Injuries You May Sustain in an Accident in Georgia
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 31 million trips to the emergency room are made each year for unintentional injuries. Approximately 130,557 people will tragically die from these injuries annually. Injuries stemming from accidents range in severity from mild bruising or scrapes to catastrophic and permanent injuries that will change your life. The following is a look at some of the injuries you could sustain if you are injured in an accident in Georgia. These injuries could arise from car, truck, motorcycle, or pedestrian accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, and any other accident caused by negligence.
At Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, our Atlanta car accident attorneys have assisted clients suffering from a wide range of injuries. We understand that accidental injuries can result in significant medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Our firm fights to see that our injured clients obtain the compensation they deserve for their serious injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Your brain is your command center and the seat for your high order functions. Damage to this part of the body can be quite severe. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can occur due to the impact of another object hitting the head in a crash or other type of accident. They can also result from the brain inside of your skull jolting and hitting the inner skull itself, which can occur in nearly any high-speed accident or serious sports accident. TBIs range from mild concussions to severe brain damage that will result in permanent disability.
TBIs are not always easy to recognize. If you have been involved in any accident that could have caused brain trauma, look for the following warning signs, among others:
• Loss of consciousness
• Blurred vision
• Changes in your sleeping and waking pattern
• Ringing in the ears
• Trouble focusing or concentrating
• Anxiety or depression
• Enhanced sensitivity to light or sound
All of these symptoms can be signs of a TBI. More severe TBIs will typically be accompanied by loss of consciousness, so always be sure that anyone who has blacked out after an accident receives emergency medical care. Prompt treatment of a TBI can greatly aid in your long-term prognosis.
Broken and Fractured Bones
Broken and Fractured bones can occur nearly anywhere, but there are certain parts of the body that are more likely to be broken in an accident than others. The limbs are one such area. Arms and legs can easily break in a car crash, sports accident, or other impact related accidents. Depending upon the location of the break, the bone may need to be reset and cast. At times, broken bones can even splinter and break through the skin. These serious fractures will require immediate medical treatment.
The spine is another area of the body that can sustain fractures in an accident. Your spine is composed of numerous small vertebrae. When a vertebra within the body breaks, it can be extremely painful and even catastrophic. At times, vertebra will be pushed out of position, which could lead to paralysis.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries encompass sprains, strains, bruises, damage to ligaments, and more. These injuries involve damage to the soft-tissue areas of the body, as opposed to bones. Whiplash is one of the most common soft tissue injuries, and it is caused by rapid back and forth motion of the neck and head. Car accidents are a primary cause of whiplash, but other accidents can also inflict this painful injury.
Soft tissue injuries can be quite painful. They can limit your range of motion and might require a brace or bandage to stabilize the area. Moreover, soft tissue injuries could keep you out of work for some time and even require ongoing care.
Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
The back and spinal cord are extremely vulnerable to injury in the event of a car accident, fall or other incident. Bad injuries can be nearly debilitating, resulting in extreme pain, the inability to walk or move as usual, and potentially long term pain issues. Your spine, housed within the back and neck, contains 33 vertebrae, the spinal cord, and numerous ligaments. If the spinal cord is damaged in an accident, you can experience varying degrees of paralysis.
Paralysis will result in considerable medical expenses and long-term damages. If you are paralyzed in an accident, you should be unable to return to your job and resume daily living activities. However, you may need to retain a caregiver or nurse to assist you with basic tasks. Thus, the costs of a spinal cord injury are tremendous. Along with these financial costs, spinal cord injuries can inflict emotional and mental damages. Accident victims can experience depression, feelings of helplessness, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. Anyone who has become paralyzed in an accident that may have involved negligence should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can examine the facts and circumstances of what happened and take the necessary steps to protect your rights against the person or company that caused your injury.
Your knee is composed of several bones, ligaments, and soft tissue parts. Any of these components can be injured in an accident. Car accidents and slip and falls are some of the most common causes of knee injuries. Knee injuries can range from fractures to dislocations, ACL injuries, meniscus tears, patella fractures and others. Be on the alert for swelling in and around the knee after an accident, as this could signify a knee injury.
Treatment for your knee injury will depend on the type and severity of the injury. A fracture may require considerable casting, and you might be unable to move the knee for some time. A dislocation can require surgery, and damage to the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL may need bracing to prevent further injury. All of these injuries may require time off work and can be extremely painful.
Along with physical injuries, nearly any accident holds the potential for psychological injuries. Being involved in an accident is often traumatic. It can lead to severe emotional distress, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and more. These psychological injuries can intensify if you are permanently injured in the accident, as you cope with the fact that your life might never be the same. Seek help for your psychological injuries just as you would a physical injury because these very real injuries require appropriate treatment as well.
A catastrophic injury is one that results in long term or serious injuries. With a catastrophic injury, the accident victim will not be able to resume the life they once led due to the permanent or long lasting nature of the injury. We explain more about catastrophic injuries in our previous blog post entitled "What is a Catastrophic Injury?"
Some examples of catastrophic injuries include, but are not limited to:
• Deafness or blindness
• Traumatic brain injuries impacting your memory, motor skills, or other vital functions
• Amputation or disfigurement
• Damage to internal organs that requires ongoing care, such as dialysis
These injuries are distinct from other injuries sustained in an accident because they result in permanent or long lasting trauma as well as permanent reduction in quality of life. Those who sustain a catastrophic injury will not experience complete resolve after a short hospital stay or a few months in a cast. Rather, they will have ongoing medical complications. Catastrophic injury victims can seek compensation for their injuries and permanent disability.
Recovering For Your Injuries Sustained in an Accident
Under Georgia law, you should be able to seek compensation from the party that inflicted your injuries if negligence was involved. Georgia law sets out this right to recover in O.C.G.A. 51-1-6. Under this code provision, your right to recover will arise if the law requires a person to perform an act for the benefit of another, or to refrain from doing an act, and damages occur due to a breach of the legal duty.
This legal right can be summarized into four basic elements:
2. Breach of Duty
To recover your damages sustained due to negligence, you must prove each of these elements. For example, let's say you fell while walking in a grocery store. You would first need to prove the store had a duty to you. All stores that open themselves to the public have a duty to ensure their store is reasonably safe for the customer. With this element met, you turn to the more difficult task of proving the store breached its duty. Breach of duty involves the store owner or manager failing to act as an ordinarily prudent person would under the circumstances. You will need to offer evidence of negligence on the part of the store. For instance, if your fall was the result of spilled liquid on the floor that had been there for at least 30 minutes, this could be evidence of a breach of duty. A reasonably prudent store owner should have ensured the employees cleaned such a spill before 30 minutes elapsed. However, you must also show the negligent act led to your injuries, i.e. the spilled liquid caused you to fall and injure yourself. Finally, you must prove damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Each potential personal injury case is unique, and your personal injury lawyer can assist you in reviewing the facts of the case and assessing whether elements of negligence can be established under O.C.G.A. 51-1-6 as well as other relevant code provisions concerning negligence and personal injury tort laws.
Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Your potential damages will be driven by the severity of your injury and the associated costs. Serious injuries that require considerable medical expenses, time off work, long-term impairments, and more, will generally result in larger recoveries. Consult with a personal injury attorney for assistance in calculating your damages and seeking a settlement or verdict that will cover the losses you sustained in an accident.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case!
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving negligence, the Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, are here to help. For over 30 years, our firm has represented accident victims across Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
No matter where you are located, our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.