What Happens to the Body in a Car Crash?

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In a car crash, the body experiences unnatural forces and traumas. A person may be thrown at a high speed and subjected to blunt trauma resulting in injury. This can lead to a devastating bodily injury and possibly, a wrongful death.

Our Beaufort car accident attorneys at Schiller & Hamilton explain what happens to the body in a car crash.

Car Accident Effects on the Body

  • A car accident subjects the body to forces beyond its natural limits.
  • When the body absorbs the energy of a vehicle in a car crash, injuries may occur.
  • Blunt force trauma and shaking injuries may occur. Friction may cause burns.
  • Different types of crashes with varying characteristics result in different injuries.
  • Vehicle safety features may impact what happens to the body in a car crash.

If another party is responsible for the crash, an injured party may seek financial compensation. Generally, compensation is based on financial losses and the intangible losses associated with car accident bodily injuries, like physical pain, lifestyle limitations and personal suffering.

How energy is transferred in a car crash

Kinetic energy is energy emitted from an object once it’s in motion. While you’re riding in a car, you and the car have kinetic energy. When a crash occurs, this energy transfers. Sometimes, this energy transfers back to you when the car strikes an object. If your body absorbs energy, it may result in injury.

A car accident may involve:

  • A vehicle striking an object
  • Two or more vehicles striking each other
  • A vehicle striking a person
  • A body being thrown from a vehicle

A car that is moving will continue to move until something stops it. Usually, you stop your vehicle using your brakes. A vehicle may also coast to a stop from air resistance or an incline. The speed of a vehicle depends on its mass and the amount of force applied. Gas combustion creates energy that propels the car.

When a vehicle exerts force in a car crash, energy transfers to whatever the vehicle hits. If the object struck is strong enough, like a wall or a vehicle, it transfers energy back. For example, when a car strikes a wall, the car might crumble, like an accordion. The body may absorb the energy, suffering injury.

How do injuries occur in a car crash?

Injuries may occur from a car crash because of being struck or being thrown. Blunt force trauma may occur directly from the impact of a vehicle. Additionally, injury may occur when a person is thrown forward. Even when constrained by a seatbelt, violent shaking of the body may result in injury.

When a car is moving, the car and everything in it travel at the same speed. In a crash, forces may stop the vehicle, but not the person in it. This is most likely to occur when a person is not wearing a seatbelt. When a person is thrown from their seated position, they may hit the steering column, the windshield, other vehicle components or the ground. The result may be blunt force trauma and shaking injuries.

What factors impact how the body responds to a car accident?

What happens to the body in a car accident depends on several factors, including:

  • The location of impact
  • Speed
  • Weight of vehicles
  • Direction of impact
  • Amount of force
  • If the person struck was in a vehicle or otherwise shielded

How the Body Responds to Different Types of Car Accidents

Different types of car accidents result in varying injuries.

  • Rear-end: The body is thrown forward at a high rate of speed. Blunt force trauma may occur, causing broken bones and internal crushing. In addition, a person may suffer concussion and whiplash from violent shaking of the neck.
  • Side-impact: Side-impact crashes are often extremely serious because the side of a vehicle offers the least amount of protection. Spinal cord injuries may result from the body being pushed from the side.
  • Head-on: In a head-on collision, both vehicles are usually traveling, often at a high rate of speed. The result can be high forces. If the collision occurs at a slight angle, forces may impact the body at complex angles.
  • Pedestrian/bicycle: Without a vehicle to protect them, it’s the pedestrian or bicyclist that absorbs the energy of the car. The body may suffer direct blunt trauma and trauma from striking the ground or other objects.
  • Motorcycle: A motorcycle crash may result in burns from striking the ground in addition to other bodily injuries.

Safety Features and the Body in a Car Crash

Today, most vehicles have safety features. These features may impact how the body responds in a car accident.

  • Airbags: Airbags protect the body from directly striking the car, including the steering column or dashboard. However, a person can suffer injury from hitting the airbag. In addition, an airbag may also cause injury if it malfunctions.
  • Seatbelts: A seat belt helps a person stop with the vehicle. Without a seatbelt, a person may continue to travel forward, even if a vehicle stops suddenly in a crash. The stretch of the seatbelt may determine exactly how it functions in the event of a crash.
  • Crash deceleration/emergency braking: When equipped with crash deceleration, a vehicle may quickly reduce its speed if sensors indicate that a collision is about to occur.
  • Bumper: A bumper is a horizontal piece of material that can absorb energy at low speeds.
  • Shatter-resistant glass: One risk of car accident injury is from shattered glass. Windows may be made of material that resists shattering.

These safety features may help the body avoid or minimize injury. A person who is injured in a car crash may claim for the full extent of their injuries as allowed by law.

Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer Today

What happens to the body in a car crash can be devastating.

Have you been in a car crash? Do you have injuries? You may have the right to financial compensation. Contact us at Schiller & Hamilton today for your free consultation.

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