If you have been injured in a car accident in Chicago, recovering your losses will most likely mean filing an insurance claim. In Illinois, auto insurance provides fault-based compensation for auto accident victims’ injuries (with the exception of optional personal injury protection (PIP) or “MedPay” insurance, which provides a modest amount of “no-fault” coverage); and, if you have been seriously injured, you may be entitled to substantial compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer.
In Illinois, auto insurance covers all types of car accident injuries. Regardless of the nature and the extent of your injuries, if another driver (or some other third party) was at fault in the accident, you are entitled to just compensation for all of your accident-related losses. The following are 10 of the most-common types of auto accident-related injuries that are covered by auto insurance:
Top 10 Types of Injuries Covered by Auto Insurance
1. Broken Bones
Broken bones are common injuries in auto accidents, and the forces involved in a collision can easily be enough to compromise the largest bones in the human body. Broken arms, legs, fingers, toes, ribs, clavicles (collar bones), and other bones are all common, with fractures varying in type and severity depending on the specific cause involved. Types of bone fractures that can result from car accidents include:
- Comminuted Fractures – Severe fractures that result in the bone breaking into several small fragments, often as the result of extreme force being applied in a traumatic event, such as a car crash.
- Greenstick Fractures – When a bone breaks, or splits, along its length along its length but remains partially intact. Greenstick fractures are most common among children.
- Transverse Fractures – When the bone breaks at 90 degrees perpendicular to its length, typically resulting from a direct and concentrated force impacting the body at the location of the fracture.
- Oblique Fractures – Similar to transverse fractures, but where the break is at an angle other than 90 degrees. Oblique fractures typically result from sharp blows with force being applied from above or below the location of the fracture.
Burns can result from contact with objects that become hot due to friction during a crash, from airbag explosions, and from fires. Burns vary in severity, with the most-severe burns often requiring multiple surgical treatments and a long-term recovery process, and with many people experiencing permanent scarring and chronic pain and suffering. The degrees of burns that can result from car accidents are:
- First Degree – Superficial burns characterized by red skin without blistering.
- Second Degree – Blistering skin damage that extends beneath the outer layer.
- Third Degree – Damage to all layers of the skin, resulting in a white and leathery appearance.
- Fourth Degree – Damage to all layers of the skin and to the bones, joints, and/or tendons below the skin.
3. Facial Injuries
Injuries to the face can result from flying debris, blunt-force impact with a hard object (such as a dashboard or the back of a seat), the impact of an inflating airbag, and various other factors. Injuries to the eyes, ears, nose, jaw, cheekbones, and other facial structures are all common, with injuries including fractures, burns, soft tissue damage, and damage to the inner structures of the eyes and ears.
4. Neck Injuries
Neck injuries are among the most-common complaints after car accidents; and, despite its portrayal in movies and on television, whiplash is a very real – and very painful – injury. Individuals diagnosed with whiplash and other neck injuries will often face long and slow recoveries, and they may need to miss a significant amount of time from work until their injuries are fully healed. For more information on whiplash from car accidents, you can read:
- The Basics of a Whiplash Injury
- Whiplash and Neck Injuries
- Can You File a Car Accident Injury Claim without Vehicle Damage?
5. Loss of Digits or Limbs
Losing a digit or limb is an extremely traumatic experience and one that, for most people, is completely unimaginable. Yet, these types of injuries often result from car accidents, leaving victims to cope with the resulting pain, mental anguish, and physical limitations for the rest of their lives.
In many cases, loss of a digit or limb occurs during the car accident itself. A driver’s or passenger’s arm, hand, finger, leg, foot, or toe may be severed by broken glass or sheared metal, or it may be lost due to being pinched or crushed between objects. In other cases, amputation may be necessary due to the extent of the internal damage sustained during the collision.
6. Organ Damage
While our bodies protect our organs pretty well, our bodies are simply no match for the extreme forces involved in a vehicle collision. Car accidents can cause damage to all of the internal organs, including:
- Reproductive organs
- Sensory organs
Depending on the extent of the damage caused, full recovery may or may not be possible, and organ function may or may not be fully restored. Surgery may be necessary, as may temporary or long-term use of assistive medical devices. Organ damage can cause various types of psychical limitations as well, and complications and other consequences can range from loss of fertility to renal failure.
7. Psychological Harm and Emotional Loss
In addition to suffering from severe and potentially life-changing physical injuries, car accident victims will often suffer from various forms of psychological harm and emotional loss as well. Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatizing experience, and the psychological effects of physical injuries – including being unable to work, feeling uncomfortable in public, and being unable to spend meaningful time with friends and family – can impact car accident victims for the rest of their lives. After a car accident, it is not unusual for injured drivers and passengers to experience psychological harm and emotional losses including:
- Anxiety and depression
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of society and companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
8. Soft Tissue Injuries
The muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the body are collectively referred to as “soft tissue.” In a car accident, soft tissue injuries can result from lacerations and severe blunt-force impacts, and they can also result from twisting, stretching, compression, and contortion of the body leading to sprains, strains, and tears.
While minor sprains and strains will usually heal on their own, deep lacerations, tears, and other types of soft tissue injuries may require surgery. Soft tissue injuries can occur in all parts of the body, with injuries to the extremities and the neck being among the most common.
9. Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries range broadly in nature and severity, from herniated discs that can heal over time to spinal fractures that result in total and permanent paralysis. The financial costs of spinal cord injuries can easily reach into the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
Along with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries are among the greatest risks associated with being involved in a vehicle collision. Back pain and stiffness are usually among the earliest symptoms (when a back injury does not result in immediate immobility), and anyone experiencing these symptoms in the days or weeks following a crash should seek medical attention immediately.
10. Traumatic Brain Injuries
Similar to spinal cord injuries, there are many different types of traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and these injuries can vary greatly in their immediate and long-term effects. That said, there is no such thing as a “minor” brain injury, and anyone who has experienced the symptoms of a TBI should seek medial attention right away. Types of traumatic brain injuries that can result from car accidents include:
- Concussion – Concussions can result from a direct blow to the head or from violent movement of the head in the event of a collision. Although concussions range in severity, even “mild” concussions have the potential for long-term damaging effects.
- Contusion – Contusions are bruises on the brain that typically result from direct impact to the head. While some brain contusions, like other bruises, can heal on their own over time, others may need to be surgically removed in order to prevent potentially-serious complications.
- Coup-Contrecoup – A coup-contrecoup injury occurs when the brain impacts the skull and then bounces back and makes a second impact on the opposite side. The effects can be similar to those of concussions and contusions.
- Diffuse Axonal Injury – Diffuse axonal injuries occur when shaking of the head causes the axons connecting various parts of the brain to tear due to the shearing or rotational forces involved. These injuries can cause widespread damage and potentially lead to long-term cognitive disabilities.
- Hematoma – A hematoma is an injury that involves the pooling of blood inside of the brain. There are different types of hematomas characterized by the location of the pooling (epidural, subdural, subarachnoid, and intracerebral), each with its own potential effects and complications.
Discuss Your Legal Rights with a Chicago Car Accident Attorney at Malman Law
If you have been injured in a car accident in Chicago and you would like more information about your legal rights, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To discuss your insurance claim with one of our experienced attorneys, call 888-625-6265 or tell us about your accident online now.