Car accidents can be traumatic experiences, and the injuries sustained in these incidents can range from minor cuts and bruises to life-threatening conditions. One often underestimated but potentially life-threatening injury that can result from a car crash is internal bleeding.

While not always immediately apparent, internal bleeding can have severe consequences if left untreated. Read on to learn the symptoms of internal bleeding to watch for after a collision and why medical attention is necessary for your health and legal rights.

After getting medical attention, speak with a New Orleans car accident lawyer from Dudley DeBosier to help you recover compensation.

How Common is Internal Bleeding After a Car Accident?

The exact number of people who suffer from internal bleeding in car accidents is difficult to quantify. However, hemorrhage (internal bleeding) due to physical trauma like traffic accidents is a leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 46.

Causes of internal bleeding in a car crash include:

  • Blunt force trauma: A sudden stop or change in direction during a car crash can cause the body to hit the vehicle’s interior, leading to damage to organs and blood vessels and potentially causing internal bleeding.
  • Seatbelt injuries: While seatbelts save lives, they can also cause injuries during a collision. While preferable to being thrown from the vehicle in a crash when not wearing a seatbelt, the force of the seatbelt restraining the body can lead to internal injuries.
  • Penetrating injuries: Sharp objects inside the vehicle, such as shattered glass or debris, can penetrate the body and cause internal bleeding.
  • Airbag injuries: Although airbags are crucial for safety and help prevent many deaths, their rapid deployment can exert significant force on the body, potentially causing internal injuries, particularly to the chest or abdominal area. This is why it’s important to keep young children out of the front seat.
  • Whiplash: The rapid back-and-forth motion of the head and neck in a car accident can strain or tear blood vessels, leading to internal bleeding.
  • Trauma from ejection: If a person is thrown from the vehicle during a crash, the impact with the ground or other objects can cause severe internal injuries and bleeding.

Silent Killer: The Dangers of Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding is often referred to as a silent killer because its symptoms may not be immediately apparent, and it can progress unnoticed until it becomes life-threatening. It can take as little as six hours for internal bleeding to lead to organ failure and death after a crash.

The dangers associated with internal bleeding include:

  • Hypovolemic shock: Internal bleeding can lead to a significant loss of blood volume, resulting in hypovolemic shock, a condition where the body cannot supply enough oxygen to vital organs. This can be fatal if not treated promptly.
  • Organ damage: Bleeding within the body can damage vital organs like the liver, spleen, or kidneys, leading to long-term health complications or organ failure in a matter of hours.
  • Infection risk: Internal bleeding can introduce contaminants and bacteria into the bloodstream, increasing the risk of infection.
  • Delayed diagnosis: Due to its hidden nature, internal bleeding may not be diagnosed until it reaches an advanced stage, making treatment more challenging.

Symptoms That Can Indicate Internal Bleeding

Recognizing the signs of internal bleeding can help you seek prompt medical attention. If you notice any of the following symptoms after a car crash, go to the hospital immediately:

  • Abdominal pain: Persistent and severe abdominal pain after a car accident.
  • Swelling or bruising: Unexplained swelling or bruising at the impact site or elsewhere in the body.
  • Dizziness or fainting: Low blood pressure from internal bleeding can cause dizziness or fainting.
  • Weakness and fatigue: Anemia from blood loss can lead to weakness and fatigue.
  • Vomiting blood: Blood in vomit or black, tarry stools can signify gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Difficulty breathing: Internal bleeding in the chest area may cause trouble breathing, chest pain, or rapid breathing.
  • Change in mental state: Internal bleeding can affect brain function, leading to confusion, agitation, or loss of consciousness.

Seek Prompt Medical Attention

Prompt diagnosis and medical attention after a car crash help address potentially life-threatening conditions like internal bleeding. Quick medical intervention supports your well-being and any future legal claims.

When you seek immediate medical help, doctors can conduct a series of tests, including blood work, imaging tests like CT scans or MRIs, and physical examinations to diagnose internal injuries. These tests determine the appropriate treatment to address hidden injuries and provide an early record of your condition post-accident.

Early medical documentation also establishes a clear connection between the crash and your injuries, reinforcing the legitimacy of your claim. This initial medical record acts as a foundation for legal action you may take to recover damages for your injuries. It thoroughly documents the extent and impact of your injuries and links them to the incident.

Your attorney can use these documents to file a well-supported claim to help you pay for medical expenses and other damages.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident, especially one resulting in internal bleeding, consult with experienced legal professionals at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers. We can review your healthcare records, get insights from expert medical witnesses, and accurately assess your losses from the accident.

Contact us today for a free consultation so we can provide the legal support you need during your recovery.

Disclaimer: This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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