Internal injuries refer to wounds that occur to major thoracic or abdominal organs. When an organ is severely damaged in an accident, it can lead to organ failure of one of one or more of the major functions of the body. How a vehicle accident victim is affected by damage to a major organ depends upon the severity of the injury and its location.
Causes of Internal Organ DamageThere are many types of accidents that can result in internal organ damage. Most of them are preventable. Vehicle accidents – far and away the largest cause – lead the list of the most common accidents that cause internal organ damage. Others can include:
- Contact sports injuries
- Electrical shock
- Surgical errors
- Medication side effects
- Drownings and near-drownings.
Brain InjuryA sudden jolt or blow to the head can cause the brain to be violently pushed against the inside of the skull. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be as mild as a slight concussion or severe enough to cause permanent brain damage, paralysis, and even death. Many times someone who suffers a TBI appears to recover relatively quickly. But other times, blood will slowly seep from the damaged area of the brain and build up inside the skull, placing pressure on the brain that – if not corrected by emergency surgery – can kill or permanently disable the victim. An overwhelming body of research over the past 15 years has found that repeated mild concussions (like the type boxers, football, soccer, and hockey players experience) lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE has also been undeniably linked to the development of dementia. Anoxia and Hypoxia, which result in the brain’s being oxygen-starved, can not only cause irreparable (or fatal) brain damage, but also seriously harm internal organs (most notably the heart, lungs and liver) and cause cerebral palsy.
Chest InjuriesThe chest (the thoracic area of the body) holds some of our most vital organs, such as the heart and lungs. Chest injuries can occur from broken ribs that splinter and puncture these vital organs. Deep bruising of the heart and lungs without the occurrence of broken bones (and subsequent splintering) can be just as dangerous. Blood can seep from these injured areas and accumulate over a period of days or even weeks until emergency surgery becomes necessary in order to save the victim’s life.
Abdominal InjuriesAccidents and surgical errors can cause damage to important organs like the stomach, spleen, intestines, kidneys and liver – which alone is involved in over 50 vital bodily functions. A punctured or ruptured intestine or bowel can lead to infections and produce a potentially fatal injury called sepsis, which can lead to shock, shutting down some bodily functions completely: requiring emergency lifesaving surgery; and a possible extended recovery.
Symptoms of Internal InjuriesThere are many warning signs that an injured victim is experiencing internal injuries. And though the list is long, some of the most common symptoms can include:
- Abdominal swelling, or noticeable swelling in other areas where an affected organ has been damaged
- Discolored skin or deep bruising in or near the affected organ
- Tightness or, in some cases, tingling in the affected body part
- Nausea, especially if a brain injury has occurred
- Severe headaches or vision difficulties – also most often associated with TBI
- Lightheadedness or, in some cases, fainting.
Legal Damages for Internal Organ Damage that May be Recoverable in KentuckyIf you have suffered injury or a loved one has suffered a wrongful death due to internal organ damage caused by the negligence of others, you are entitled to demand any of the following damages from the person or entities responsible for the accident:
- All your medical bills for as long as you’re being treated – or rehabilitated – from your injury
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity if you are permanently disabled
- Wrongful death damages, including survivor damages for family members.