The impact of a head-on car accident not only can destroy your vehicle, but also cause serious harm to drivers and passengers. Although seat belts and air bags do a great deal to prevent abdominal, chest, neck and head injuries, they may not protect against lower leg injuries. Accident victims may be burdened not only with a lengthy recovery, but also may face high medical and related costs.
Most Common Types of Lower Leg Injuries
Among those taken to trauma centers after being involved in vehicle crashes, 20 percent had some sort of fracture in the lower legs. According to a 2005 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, lower leg injuries most commonly affect the ankle (5.7 percent).
What’s more, the report notes, “Surveys also suggest that foot and ankle injuries account for 8-12 percent of all moderate-to-serious injuries sustained by motor vehicle occupants involved in frontal collisions.”
Many injuries occur when the ankle, foot or lower leg hit the floor of the vehicle. Injuries also may occur when the knee or lower leg hits the instrument panel due to the impact of the crash. Although not as common as the others, injuries do occur when a knee hits the steering column.
Effects of Lower Leg Injuries
Lower leg injuries caused by a head-on collision are considered high-energy injuries. They occur at high speeds and therefore cause more prolonged damage than a slip and fall injury that occurs while someone is walking on a slippery floor. Although rarely fatal, a lower leg injury can result in extended periods of mobility loss.
The financial costs related to a lower leg injury can be astronomical. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, multiple surgeries and long periods of physical therapy may be needed. At one year after the injury, many patients still suffer problems. Of those with moderate to severe injuries of the extremities, only 58 percent had returned to work after one year, according to a study noted in the NHTSA report. Fifty percent still suffered from minor or moderate disabilities. Those with foot fractures showed little improvement, as did those with multiple fractures to the same extremity.
A fracture in the lower leg can cost upwards of $5,000, with pelvic fractures exceeding $20,000 in some cases, according to data in the NHTSA report. This does not include ongoing care and loss of wages caused by the inability to return to work.
Recovery of Damages Stemming from Lower Limb Injuries
If you suffer serious injuries in an auto accident, such as those involving the lower limbs, your car insurance and health insurance may provide coverage of your medical bills. You also may file an injury claim against a negligent party who is responsible for the accident.
Head-on collisions may be the result of distracted drivers or drunk drivers who drift into other lanes or reckless drivers who may carelessly try to overtake another vehicle by entering a lane of oncoming traffic, for example. Eyewitness accounts of the accident and pictures from the accident scene, along with other evidence, can be helpful in establishing the other driver’s liability for the accident.
Contact a Lawyer
A head-on collision can result in many painful lower extremity injuries. Because these injuries can affect a person’s ability to walk, they may require physical therapy, rehabilitation and long-term medical treatment, all which can be extremely expensive. Cordisco & Saile LLC is a personal injury firm that can help injured victims in Bensalem and nearby areas file a claim for compensation to pay for the extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation costs you may endure. Contact us at 215-642-2335 to set up a consultation.