- Bruising can signal more severe injuries – it if very often more than “just a bruise”
- Even when injuries seem small or insignificant, it’s important to get a medical evaluation to rule out more serious injuries
- Older people, children, and people with certain medical conditions can experience serious complications of bruising that can be life altering
- It’s important to document all injuries including bruising after an accident in order to preserve your legal rights
Bruises from Car Accidents are Very Common
Bruising after a car accident are more than a little reminder of the accident. Bruising can be and often is a sign of serious injury. Even when the bruises seem minor, it is important to see a doctor to rule out any internal injuries.
You may also hear the word hematoma used in relation to bruising. Here is the difference between the terms:
- A bruise happens when blood collects under the skin as a result of small blood vessels breakage. Bruising is usually caused by a blow to the skin, such as a fall or a bump. Bruises are typically flat and tender to the touch, and they may change color over time, starting out red or purple and then turning blue, green, or yellow before fading away.
- A hematoma is a larger collection of blood that occurs when a larger blood vessel breaks. Hematomas, like other bruises, are caused by trauma, such as a car accident or a fall, or by medical conditions, such as a blood clotting disorder. Hematomas are typically raised and painful, and they require special medical attention.
The severity of the bruising can vary depending on the force of the impact and the location of the injury. A trained medical professional is the best judge of whether or not a bruise is severe and/or dangerous.
In some cases, bruising can be a sign of internal injuries, such as organ damage or injured muscle tissue. For example, a bruised abdomen may be a sign of internal bleeding. Bruising around the eyes (black eyes) or on the forehead may indicate a head injury, bone fractures or concussion. Whiplash can present with bruising in the neck or shoulders.
The Life Cycle of a Bruise
Bruises typically start out red or purple and then gradually get darker over the course of a few days. The color of the bruise changes as the body breaks down and reabsorbs the blood.
Here is a more detailed timeline of how bruises develop:
- 1-2 days: The bruise appears red or purple. This is because the blood that has leaked into the tissues is still oxygenated.
- 3-5 days: The bruise turns blue or green. This is because the blood has lost its oxygen and is now turning into a substance called bilirubin.
- 5-7 days: The bruise turns yellow or brown. This is because the bilirubin is being broken down by the body.
- 10-14 days: The bruise fades away completely.
The amount of time it takes for a bruise to develop and heal can vary depending on a number of factors, including the severity of the injury, the location of the bruise, as well as the person’s age and health.
In general, bruises that are caused by minor injuries, such as a bump or scrape, will heal more quickly than bruises that are caused by more severe injuries, such as a fall or a car accident. Bruises that occur on the face or other areas of thin skin will also heal more quickly than bruises that occur on the torso or other areas of thick skin.
Older adults and people with certain health conditions, such as anemia, blood clotting disorders, or diabetes may also take longer for bruises and the complications they can cause to heal fully.
If you have a bruise that is not healing or that is causing you pain, you should see a doctor. The doctor can rule out any underlying medical conditions and recommend treatment options
What Causes Bruising in Car Accidents?
- Direct impact: When your body comes into direct contact with another object, such as the dashboard, steering wheel, or another vehicle, it can cause small blood vessels to rupture and bleed into the surrounding tissue. This can lead to bruising.
- Forceful movement: Even if your body does not come into direct contact with another object, forceful movement, such as being thrown from your seat or hitting your head against the car’s window can also cause bruising.
- Seatbelt injuries: The seatbelt, particularly if it is not worn properly, can cause severe bruising and internal injuries, such as organ damage or internal bleeding.
- Airbag deployment: Airbags can cause bruising as they deploy forcefully. This is more likely to happen if you are not wearing a seat belt or if you are sitting too close to the airbag.
- Internal injuries: Bruising can also be a sign of internal injuries, such as a liver laceration or spleen rupture. These injuries can cause blood to leak into the abdomen or chest, which can lead to visible bruising.
The location of the bruising can also give clues about the cause. For example, bruising on the chest or abdomen may be a sign of internal injuries, while bruising on the face or head may be a sign of a head injury.
If you have any bruising after a car accident, it is important to see a doctor right away to rule out any serious injuries. Even if you think your injuries are minor, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Here are some of the bruises that should be considered even more serious after a car accident:
Bruising on the head, neck, or face: Here are some additional symptoms that may accompany bruising on the head, neck, or face after a car accident and that may indicate a serious injury:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness
- Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
- Vision problems
Bruising in the abdomen or chest: Here are some additional symptoms that may accompany bruising on the abdomen or chest after a car accident and that may indicate a serious injury:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart rate
- Bluish tint to the skin
Bruises that become worse: If a bruised area expands or doesn’t get better after a car accident, it may be a sign of a more serious injury. This is because bruises typically start out small and red, and then gradually get larger and darker over the course of a few days. If the bruise is expanding or not improving, it could be a sign that the blood is still pooling under the skin, which can be a sign of internal bleeding.
Here are some other reasons why a bruised area might expand or not get better after a car accident:
- Infection: If the bruise becomes infected, it can cause redness, swelling, and pain. The bruise may also expand or not get better.
- Blood clot: A blood clot can form in a bruised area, which can also cause it to expand or not get better. Blood clots can be dangerous on their own, and should be treated as serious injuries.
- Underlying medical condition: If you have an underlying medical condition, such as a blood clotting disorder or diabetes, it can make you more likely to bruise easily and for bruises to take longer to heal.
Treatment of Bruises after an Accident
If you have a bruised area that is expanding or not getting better after a car accident, it is important to see a doctor right away. Only a trained medical professional will be able to determine the cause of the bruise, its severity, and is qualified to recommend the best course of treatment.
The treatment for bruises after a car accident will vary depending on the severity of the bruise, its location, and the person’s overall health. In most cases, bruises can be treated at home with the following methods:
- Rest: It is important to rest the injured area and avoid putting any pressure on it. This will help to reduce pain and swelling.
- Ice: Applying ice to the bruised area for 20 minutes at a time can help to reduce pain and swelling.
- Compression: Compressing the bruised area with an elastic bandage can also help to reduce swelling.
- Elevation: Elevating the bruised area above the heart can also help to reduce swelling.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help to relieve pain and inflammation.
In some cases, a doctor may prescribe stronger pain medication or other treatment, such as physical therapy. The doctor may also recommend additional tests, such as an X-ray or CT scan, to rule out any other injuries.
If you have any bruising after a car accident, it is important to see a doctor to rule out any serious injuries. Even if you think your injuries are minor, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Here are some additional tips for the treatment of bruises following a car accident:
- Avoid scratching the bruised area. Scratching or breaking the skin can increase the risk of infection.
- Keep the bruised area clean and dry.
- If the bruise is on a joint, such as the knee or elbow, you may need to use crutches or a brace to prevent further injury.
- If the bruise grows larger or becomes more painful you should go back to the doctor.
How Can Bruising Result in a Larger Car Accident Settlement
The more severe the bruising, the larger the settlement of your claim may be. Bruises can range in severity from minor to severe. Minor bruises may only cause pain and discomfort, while severe bruises can indicate internal bleeding, bruising, and even internal injuries such as organ damage including liver laceration or spleen rupture. Organ damage can cause serious complications, such as shock, infection, and death. Naturally, these life-threatening injuries can lead to a larger settlement.
Additionally, the amount of your settlement may also be impacted by the following factors:
- The location of the bruising: Bruises that occur in visible areas, such as the face or arms, may be more noticeable and may cause more emotional distress than bruises that occur in less visible areas. This can also lead to a larger settlement.
- The length of time it takes to heal: Bruises can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to heal. If the bruising takes a long time to heal, it may cause more pain and discomfort, and may also lead to a larger settlement.
- The impact of the bruising upon your daily life: Bruising can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks, such as going to work, taking care of your children, or doing household chores. If the bruising significantly impacts your daily life, it may lead to a larger settlement.
- The total amount of medical expenses: If you have incurred medical expenses as a result of the bruising or the complications of bruising you may be entitled to be compensated for those costs. Covered costs include doctor’s visits, medications, or physical therapy. The more medical expenses you have, the larger the settlement may be.
- The fault of the other driver: If the other driver was at fault for the accident, you may be able to recover more money in your settlement. This is because the other driver’s insurance company will be responsible for paying for your damages.
If you have been injured in a car accident and have bruising, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. You should also contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your case and your legal options. A lawyer can help you understand the factors that will affect the value of your settlement and can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to get you the maximum compensation possible.
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Can Bruises from a Car Accident Change a Person’s Life
In some cases, the bruising caused by an accident may be minor and heal quickly with no lasting effects. However, in other cases, the bruising may be more severe and lead to long-term health problems, such as chronic pain, mobility issues, or psychological trauma.
Here are some of the ways in which a car accident victim’s life can be changed following an accident where bruising occurs:
- Physical limitations: Bruising can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness, which can limit a person’s ability to move around and perform everyday activities. This can make it difficult to work, go to school, or participate in social activities.
- Financial hardship: Medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with a car accident can place a financial burden on the victim and their family. This can lead to stress and anxiety, and it can make it difficult to meet basic needs.
- Emotional trauma: The experience of a car accident can be traumatic, and it can lead to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health problems. These problems can make it difficult to cope with the aftermath of the accident and can interfere with relationships, work, and school.
- Legal challenges: If the car accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, the victim may need to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for their injuries. This can be a complex and time-consuming process, and it can add to the stress and emotional toll of the accident.
If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention right away and to document your injuries. You should also speak with an attorney to discuss your legal options. With the right help, you can recover from your injuries and move on with your life.
Take Steps to Protect Your Legal Rights Following an Accident
If you have been in a car accident and have extensive bruising, it is important to take steps to preserve the evidence. This evidence can be used to support your claim for compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Here are some steps you should take after a car accident:
- Take photographs of your injuries including the bruises. This is a most important step. The photographs should be clear and close-up, and they should show the location, size, and color of the bruises and other injuries.
- Get a medical examination. A doctor can document the extent of your injuries, including the bruises. The doctor’s records can be used as evidence in your case since they are an indication of how serious the injuries were but also how much the injuries troubled you and impacted your life.
- Get witness statements. If there were any witnesses to the accident, get their contact information and ask them to write down what they saw.
- Write a Narrative of what happened. As soon as practical after the accident, write down everything that happened leading up to, during, and after the accident. Your memory of the details will probably fade with time, so having the event written down on paper will help your legal team with your claim.
- Keep a journal of your symptoms. As you recover, write down details related to your symptoms. Record the date, time, and severity of your pain, as well as any other symptoms you are experiencing, such as swelling, stiffness, or numbness.
- Save the Evidence. Keep clothing or other items that may have been affected by the accident. This could include your seatbelt, airbag, or clothing that was torn or stained by blood.
It is important to take these steps as soon as possible after the accident. The evidence of bruising can fade over time, so it is important to document it while it is still fresh in your memory.
As you are recovering from your injuries, don’t make the assumption that the bruising you experienced was not important. Bruising can be very dangerous and should be evaluated and treated by your doctor.