If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you are entitled to seek compensation for your injuries if your accident was caused by the negligence of another person or company. Some examples of vehicular negligence leading to car accidents include:
- Drunk driving
- Cell phone use/texting
- Distracted driving
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Faulty parts or systems on the at-fault driver’s vehicle
If the at-fault driver who caused your accident is guilty of any of the above or other examples of negligence, South Dakota law allows you to file a claim for damages against the driver, the auto manufacturer, and/or a liable auto parts company. The amount of the award you may seek depends upon the type and seriousness of your injuries, so it’s important to understand and document the injuries you’ve sustained.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accident injuries are divided into two general categories. Penetrating injuries are abrasions or lacerations. Impact injuries result when the driver or passenger’s body hits some part of the car’s interior like the dashboard, headrest, or windows and sustains internal damage.
There are several specific types of injury that you might suffer:
- Soft tissue injuries. Affecting ligaments, tendons, and muscles, these are the most common car accident injuries. They result from stretching or hyperextension of the connective tissues. Some examples of soft tissue injuries are whiplash, muscle sprains in the mid and lower back, and more serious damage to the spinal nerves and tissues.
- Head, neck, and spine injuries. Ranging from abrasions to herniated disks to concussions or brain damage, these injuries often result from a head-on collision, an unexpected stop, or a sudden change in direction.
- Chest injuries. After a car accident, chest injuries might take the form of contusions or bruises caused by a seat belt or shoulder harness. If seat belts are not used, the chest area can sustain more serious damage like broken ribs resulting from the impact of a steering wheel or dashboard.
- Arm and leg injuries. Bruises, sprains, broken bones, and other injuries can result from side-impact, especially in broadside or T-bone collisions, which cause arms and legs to strike a door, window, or dashboard.
- Scrapes, cuts, and bruises. These injuries occur when broken glass or loose objects inside the car strike the body of the driver or passengers. Such injuries might be minor and heal quickly or result in blood loss that could be life-threatening. Airbags, which are designed to prevent serious impact injuries, can also cause penetrating injuries.
- Pelvic and abdominal injuries. Impact with the steering wheel or dashboard, especially in head-on collisions, can lead to pelvic or abdominal injuries.
- Burn injuries. If the vehicle catches fire or if you come into contact with hot metal components like the engine or muffler, you could suffer serious burns.
Don’t Wait to Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t think you’ve been injured at all or if your injuries seem like minor ones that will heal on their own, it’s important that you seek medical examination and treatment as soon as possible after your accident. Some injuries are not immediately apparent. You might not start to feel any pain or discomfort until days after the accident, or you might suffer only minor pain that is actually a symptom of something more serious. Internal injuries and traumatic brain injuries often have delayed onset symptoms.
If you wait to seek medical care that will document your injuries, the defendant’s insurance company might dispute your claim. A medical exam and/or X-rays immediately after the accident can help to prove your injuries actually resulted from the crash and were not sustained later or aggravated by your delay in seeking medical care. Timely medical documentation is crucial when the time comes to seek fair compensation for your damages.
Have You Been Injured in a South Dakota Car Accident?
Find out the value of your injury claim by consulting an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We accept cases on a contingency fee basis, so you pay no attorney fees until we win your case.