Seat belts and airbags have helped more people than ever survive the devastating upper-body and head injuries that used to kill so many car accident victims.
However, these safety devices don’t do anything to prevent victims from suffering serious injuries to their lower bodies, particularly in the knee, thigh, and hip area. Knee, thigh, and hip injuries are commonly associated with contact with the dashboard and steering column, but can also result from abrupt jerking and jolting. These injuries can not only be traumatic, but they can also be totally disabling.
Knee injuries account for 22 percent of lower extremity injuries in car accidents. The type of knee injuries you suffer in a car accident depends on a variety of factors–everything from your own body size to the angle you were hit can change the outcome of a knee injury. A sudden jolt can pull a ligament or rupture a tendon, while an impact with the dashboard can actually shatter the kneecap.
Thigh injuries, which account for 18 percent of lower extremity injuries in car accidents, include things like impact fractures of the femur, which is the long bone from your knee to your hip. This can create long-term problems with your ability to align your hips, balance and bear your own weight without assistive devices like a cane or walker.
Hip injuries makeup 15 percent of the lower body injuries associated with car accidents, and may ultimately be the most devastating of the triad. They can range from dislocation and compression of the sciatic nerve bundle, leading to chronic pain, to fractures that extend into the pelvic area or a broken joint that ends up resulting in a whole hip replacement.
Recovery from any of three of these types of lower-body injuries can be long and expensive. One study indicates that of the ten most cost-intensive injuries suffered by inpatients, those with injuries to the hip joint, pelvis, and femur are the most expensive.
If you’ve suffered lower-body injuries in a car accident, it’s wise to seek the advice of an attorney. For more information on how we approach motor vehicle accident injury claims, please visit our page.