What Injuries Cause Death in Fatal Car Accidents?

In the first half of 2021, 20,160 people lost their lives in traffic collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number is an 18.4% increase from 2020. Unfortunately, these fatal car accidents do not often start as one. A traffic collision may result in only injuries, but the person may die from such wounds.

The death may happen instantaneously, moments after the accident, on the way to the hospital, or while the victim receives treatment in the hospital. This article discusses the injuries that cause death in car accidents. If you lost a loved one in a crash where someone else was at fault, you are entitled to compensation. Our Atlanta car accident lawyers can help you establish who was at fault and get the maximum settlement.

Categories of Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents

Motor vehicle manufacturers build cars with durable, rigid parts to keep occupants safe. For example, the vehicle’s laminated glass windshield and steel frame keep you safe in the event of a collision. This is why a car accident victim can potentially suffer less severe injuries than a person on a motorcycle.

However, the components of a car meant to protect you can injure you, and some of these wounds could be fatal. For example, a person could suffer lacerations or puncture wounds to fragile tissues and organs. The person could also have these organs shattered by metal and glass from the vehicle.

Injuries in traffic crashes fall into one of two categories:

  • Impact Injuries: Impact injuries occur when stationary or moving objects strike a person’s body.  An excellent example is a head-on collision where the impact causes the driver to hit their head on the steering wheel or a rapidly expanding airbag.
  • Penetrating Injuries: A penetrating injury occurs when a sharp object pierces the body. The piercing causes lacerations or other open wounds. For instance, shattered glass can penetrate the abdominal wall or enter the eye and cause damage.

Typical Injuries That Causes Death in Car Accidents

High impact crashes or accidents involving pedestrians are likely to cause deaths. According to the NHTSA, 6,205 pedestrians died in traffic collisions in 2019. Another factor contributing to crash fatalities is the degree of damage to the victim’s body.

Below are the most common wounds that cause death in car accidents.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

A blow to the head or a wound penetrating the skull can cause a traumatic brain injury. It could result in bleeding, torn brain tissues, or bruising. This wound, if not treated, can have life-altering consequences or death. Sometimes, the death is instantaneous or after a prolonged period of coma.

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Generally, people with spinal cord injuries are 2 to 5 times more likely to die prematurely than people without SCI. For example, a person whose spine gets severed in a collision may die as a result. Also, complications from an SCI injury like renal failure can lead to death. Other known fatal complications are pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, or septicemia.

Internal Injuries

Internal injuries are dangerous because they sometimes present no visible signs. As a result, a person who survives a high-impact crash might think they have no injuries. However, they may suddenly pass out or die when the internal damage worsens. Hence, even when you feel fine after a car accident, ensure you go for a medical check-up.

Broken Bones

Broken bones sometimes cause death, mainly where the fragment punctures an organ. For example, the bone fragment may puncture the lungs, liver, intestines, heart, or other vital organs. The key to staying alive in such a case is having a doctor locate the puncture site and treat it immediately.

What to Do After a Loved One Dies in a Car Accident

If you lose a loved one in a car crash, you need to gather as much information as possible. Since you were not at the accident scene, you’ll need to rely on a police investigation report. As such, follow the investigation’s progress to ensure the right fault party is named.

If the decedent made it to the hospital before they died, get a copy of their treatment record. If they died at the crash scene, get the autopsy report from the government coroner if they conducted one. In addition, secure any video footage, identify witnesses and speak with them, and get an Atlanta car accident lawyer involved.

Contact Us Today!

Working with an attorney increases your success chances when pursuing financial compensation for a loved one’s death. At Bethune Law Firm, we have successfully handled many car accident claims and can secure a win for you. We don’t get paid until we win, so call today for a free case review.