few months but it is possible for discomfort or cognitive effects to be felt for over a year. In severe post-concussion syndrome diagnoses a victim had mild to severe headaches, attention deficit problems, behavioral changes and short- and long-term memory loss.

A concussion is a head injury that alters the way the brain functions. Loss of consciousness may or may not result from a concussion or TBI. The symptoms associated with a concussion are known as post-concussion syndrome. These have been categorized as physical, psychological/behavioral and cognitive symptoms.

Physical symptoms

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Vision problems (including light sensitivity and double-vision)
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Nausea
  • Sleep apnea

Psychological/behavioral symptoms

  • Altered personality
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Aggressiveness
  • Increased anger
  • Varying mood shifts
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Impulsiveness
  • Lack of emotion

Cognitive symptoms

  • Short- and long-term memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Attention deficits
  • Impaired judgment
  • Linguistic difficulties
  • Problem-solving difficulties


A CT scan or an MRI may be used to diagnose whiplash. Whiplash affects the neck's soft tissues of the neck and is commonly sustained in rear-end auto accidents. The term originated in 1928 and describes the hyperextension of the head and neck. The neck muscles naturally contract while the head snaps back. This often damages muscles, discs, nerves and ligaments in the neck.

Whiplash symptoms may not be felt for 24 hours or more. Later symptoms can include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Hand or arm numbness
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Short- and long-term memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Attention deficits
  • Sleep apnea

There is no standard medical treatment for whiplash injuries. Physicians previously recommended that victims wear a cervical collar to immobilize the neck. Physicians now often recommend slow neck exercises. Pain relievers, physical therapy and rehabilitation can have limited success as treatment options.

Other Injuries

  • Internal organs (spleen, ribs, appendix, kidney, lungs, heart, etc.)
  • Arms, hands and fingers
  • Legs, knees, hips, ankles and feet

An experienced personal injury attorney will recommend a thorough medical examination to diagnose an auto accident victim's injuries. Call Shane Smith Law at (980) 246-2656 to schedule a free legal consultation.

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