Auto accidents are both incredibly scary and dangerous. The injuries sustained in an auto accident can range from:
- Broken bones;
- Knee Injuries;
- Internal injuries and
- Spine, neck, and back injuries
Depending upon the severity of your injury, it is possible that you will need to undergo a surgical procedure to repair injuries sustained as a result of the crash.
Knee Injuries: The knee contains three important ligaments that help your knee function properly. Those ligaments are the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL); the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL); and the medial collateral ligament (MCL). During an auto accident, your knee may sustain a significant injury as a result of direct impact from the steering column or dashboard. In such a situation, it is possible that one of these three ligaments can become torn. The PCL is considered to be stronger and less prone to injury than the ACL. The ACL crosses over the knee joint with the PCL and serves to stabilize the knee. If the ACL is torn, the injury is considered very serious as you may be unable to walk or run until the ligament is reattached and back at full strength. The MCL is the most commonly damaged knee ligament. An injury to the MCL will show itself through bruising and swelling.
Broken Bones: A broken bone also known as a fracture, can happen in a variety of ways – crosswise, lengthwise, multiple pieces. Bone fractures have different levels of severity which serve to determine the method of treatment. A stable fracture occurs when the broken ends of the bone line up. A compound fracture is when your skin is actually pierced by the bone. A transverse fracture is when the fracture occurred in a horizontal line. A comminuted fracture is when the bone shatters into several different pieces.
Internal Injuries: Internal injuries are very serious and are unfortunately common in severe auto accidents. Internal injuries and bleeding stem from blunt (body collides with an object at a high rate of speed) or penetrating (a foreign object penetrates the body) trauma. When the trauma happens, your organs or blood vessels suffer and bleeding usually occurs.
Spinal Injuries: A spinal injury is one of the more serious injuries that can come from an auto accident. The spine carries and protects nerves that travel from your brain through the rest of your body. The nerves are what allow your body to feel and control sensations. Damage to the spinal cord can result in permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions below the site of the injury. Because of the importance of the spinal cord, any injury sustained as a result of blunt trauma should be taken seriously and surgery is always a possibility.
Determining if Surgery is Necessary
Before it can be determined if surgery will be necessary to fix your injuries, certain evaluation procedures will be undertaken. Those procedures include, but are not limited to:
One of the most common methods of diagnosing broken bones is an X-ray. An X-ray is a painless procedure where radiation passes through your body and is absorbed in different amounts depending on the density of the material they pass through. Bone, due to its density, will appear as white on an X-ray, allowing your doctor to view and diagnose fractures.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging process that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to formulate images of the organs and tissues. During the MRI, you will lay down in the tubular machine and the magnetic field temporarily realigns hydrogen atoms in your body. Radio waves cause the aligned atoms to produce signals which are used to create cross-sectional MRI images. An MRI is commonly used following an auto accident to diagnose injuries to the spinal cord, as well as to determine if any organ or tissue damage has occurred.
If the X-ray and/or MRI show an injury that can only be corrected by performing a surgical procedure, your doctor will explain the procedure, the risks, the recovery time and ask for your consent. Once given, a timetable for the surgery will be set.
During surgery, you will likely be placed under general anesthesia. General anesthesia is also known as being put under. An anesthesiologist uses a combination of intravenous drugs and inhaled gasses to put your brain's responsiveness to pain and reflexes to sleep. This method allows your surgeon to perform an operation that would otherwise be quite painful.
A major surgical procedure can vary in length. Some can last for to five hours while others can take place over a span of 12 hours. In such situations, two different surgical teams will serve to perform the operation in intervals to limit fatigue.
Depending on the reason for your surgery (internal bleeding, spine injury, broken bones, etc.), plates and/or screws may be implanted in your body to hold organs or bones together. The plates and/or screws may be temporary or permanent. If temporary, another procedure will be scheduled at a later time to remove the items.
After the surgical procedure, you may feel confused as you come off of the anesthesia. Side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
In the case of many surgeries, physical therapy will likely be necessary after you have recovered from your operation. Physical therapy can help regain your range of motion and strength in your limbs, back, and neck and can also help you push through the pain of scar tissue that may have built up after your surgery. Physical therapy might be required for weeks or months.
Compensation for Surgical Costs
If you have had to undergo a surgical procedure as the result of an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical treatment. By pursuing a personal injury claim, you can seek damages not only for direct medical expenses but also for lost wages for periods of time you were unable to work due to your injuries and surgery.
At the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal, we understand how frustrating and scary an auto accident can be. Undergoing a surgical procedure as a result of an accident can cause extreme physical and emotional pain. The professionals at the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal can help you seek justice for the suffering you have had to endure. To begin the process of obtaining compensation for your injuries and the associated costs, contact us at 303.825.2223.