What Are Signs of Internal Bleeding After an Accident?
Some injuries, like broken bones and cuts, are immediately obvious after a car accident. However, internal bleeding may not be recognizable unless you know the symptoms and warning signs, which is why you should see a doctor as soon as possible after being involved in a car crash.
By doing so, your doctor can treat all your injuries, including ones you may not have known about. Injuries like internal bleeding can be extremely dangerous if they aren’t diagnosed and treated right away. By seeing a doctor as soon as possible after your crash and telling them how you were injured, your medical records can also help establish the groundwork for any future injury claim.
If you or a loved one suffered internal injuries in a wreck, contact the car accident lawyers at Cofman Townsley for a free consultation about building your case and receiving compensation.
Even when traveling at very slow speeds, cars have considerable momentum and force. When a car collides with a road barrier, a tree, or another vehicle and is suddenly brought to a halt, the momentum is transferred to the occupants’ bodies.
Because the human body is not designed to absorb the force of impact, blunt force trauma can break bones and crush blood vessels or arteries. The extreme force of a car crash can cause drivers and passengers to be crushed against the steering wheel, dashboard, and other parts of the vehicle. This type of force places intense pressure on the blood vessels, internal organs, and arteries, resulting in internal bleeding.
Trauma from deceleration can also cause crash victims’ organs to shift or become damaged, causing blood to flow into the body’s cavity. Damage to the spleen and liver is common in severe crashes. Internal bleeding is not detectable initially, so you need to visit your doctor or an emergency room immediately after your accident. Otherwise, internal bleeding might cause organ failure, shock, and even death.
Symptoms you may experience that can indicate internal bleeding include:
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Fainting or lightheadedness
- Swelling, tightness, and leg pain
- Large bruises (hematoma) because of blood pooling under the skin and soft tissues
- Headaches and seizures, if there is internal bleeding in the brain
Brain damage from internal bleeding can cause cognitive and physical symptoms similar to a stroke, and damage to organs can result in lifelong disability.
If you take blood-thinning medications, you may be at a greater risk of internal bleeding from minor injuries.
Seeing your doctor right away can prevent internal bleeding from worsening by diagnosing your injuries and providing treatment, including possible surgery. After your injuries have been treated, consult with a Missouri auto accident lawyer at our law firm to discuss your accident and determine the damages you can receive.
Your doctor uses diagnostic tests, including blood tests and CT scans, to diagnose the cause of the bleeding. They look at how much you have bled internally, your blood pressure, and the seriousness of your injuries to determine whether surgery or observation is the best treatment.
If the bleeding is severe enough, an emergency surgeon may need to stitch up the damaged tissue to stop further bleeding. Depending on the diagnosis, you may need to go under a surgical procedure such as:
- Craniotomy: The surgeon makes a hole in the skull to relieve pressure on the brain if there is bleeding because of a traumatic brain injury.
- Exploratory laparotomy: A large incision in the abdomen’s skin allows the surgeon to examine it. The surgeon uses either a heat probe or sutures to close the ends of the bleeding blood vessels.
- Thoracotomy: If internal bleeding is around your heart or lungs, the surgeon accesses your chest via an incision to find and stop it. This procedure prevents excessive bleeding in the heart and lungs.
- Fasciotomy: To stop the bleeding in the thigh, a doctor may make a deep incision in the thigh. Bleeding in the thigh can cut off blood flow to the rest of the leg.
The total recovery period from the surgery may involve a long-term hospital stay, medication, and ongoing treatment. You may be unable to work while recovering, and the medical bills for internal bleeding can be enormous, even with health insurance. Thankfully, you may be eligible for financial compensation to help recover medical costs if someone else caused your crash.
A St. Louis car accident attorney can calculate your current and future medical bills and lost wages to determine how much compensation you should request.
If you are experiencing physical and financial hardship because of an accident that wasn’t your fault, you have the right to file an injury claim. Since 1973, the attorneys at Cofman Townsley have been helping our clients recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.