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Beneath the Surface: Identifying Hidden Signs of Internal Injuries

What You Need to Know:

Children, with their untethered imaginations, create beings and scenarios in their heads all the time that only they can see. Sometimes, though, this imagination can create invisible stressors, such as monsters living in the closet. It begs the question: How can something no one can see cause so much pain and trauma?

In the aftermath of an accident, the visible scars and bruises often demand our initial attention, while internal injuries, the silent threats within the body, often remain unnoticed. These “invisible” internal injuries are very much real, unlike the monsters in the closet— and they can cause lifelong pain and disability if not treated in a timely manner.

Beneath the Surface Identifying Hidden Signs of Internal Injuries

It’s extremely important to know what signs and symptoms of internal injuries to look for so that you or your loved ones can identify, address, and seek timely medical attention after a crash. Whether you’ve recently experienced a collision or are simply seeking knowledge to be better prepared, we are here to help you recognize the subtle yet serious signs of internal injuries after an accident.

Blunt Force and Penetrating Trauma Explained

Internal injuries can occur in two ways: by blunt force trauma or penetrative trauma. Blunt force trauma describes when a person’s body is forcefully impacted by an outside object. Contrarily, penetrating trauma occurs when an outside object penetrates or impales the skin, injuring the internal systems of the body. Penetrating injuries can be extremely severe and graphic. Injuries from blunt force trauma may take longer to notice if symptoms are delayed.

Internal injuries are serious injuries, meaning they are more complex and take longer to heal. When looking at the causes of internal injuries, this fact comes as no surprise. To learn more about serious injuries, watch our video:

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Inward Impact: Identifying the Different Types of Internal Injuries

Abdominal Injury

Abdominal injuries can occur to one or more organs contained in the abdomen. The abdomen contains vital digestive, urinary, and reproductive organs. Many blood vessels, including the body’s main artery, the aorta, are located in the abdomen as well.

The most common organs damaged in the abdomen are the kidney, spleen, or liver. Injury victims may also suffer abdominal aortic aneurisms, which occur when the walls of the aorta are weakened and begin to bulge. When an aortic aneurysm ruptures, the loss of blood can cause death.

Seatbelts can cause abdominal injuries as well. Don’t take that as permission to not wear one – seatbelts still prevent accident victims from major injuries and death. However, after the standardization of seatbelts in motor vehicles, the specific pattern of injury from seatbelts was coined the “Seatbelt Syndrome” and is indicative of internal injuries in 30% of cases.

Symptoms of abdominal injuries can include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Labored or noisy breathing
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tenderness of the abdomen area
  • Bruising and/or swelling
  • Protruding intestines
  • Hypovolemia (pale, cold, clammy skin)
  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhage (blood-stained vomit or urine)

Symptoms of aortic injuries can include:

  • Back or abdomen pain
  • Pulse felt around your belly button
  • Dizziness
  • Discolored skin
  • Shock
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Clammy skin
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
Symptoms of Abdonminal Injuries

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries occur when the brain hits the side of the skull or the skull is penetrated and fractured. Traumatic brain injuries range from mild to severe. Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries can require lifelong treatment and care. Extremely severe brain injuries can cause disabilities, coma, or even death.

The brain is well protected by the skull for a reason. This organ is arguably the most vital organ in the body, and each part of the brain controls a different function in our bodies. When an injury victim suffers a traumatic brain injury, they may act or think differently afterwards, depending on the severity of the injury or the area of the brain that was damaged.

Brain injury symptoms can be hard to track because they may not show up until much later after an incident. Symptoms of a brain injury can include:

  • Physical symptoms (slurring words, loss of consciousness, weakness, balance problems, etc.)
  • Thinking/remembering symptoms (confusion, forgetfulness, etc.)
  • Emotional/mood symptoms (irritability, anxiousness, etc.)

For a more in-depth list of brain injury symptoms, read our blog, “TBI Signs and Symptoms.” If you suspect you may have a traumatic brain injury, you can download our TBI Symptom Checklist for free.

Lung Injury

Lung damage from an accident can occur when there is bruising on the lung from blunt force trauma (pulmonary contusion), the lung is punctured (pneumothorax), or the lung collapses (atelectasis). Broken ribs can cause lung punctures, which lead to atelectasis, or collapsed lung. An injury victim could suffer a lung hernia after an accident, although it is rare.

Symptoms of a pulmonary contusion include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Bruising on the chest
  • Low blood pressure
  • Coughing up blood

Symptoms of a punctured or collapsed lung include:

  • Stabbing chest pain when breathing in
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bluish skin from lack of oxygen
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue

Bone Bruising or Fracture

Bone injuries can be extremely painful and disrupt an injury victim’s life. Bone bruises occur when something hits the bone with a lot of force and causes blood to be trapped under the surface of the bone. Bone fractures occur when something hits the bone with lots of force and breaks the bone.

There are many types of bone fractures that can occur after an incident. There are stable fractures, open fractures, transverse fractures, oblique fractures, and comminuted fractures.

Symptoms of bruised bones include:

  • Swelling and tenderness around the injured bone
  • Hard lump around the injured area
  • Stiffness
  • External bruising
  • Deformity

Symptoms of broken bones include:

  • Extreme pain on or around the injured area
  • Limited mobility
  • Swelling and external bruising
  • Numbness and tingling

Don't Face Internal Injuries Alone: Let Snellings Law Fight for Your Recovery

Now that you know the signs of internal injuries, you’ll be better equipped to address them with your doctor after a crash. Injuries, especially internal ones, can be devastating, both physically and emotionally. The recovery process can seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to navigate the road to recovery alone.

At Snellings Law, we understand the complexity and challenges that come with recovering from internal injuries. Our team is dedicated to advocating for victims and ensuring they receive the care and compensation they deserve. Whether you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury or other internal injuries due to a car crash, our experienced attorneys are here to guide you through the legal process and stay by your side each step of the way.

Internal Injury Lawyers

You don’t have to face this alone. Contact us today at (214) 387-0387 for a free strategy session with an attorney, and let us help you move forward with confidence towards a brighter future.

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