America is a big country. To get from one place to another, it is not uncommon to get behind the wheel of a car and drive for more than 15 minutes. In fact, according to AAA, drivers in American spend an average of 17,600 minutes driving every year. That is more than 293 hours or more than 12 days. If you live in the South or the Midwest, or if you live in a rural area, these numbers are even higher.
With so much time spent on the road, it should come as no surprise that more auto accidents happen on the roads in the United States than in many other countries. Unfortunately, every accident – even minor fender benders – has the potential to seriously hurt those involved. That is why it is important to have a personal injury attorney who represents those who were victims in car accidents in Philadelphia, like the attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian.
Auto Accidents Are Common
Because we are on the road so much, auto accidents are unfortunately common part of our life. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that, in 2015 alone, there were nearly 6,300,000 motor vehicle crashes that were reported to police. Of course, the total number of auto accidents that happened in the country is likely even higher, as many minor crashes go unreported.
The human toll of these auto crashes is significant. The Association for Safe International Travel (ASIRT) claims that more than 37,000 people die in the United States every year in auto accidents. Another 2.35 million people are hurt, with many of those injuries life-altering.
Additionally, the economic cost of treating the injuries of car accident victims is steep. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are approximately 2.5 million emergency room visits from car accidents every year, with each one costing an average of $3,000. If the injuries suffered in the crash are more serious, and require more treatment than the emergency room can provide, the typical cost of a longer hospital stay jumps to nearly $60,000. ASIRT estimates that, every year, car accidents in the United States cost a total of $230.6 billion, or $820 per person on average.
Auto Crashes Are Serious
Considering how common car accidents are and how many people they impact, it should not come as a surprise that the injuries frequently suffered in an auto crash are serious. In the most severe car accidents, victims can suffer a myriad number of significant injuries. In even a small and low-speed crash, though, drivers, passengers, and bystanders can get hurt, as well.
Possibly the most significant type of injury that is typical of a car accident is a head injury. Even small jolts can result in your brain impacting the inside of your skull and causing a concussion. Even if these concussions seem to be minor in the short term, they can have terrible long term symptoms that can drastically impact your life.
Another serious injury that is common in a car accident is a spinal cord injury. Because your spine houses many of the nerves that connect your body to your brain, even a slight injury to your spine can change how you live on a day-to-day basis.
Bruises and broken bones are also common injuries to suffer in an auto accident. The jolt of a collision with another vehicle can knock you to the side and into the interior of your own car, even if you are buckled in. This contact can result in a bruise or, worse, a fracture or broken bone that could take surgery to correct.
Cuts, scrapes, and severe lacerations are also common injuries in a car crash. This is true especially the metal or plastic of the vehicles involved bends and breaks, or whenever glass gets shattered. In the immediate aftermath of a car crash, these injuries can be life-threatening. In the long term, they can result in permanent disfigurements that require plastic surgery to treat effectively.
Finally, an often-overlooked injury in auto accidents is whiplash. The muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your core, neck, and back are all susceptible to the strain of whiplash. Worse, these muscles play a huge part in your daily life, making whiplash injuries especially debilitating.
What to Do After an Auto Accident
If you get involved in an auto accident and are not seriously hurt, there are a handful of things that you can do to help your cause in the long run.
First, ensure that everyone else is okay and notify emergency personnel of the accident by calling 911. Mention the number of vehicles, if anyone seems to be hurt from the crash, and if there are any liquids coming out of the vehicles involved. This helps the dispatcher send the proper personnel.
After emergency crews begin to arrive, stay out of their way as they handle the situation. However, if you have a camera on hand, take pictures of the wreck. They can be used as evidence if needed.
As the intense situation dies down, take down the information of those who were involved and anyone who saw the crash, first-hand. This includes the name, address, phone number, and insurance company of other people involved in the crash and the contact information of any witnesses.
Throughout this process, be careful not to say anything about who was at fault for the crash. In the immediate aftermath, the most important thing is everyone's safety. Determining fault is for later.
Auto Accident Attorneys in Philadelphia
The personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian handle car accidents in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. We understand that car crashes can result in some of the most debilitating injuries for you or your loved ones, and make it our goal to fight for your rights and interests both in and out of court. Contact our law office in Philadelphia online or at (800) 529-6162 for the legal representation you need to get the compensation you deserve.