We often receive questions about different types of injuries and injury cases. Today, we’ll delve into some of the most common injuries and the most frequent origins of personal injury claims.
Different Types of Injuries
There are many ways someone can sustain an injury, and even two people involved in the same accident may end up with substantially different physical damage.
Below, we cover three of the most common types of injuries people sustain in accidents. You may be surprised to find that all of them can range from mild to severe—and you should also remember that even “mild” injuries can and do necessitate treatment. Prompt medical care is always the top priority.
You should never avoid getting treatment or legal help because of the degree of your injuries. Don’t simply try to “brush it off” and move on. If you have been hurt in an accident, it’s important to protect your rights and pursue justice. A qualified personal injury lawyer can help you with this process.
Soft-tissue injuries are any injuries that impact our soft tissue. We have soft tissue throughout our bodies. These tissues connect, support, and surround other structures (like organs and bones) to help us survive. Many different activities and accidents can cause a soft-tissue injury, and while some are considered “minor,” even those may leave lasting impacts on people’s health and wellbeing.
There are six classes of soft-tissue injury:
- Stress injuries
Bruises usually occur due to blunt force to soft tissue. Usually, someone with bruising will experience pain, swelling, and localized discoloration near the injury.
Sprains are partial tears to ligaments. Oftentimes, a twisting motion is enough to cause a sprain. The ankles, knees, and wrists are the most commonly sprained areas of the body.
Tendonitis refers to the inflammation of a tendon. Tendons connect muscles to bones. Most instances of tendonitis are due to overuse and repetitive motion.
Bursas are fluid-filled sacs. They create a cushion between bones and muscles (or tendons). When the bursa becomes inflamed, it is known as bursitis. Bursitis is similar to tendonitis in that most cases of bursitis are due to overuse. Direct trauma to a joint may also cause bursitis.
Stress fractures are small cracks in bones. They most commonly occur in weight-bearing bones (like those in the legs) due to constant use. Stress fractures do happen due to trauma, too, but more intense trauma generally correlates to larger and more severe breaks.
Strains are injuries that occur to muscles or tendons. Force and stretching can both cause strains. In some cases, a strain may tear a muscle and require surgical treatment.
Many people overlook the impact that damage to the mouth can have on your day-to-day life. Dental injuries are very common in many accidents, but they don’t always receive the compensation that they deserve.
Dental injuries are very common in auto accidents and slip and fall accidents. Children are at particular risk of dental injuries as they often fall straight onto their faces.
Examples of Dental Injuries
Many instances of head trauma qualify as dental injuries. For example:
- Chipped teeth
- Teeth knocked out (avulsed teeth)
- Dislodged teeth
- Root fractures
- Broken jaw
Many dental injuries prevent a victim from eating or talking properly. Not only can they take a serious toll on confidence and personal wellbeing, but they can actively harm your health.
Expensive Dental Injuries After an Accident
There’s something else about dental injuries you need to know: these injuries tend to be expensive to treat and repair. Many of these injuries require long-term care and treatment. In some cases, people may need customized equipment or specialized services just to use their mouths again. Most dental repair is very pricey; there are many costs associated with the process of treating dental injuries.
Brain injuries can take many different forms. Generally, they are segmented into four types:
- Concussions: Concussions occur when the brain is shaken in the head. A person does not need to be struck on the head to suffer a concussion.
- Contusions: Contusions are injuries that cause localized bleeding in the brain. Sometimes blood clots form at or near the contusion site. This can lead to death.
- Penetration injuries: Penetrative injuries occur when an object enters the skull or brain. These many cause long-term impacts and even death.
- Diffuse axonal injuries: These injuries are caused by severe shaking or rotational force and can cause tears in the brain that may lead to permanent brain damage.
Brain Injury Outcomes
The outcome of a brain injury is heavily dependent on a lot of factors. It’s almost impossible to predict how someone will (or won’t) heal from a brain injury. Different aspects of an injury change how it might impact a person over time.
- Has the person experienced a brain injury in the past?
- What is the person’s health like?
- How severe is the injury?
- How did the injury happen?
- What is the location of the injury?
- How long does it take to recover?
- Is there a good continuum of care? Does the survivor receive follow-up and rehabilitative care?
- What support and environment does the survivor have while they heal?
Electrocution, Burns, and Drowning
In some instances, an accident may lead to other kinds of injuries like electrocution or burns. Even drowning can occur in certain circumstances. These events are traumatic and can have a lasting impact on someone’s physical and mental wellbeing.
The extent of injuries like these helps inform the ideal treatment plan. If, for example, someone’s body is covered in burns, they will need to spend time in the hospital. Someone who experiences partial drowning or less severe burns may not be advised to stay in the hospital for long-term treatment.
The Three Most Common Types of Injury Cases
Auto Accident Injuries
The term “auto accident injuries” refers to a wide variety of potential injuries and accident circumstances. Many car accidents involve motorcycles, trucks, buses, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other parties. This often leaves the person (or people) in the smallest vehicle at the most risk, as they were the most vulnerable.
Lots of different things can cause an auto accident—and lots of different injuries can result. Distracted driving, driving under the influence, and unsafe road conditions are all risk factors for car accidents. Burns, broken bones, and traumatic brain injuries are very common after these crashes.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall injuries can occur on private or public property. Usually, cases are more successful if the property was unexpectedly or unreasonably dangerous.
Slip and fall injuries can happen anywhere. They are especially common in parking lots, restaurants, grocery stores, and other commercial buildings. Dangerous conditions present on a property like this can cause an injury.
Some examples include:
- Slippery walkways
- Defective public sidewalks (elevated lips, dangerous curbs, potholes, etc.)
- Spilled liquids in stores
Wrongful death claims concern the death of someone due to another person’s negligence or recklessness.
If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s recklessness or negligence, you may be eligible to work with an attorney to bring a wrongful death case on their behalf. Wrongful death cases allow living family members to pursue justice for their deceased loved ones after fatal accidents and injuries.
Protecting Your Recovery After An Injury
See a Doctor
The most important step you can take to protect your health after an injury is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. In many cases, this may involve emergency medical help or time spent in the hospital. There are numerous circumstances when this is not the case, though.
You should visit a doctor if you’re injured—even if you didn’t receive help on-scene or afterward in a hospital.
Additionally, it’s important to note that you should also visit your primary care physician after an injury—even if you were treated on-scene or in a hospital. This will help keep your doctor up-to-date on your condition. It will also allow your doctor to examine you for delayed signs of injury.
You should also pursue additional treatment if it is suggested to you. Not only will this benefit your physical wellbeing, but it will also benefit any potential legal case you decide to bring in the future. Timely and appropriate treatment generally translates to higher case values and easier cases, because the complete extent of injuries is better understood.
From the accident itself to your medical care, try to keep detailed records of everything related to your injuries. Take pictures, save forms, and collect other evidence that helps show what happened to you and what you did afterward. This will help paint a clear picture of the accident and your injuries.
Be Cautious of Insurance Companies
Insurance adjusters will likely try to contact you to push a settlement after you’ve been injured. While a swift resolution and money in your pocket may sound nice, remember: their goal is to pay you as little as possible for your accident.
You don’t need to be rude to insurance agents, but you shouldn’t agree to everything they offer either. We recommend partnering with an attorney who can help you understand your rights (and your true case value) before you speak to anyone from an insurance company.
Recovering Damages After an Injury
One of the most common questions that people have about any type of injury or accident involves compensation after the event. Nobody can tell you which damages you will receive with certainty, but several damages are standard in these cases.
Someone who has experienced an injury due to another person’s negligence or recklessness may recover compensation for damages such as:
- Medical bills: Past, current, and even projected medical bills may all be eligible for compensation.
- Lost wages: Many injuries cause people to miss time from work. If someone loses wages after an accident, they may pursue damages for lost wages.
- Diminished earning potential: Sometimes lost wages only begin to cover the toll of an injury. If someone’s ability to earn money is permanently diminished because of their injuries, they could be eligible for specific compensation to account for lost earning potential.
- Pain and suffering: There are plenty of different injuries that are likely to cause pain and suffering; pain and suffering damages are meant to help account for some of the physical experience of getting hurt.
- Mental anguish: Mental anguish damages are similar to pain and suffering damages; this form of compensation is intended to help offset the emotional and mental impact that an injury may have.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: Your injuries may prevent you from doing activities you once enjoyed. Nobody deserves to lose their enjoyment of life due to an injury, but when it happens, there are specific damages that may be available to help account for this.
- Scarring, disfigurement: Some injuries cause scarring or disfigurement; there is additional compensation that may be available to you if you have suffered either of these after your accident.
- Disability: Traumatic injuries can and do lead to disability. If you have been disabled by an injury (or injuries), you can work to pursue damages to help offset the costs and the emotional impact of the disability.
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.