Motor vehicle accidents can lead to anything from a major traumatic brain injury to a minor laceration. Sometimes the effects of the incident are more emotional, such as anxiety or fear. One physical consequence you may not think to check for is an orthopedic injury.
An orthopedic injury is one that affects the skeletal system, meaning bones, ligaments and tendons. Auto accidents result in the following common wounds from this category:
Broken bones and fractures
The most obvious to recognize is a completely broken bone. However, smaller breaks and fractures may not be noticeable right away, and continuing to use unknowingly hurt body parts can cause irreversible damage. Watch out for swelling, difficulty with joint movement and continual pain, especially when you press on the area. It may be best to get an X-ray following a collision to be sure. Minor breaks may heal quickly and normally, but major ones may require surgery, or they may not recover at all.
You may associate soft-tissue injuries with just harm to the muscles, but they also include ligaments and tendons. For example, a strain is when the ligament partially tears. Other common examples are whiplash, which is a type of neck sprain, and lower back pain. Symptoms of these kinds of injuries include headaches (for whiplash), tingling sensations, tenderness in the area, stiffness of the joint and loss of range of motion.
As these injuries may not seem initially severe, you may mistakenly choose not to see a doctor after the car crash. However, the longer you wait to get a medical examination, the more you put yourself at risk for health problems. It is in your best interest to have a doctor check you for injuries so he or she can treat them right away. If you were not at fault for the accident, then you can pursue compensation from the responsible party's insurance provider for your resulting medical bills.