The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration estimates vehicle crashes caused 2.74 injuries in 2019. A New Jersey resident may experience several types of injuries, depending on speed and site of impact.
Soft tissue injuries
A sprain damages the ligaments, or the bands of tissue that join bones together, commonly occurring in the wrists, ankles or knees. A strain is a soft tissue injury that stretches the muscles and tendons out of their normal range.
Whiplash is a common sprain injury that jerks the neck back and forth, commonly causing neck pain, dizziness, headaches and muscle spasms. The force of motor vehicle accidents may also cause a contusion, or bruising, which commonly discolors the skin from blood vessel damage.
Traumatic brain injuries
A traumatic brain injury occurs when the head hits a hard surface, such as the dashboard of the vehicle. A TBI is rated mild, moderate, or severe, based on the symptoms, loss of consciousness, and evaluation of motor skills.
Concussions are commonly mild TBIs, which may cause headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea or vomiting and balance issues, with or without losing consciousness. Moderate to severe TBIs often cause long periods of awareness loss, comas, seizures, and issues with behavior and cognitive function.
Since the spine is part of the central nervous system that controls movement, an injury to it can cause permanent damage. A common spinal injury is a herniated disk, which causes damage to the fluid-filled sacs between the vertebrae.
Common symptoms of herniated disks include overactive reflexes, pain worsening with certain movements, muscles weakness, numbness and sciatica pain. Spondylolisthesis is a common lower back injury after auto crashes, causing one vertebra to drop onto the bone underneath it.
Injured parties should seek immediate medical attention because injury symptoms could stay dormant for several days. However, New Jersey is a no-fault state, which means drivers use their own insurance to the limits. In some cases, the injured party could seek damages from at-fualt drivers outside of no-fault limits.