- Internal bleeding can result from blunt trauma suffered in an automobile accident.
- Because internal bleeding cannot be seen by the naked eye, it is crucial to see a medical professional after a car accident.
- Accidents that result in Internal injuries may require the help of an experienced lawyer to help you recover full compensation for your injuries.
What Is Internal Bleeding?
Internal bleeding is simply bleeding that occurs within the body. These injuries are not visible to the eye, making them difficult to find without diagnostic equipment. The causes of internal injuries can include:
- Trauma– Events such as car accidents, falls, or being stuck by a heavy object can lead to internal organ, blood vessel, and bone damage.
- Aneurysms – Occasionally, weakened blood vessel walls can bulge and form pockets of blood. An aneurysm might not cause any noticeable symptoms, but if one bursts, as it might after the trauma associated with an automobile accident, it can be life-threatening.
- Broken bones – Most broken bones do not present a threat to life, but breaking larger bones, such as legs, arms, and hips, can cause significant internal bleeding. For instance, fractures to the upper ribs can cause injuries to the large vessels that carry blood to and from the heart. Fractures to the ribs can also cause harm to the lungs themselves, sometimes leading to a collapsed lung or bleeding in the chest cavity. Likewise, fractures to the lower ribs can cause injuries to the liver and spleen.
How a Car Accident Can Result in Internal Bleeding
The force of impact associated with car accidents has the potential to cause severe internal injuries due to blunt trauma. When our bodies are bounced or thrown around inside the cabin of a car in an accident, the possibility of hitting or being struck by heavy objects increases the risk of severe damage. Even the intense pressure caused by seat belts during a collision can cause trauma to internal organs and tissues, causing bleeding. Additionally, sharp objects can pierce the skin causing penetrating injuries.
The most serious types of these injuries include:
- Head trauma with internal bleeding, called intracranial hemorrhage
- Bleeding around the lungs, called a hemothorax
- Bleeding around the heart, known as hemopericardium and cardiac tamponade
- Rips or tears to the large blood vessels near the center of the body, including the aorta, superior and inferior vena cava, and their major branches
- Bleeding caused by trauma to the abdominal area, such as lacerations or perforation of the liver, spleen, or other organs
Symptoms that Indicate Your Car Accident Caused Internal Bleeding
Because internal bleeding happens within the body, it is sometimes not evident to the naked eye. Doctors may discover internal bleeding using ultrasound, MRI or other imaging equipment.
The symptoms of internal bleeding can vary depending on where the bleeding is. Even though you may not be able to see the blood, common signs and symptoms might indicate internal bleeding is taking place.
Signs of Internal Bleeding in the Chest or Abdomen:
- Pain at the injury site
- Distended, tight abdomen
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pale, clammy, sweaty skin
- Difficulty catching your breath
- Extreme thirst
- Loss of consciousness
- Unusual weakness
- Low blood pressure
- Visual problems
- Numbness or tingling
- Severe headache
- Chest pain
- Diarrhea or dark, tarry stool
- Blood in urine
- Bleeding from ears, nose, mouth, or anus
Symptoms of Bleeding Inside the Head
- Weakness or numbness, usually on just one side of your body
- Tingling of the hands or feet
- Severe, sudden headache
- Trouble swallowing or chewing
- Changes in hearing or vision
- Loss of coordination, balance, or difficulty focusing the eyes
- Trouble communicating, including difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- Difficulty writing
- Intense fatigue, drowsiness, or lethargy
Symptoms of shock often accompany internal bleeding following an accident. They can intensify the symptoms above and usually include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Sweaty skin
- Changes in overall alertness, including increases in alertness, sleepiness, or grogginess
- Overall weakness
What Medical Treatments Are Commonly Used to Stop Internal Bleeding
In the emergency room, doctors will diagnose and treat internal bleeding in several ways. In some cases, intravenous fluids and blood transfusions may be given to prevent or correct unsafe fluctuations in blood pressure.
Imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or CT scan, can be used to identify whether internal bleeding is ongoing. Doctors will consider the severity of the internal bleeding, blood pressure, and other injuries to determine the best initial treatment. Typically, these treatments will be either surgery or observation.
When internal bleeding is slower or delayed, it might seem minimal. Nevertheless, observation by medical professionals is often appropriate. Sometimes, internal bleeding caused by trauma stops on its own, but the potential for a catastrophic outcome makes being evaluated by a medical professional after an automobile accident with trauma critically important.
Ongoing or severe internal bleeding due to trauma often requires surgery to correct the problem. When internal bleeding is severe, emergency surgery may take place immediately.
Can Internal Bleeding from a Car Accident Result in Death?
Depending on the severity of the injury and the bleeding it caused, untreated internal bleeding can result in organ failure, coma, and, in some cases, death. Even with aggressive treatment, severe internal bleeding can sometimes result in a casualty.
In addition to the risks associated with active bleeding following a car accident, there is also a real danger from blood clots. When blood pools inside the body near injured tissue, it’s called a hematoma. These “bruises” or clots of blood usually dissolve on their own. However, sometimes they can become dangerous. When the clots, also called deep vein thromboses (DVT) or pulmonary embolisms (EM), begin to travel through the bloodstream, they can interfere with the functioning of the heart, lungs, or brain — ultimately causing death.
Who is Responsible For Medical Expenses Associated With Internal Bleeding After A Motor Vehicle Accident or Other Trauma?
The cost of medical care following an auto accident is usually the responsibility of the at-fault driver, paid for by his or her insurance up to their policy limit. It is also usually the responsibility of an injury victim to seek and pay for, or find a way to defer payment, medical care until a settlement can be reached with the driver or company that caused the injury.
Because receiving and paying for medical care immediately following an accident can be difficult it is typically worthwhile to speak with an attorney who is experienced in dealing with accidental injuries. Experienced personal injury lawyers have expertise in locating sources and resources to pay for your medical care until a claim can be settled and in negotiating medical bills and insurance reimbursements after a recovery has been made.
The Millar Law Firm has helped hundreds of seriously injured residents of Georgia find ways to pay for the medical care they need and receive full and fair compensation after their accident. Our consultations are free. Call us today at 770-400-0000 (770 “Four Million”).