If you live in British Columbia, you will likely make frequent trips across the border to visit Seattle for shopping, a sporting event or some other activity as a visitor. Because Vancouver residents make these trips frequently, they sometimes forget or may take for granted that they are travelling across an international border into another country. If you suffer injuries as a victim in an auto accident on such a trip, you might have to deal with the intricacies of U.S. laws and insurance companies.
Many of these cross-border accidents result in only minor injuries, but how would you deal with the consequences of severe injuries if you were to land in a hospital in the state of Washington for an extended period? You could be a victim of any of an endless list of auto accident injuries, although some of the following are more common than others.
Back and spinal cord injuries
Car accidents often cause back injuries, and the following shows that the consequences can vary from mild to severe:
- Minor injuries can include sprains and strains.
- More severe injuries involve bulging or herniated discs, pinched nerves, and fractured vertebrae.
- Spinal cord damage can cause permanent impairment or disabilities such as partial or complete paralysis.
- Symptoms including back pain, leg and arm pain, tingling and numbness, muscle weakness, loss of feeling and reflexes might only become evident after time.
Even minor back injuries could cause severe pain and might prevent you from performing normal activities.
Neck and shoulder injuries
Whiplash might be the most common neck injury resulting from auto crashes, especially from rear-end impact that causes rapid movement of the head and neck. The following symptoms are typical for this type of injury:
- Muscle and ligament damage can cause stiffness and pain in your neck, shoulders and back.
- Pain and numbness could be present in your arms and hands.
- You may experience blurred vision, dizziness, irritability, sleeplessness and ringing in your ears.
- Shoulder injuries could lead to limited range of motion and mobility, muscle pain from sprains, strains and tears, and pain from a dislocation or fracture.
Whiplash injury symptoms could take days to become evident, and shoulder injuries can cause long-term health problems.
Broken bones and chest injuries
An impact from any direction or your body striking the steering wheel or dashboard can cause the following fractures:
- Front or side impact can cause fractured limbs, ankles, knees and hips.
- If you smash into the steering wheel, you could fracture your ribs, and the blunt force trauma could cause collapsed lungs and internal bleeding.
- The forceful restriction of the seat belt can cause severe bruising.
If broken bones pierce the skin, there will also be a risk of infection, and emergency care is crucial.
Internal and facial injuries
Internal injuries can go undetected, making them more serious, and facial injuries typically mean head trauma. The following injuries typically need prompt medical care:
- Internal injuries that might go unnoticed and be life-threatening include kidneys, spleen, liver, bowels, lungs and the heart.
- Broken ribs could cause penetration wounds to the lungs or other organs.
- Striking your head against the steering wheel, a window or the dashboard could cause from mild to severe traumatic brain injuries with life-altering consequences.
- Facial injuries could include a fractured or dislocated jaw, a broken nose, teeth or eye socket.
Many of these head injuries can cause anything from concussions to comas and other long-term consequences.
Finding the help you need during this trying time
Along with these injuries, you could suffer lacerations and bruises, not to mention a high amount of emotional distress and psychological trauma. Having to deal with the insurance company and potentially pursue legal claims as well could be overwhelming. Fortunately, a British Columbia lawyer who has experience in dealing with cross-border personal injury cases can take on this burden and deal with all the procedures involving legal and insurance claims, pursuing the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled while you focus on recovering from your injuries.