What Happens To Your Body After a Car Accident?

Science explains how a collision affects crash victims. Car crashes are highly energetic events, and the transfer of crash energy mangles your car and injures your body. These injuries, in turn, trigger biological changes that result in pain and long-term disabilities.

The Physics of Car Crashes

Physics explains what happens to your vehicle and body during a collision. The energy of the vehicles before the crash is conserved during and after the crash.

In other words, all the energy from the motion of the vehicles must go somewhere during a collision because energy is neither lost nor destroyed. Since the vehicles are no longer moving, that energy goes somewhere else.

Some of the energy produces sound. Modern vehicles also have crumple zones. Plastic bumpers are designed to deform and pop their fasteners because this crumpling absorbs crash energy.

A car’s kinetic energy depends on its mass and velocity. In a low-speed crash, much of that kinetic energy might crumple the car’s bumpers and produce sound. But when crashes involve high speeds or heavy vehicles, there will be leftover energy. This excess energy damages your vehicle and body.

How Crashes Affect Your Body

Newton’s laws of motion say that something in motion stays in motion until acted upon by an outside force. Vehicle occupants move at the same speed as their vehicles. It might not feel like it, but your body is traveling at 65 miles per hour or faster when you drive on the interstate.

In a crash, your car’s speed suddenly drops to zero. Your body, however, keeps moving at its original speed until it hits something to stop it.

If you wear your seat belt and have a car equipped with airbags, your seat belt and airbags catch your body and stop it before it hits the steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield. If you do not, you could slam into your vehicle’s interior or even fly through the windshield.

In either case, Newton has another law that explains what happens to your body. When your body hits a surface during a crash, the surface pushes back on your body with equal and opposite force. This reactive force breaks bones, tears soft tissues, and shakes your brain. These forces produce injuries such as:

  • Strained muscles and tendons
  • Sprained ligaments
  • Torn cartilage
  • Fractured bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries

Crash energy creates forces that damage your body’s tissues. But damage to your tissues only explains part of what happens inside you after a crash.

Changes In Your Body After a Car Accident

Your body has defenses against injuries. Damaged tissue, for example, triggers a pain response. Pain is useful because it tells your brain where your body has suffered an injury. For example, when you feel knee pain after a crash, you will check your knee or tell your doctor to check it.

Other changes in your body are not as useful. Damaged tissue triggers an inflammatory response. Fluid rushes to the injury, causing it to swell. Your body increases in temperature because a fever can kill invading bacteria. But inflammation also causes pain and reduces blood flow to the site which could help to repair it.

Inflammation is particularly harmful to the brain. When your brain shakes in a collision, brain cells suffer damage. The brain tissue inflames, causing symptoms such as:

  • Confusion
  • Amnesia
  • Clumsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurry vision

In extreme cases, a crash victim might even suffer permanent brain damage, coma, or death.

Effects of Crash Injuries

In some cases, doctors can treat crash injuries. For example, most broken bones will heal within six to eight weeks. But in other cases, crash injuries do not heal. Nerve and brain cells, for example, do not regenerate, causing permanent disabilities. 

Injuries and disabilities cause significant financial losses and erosion in your quality of life. Fortunately, the law gives victims the right to seek compensation when these injuries result from someone else’s negligent or wrongful conduct.

Since 1992, our personal injury attorneys at the Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. have been fighting for the people of San Diego. Now, when those injured in automobile accidents – including cartruck, and motorcycle accidents – need financial help, or for the families that need to know that the loss of a loved one could have been prevented, there is a personal injury law firm in San Diego that is on their side. If you or a family member has been injured, call the lawyers at Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. There’s never been a better time than right now to speak to a personal injury attorney—FREE of charge. Call us at 858-551-2090 or request a free consultation online today!