We often talk about the way a vehicle’s structure is changed during an accident, but we rarely think in terms of the ways our bodies respond to a collision. Apart from injuries, the body paves the way for us to survive by releasing hormones that elevate our mood and heighten our physical response. Let’s take a look at what happens inside our bodies when we are faced with the ultimate enemies – injury and death.
What Happens to Your Body After an Auto Collision?
As a car accident lawyer, David Azizi has spent 23 years studying what happens during an accident. The effects of an impact on the vehicle as well as the occupants provide important information about the damage that occurs during a crash. In fact, when calculating how much a car accident requires in compensation, David relies on this information to ensure that his clients obtain the level of recovery they deserve.
David and his team work tirelessly from the first encounter with clients to handle the many aspects of an automotive accident. Whether it is talking to insurers or visiting the site to determine negligence or reviewing medical records and working with forensic experts, they lift the burden from the client, whose main job is getting better.
If you have an accident, simply call 800-991-5292 to set up a free, no-obligation consult. David will review the accident data, provide you with your options, answer your questions and tell you how much he believes your case is worth. To get an idea before the consult, David developed an online calculator. Just enter your data and submit it. David will use this information to help determine damages.
Total Body Dynamics During a Crash
In the 200 or so milliseconds, depending on speed, it takes to crash into another vehicle or a solid object, the body undergoes some dramatic changes. Prior to impact, the body is moving at the same speed as the vehicle. After impact, the vehicle suddenly stops, but the body continues to move at the same speed it was before. If that momentum is not reduced, injury and death can occur.
The Adrenaline Rush
Our body takes steps to prepare us for the traumatic event. In a holdover from our early days on this planet when eating meant hunting, the fight or flight hormone adrenaline is still used by the human body to respond to danger. Some physical changes that we experience during this release are:
- Lessened or no pain
- Increased oxygen due to dilation of air passages and blood vessels
- Increased muscle strength after blood supply to the muscles is increased
- Decreased peripheral vision (tunnel vision) that keeps your eyes focused on what is directly ahead
- Forward-directed hearing that mutes other sounds around you
Release of Endorphins
Just as adrenaline is released, so are endorphins. It is the release of endorphins that cause so many accident victims to appear calm and in total control after an accident. These neurotransmission chemicals are released to block pain and to adjust our mood. Along with adrenaline, the body uses endorphins to be able to react to pain and stress the best way it can.
Seat Belts Can Save the day
One law of physics tells us that a moving object will continue in motion until it is stopped. This is true in a car crash. When you are traveling down the highway at 70 mph, your body is moving at the same speed as the vehicle you are in. When the vehicle crashes into another solid object, such as a tree or another vehicle, it will come to rest. However, out body will continue to move, crashing into an object on the inside of the vehicle.
On the other hand, if you are wearing your seat belt correctly, your body will stop its forward momentum as the car does. This happens because the use of a seat belt literally makes you one with the vehicle. This prevents you from striking your head or other parts of your body with a force equal to 70 mph. However, if other occupants of the vehicle are not wearing seat belts, you have the potential to be hit by them as they are thrown about the car’s cabin.
Seat Belts Have Their Limitations
It is vitally important that your seat belt is worn correctly. If not, its ability to save your life is dramatically reduced. In fact, it can cause internal injuries or have the potential to do damage to your neck. As with air bags, the seat belt fit is dependent on the height of the individual.
Neck and Spine Pain After an Accident
When the vehicle is jolted from behind, your neck initially is thrown backward with the same force as the impact and then recoils in a forward direction. This backward/forward movement stretches the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the neck beyond their limits and can cause significant damage and whiplash. In addition, the discs between the vertebrae can also be traumatized and break down. This can result in disc herniation.
One-minute Video of How Whiplash Occurs In Auto Collisions
Head Restraints Keep the Head From Moving Backward
Head restraints are useful in preventing the backward momentum of the head. However, head restraints must also be adjusted to the person’s height. If they are not adjusted, they will be useless and might cause additional head and neck injuries.
Depending on the speed of the vehicle and whether you and other occupants are wearing their seat belts, the force of impact can propel your head into any number of objects. These include the dash, doors, windshield and steering wheel as well as other occupants flailing around the cabin. A complication here is when speed overwhelms the time it takes for air bags to deploy. Head trauma comprises a host of different injuries from concussion to blood clots.
Impact of a Crash on the Chest
Your collarbone is probably one of the first injuries to the upper torso. The seat belt lies directly across the collarbone, which is a relatively fragile bone without a lot of protective padding. If you are the driver, the left collarbone may snap and if you are sitting in the passenger seat, it is the right collarbone that will break.
Due to the force of impact against the body restraints, ribs are more than likely going to be broken in a high-speed crash. As more ribs are broken, the chance that additional ones will be fractured is high. Once enough ribs are fractured, the integrity of this protective armor overlying the lungs is weakened. This can lead to pneumothorax, which is a collection of air between the lungs and the chest wall. When this happens, a lung can collapse, drastically reducing breathing capacity.
In a crash, the heart is also propelled forward at the speed of the vehicle and can hit the ribs and chest wall. This can cause bruising to the heart, which can have dire consequences. The large blood vessel that carries blood to the rest of the body, the aorta, can be torn and cause instant death if the tear is large enough. With the amount of blood in the aorta, even a small tear can cause a significant amount of blood loss.
In a collision, the contents of the abdomen, including the stomach, spleen and intestines, will continue to hurl forward at the speed the vehicle was going prior to the crash until they reach the abdominal wall. By impacting with the abdominal wall as well as the tension of the seat belts on the abdomen, the organs can be bruised or rupture.
Due to this, organs such as the stomach or intestines may release strong gastric acid or waste products into the body cavity. Waste products can cause sepsis, an often-life-threatening condition. Bruising can also cause a slow loss of blood. When this happens, the individual may start to feel faint or experience low blood pressure after the accident. Without medical attention, this is a common cause of death.
Limbs Are Often Battered
Your arms and legs are literally unprotected. Just as with other parts of your body, they will continue to move at the same speed the vehicle was traveling until impact. Usually impact involves hitting the dash or door. Injuries range from bruises, abrasions, lacerations and fractures.
The Pelvis Can Be Fractured
One of the worst injuries you can suffer is a pelvic or femur (upper leg) fracture. Both can require extensive surgery to be repaired and long periods of rehabilitation. In some cases, hip replacement surgery may be necessary.
Air bags are divided into frontal air bags and side air bags. When they deploy as expected, they prevent body trauma and serious injury. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that in the interval between 2008 and 1987, 25,000 lives were saved. The expansion of an air bag is quick and violent. For instance, a side air bag expands at 200 mph within 20 to 30 milliseconds.
Air bags can also inflict injury in several ways. If the vehicle’s occupant is too small, such as small adults and children, the body cannot endure the force of the impact. Other problems exist. When an air bag deploys, dust and chemicals are released. If a person is asthmatic, this release can throw them into a severe attack. Holding an object such as a cup or cell phone when inflation occurs can cause injury also as the bag traps the object against the face or head. Some air bags are defective, such as the Takata air bags, and can cause significant injury and death.
Medical Bill Recovery For Injuries After a Car Accident
When you are in a vehicular crash, your body can suffer significant injury. This may require hospitalization, resulting in medical bills and loss of time from work. You deserve the assistance of a seasoned legal advocate who can make sure that you receive compensation for the financial damages you experience. David Azizi has been named one of the top personal injury attorneys in Los Angeles by Expertise.com because he uses a mix of legal knowledge and diligence to get the job done. This is reflected by his 98-percent success rate.
Don’t hesitate to call David at 800-991-5292 or contact him online. It is imperative that you do so as soon as possible, so evidence in the crash is not lost and witnesses do not forget what they saw. David and his team are here for you 24/7. Just call and get the ball rolling as you recover without the stress of financial burdens.