Any injury suffered in a car accident is a big deal, even if it is “only” a cut or scrape. Surely, there are more serious injuries that someone could sustain in an accident than a mere laceration? In truth, the seriousness of deep lacerations and the complications that arise from them should not be underestimated.
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How Lacerations Happen in Car Accidents
It is not difficult to imagine how a laceration may occur in a car accident. In an accident, our bodies are thrust and bounced around the interior of the car. Any item, even if it is not considered a sharp item, can easily cause a cut or laceration.
In more serious accidents, people can be ejected from vehicles, especially when they are not wearing a seat belt. Often being ejected from a car means going through broken glass, which can cause not just serious cuts and lacerations, but severe nerve damage, as well.
Being ejected from a car also means landing on the ground, at a high speed, or from a distance in the air. Colliding with pavement or cement on the ground can easily tear skin and cause serious wounds.
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Types of Lacerations
We tend to think of every cut or laceration as being the same, but medically, lacerations are categorized. Aside from cut lacerations, which is the cutting of skin by a sharp object, such as metal, glass, or pavement on the ground, there are other types of lacerations:
- Stretching: A stretching laceration is exactly as it sounds; the skin tears because it is being stretched farther than it can stretch. This kind of laceration is not common in everyday life, but it does happen in accidents. Imagine, for example, a heavy object (like a tire or car door) landing on someone’s arm, and falling away, pulling the skin underneath it. There may not be any major internal injury, but the pulling of the skin in opposite directions causes a stretching laceration.
- Degloving: These kinds of injuries often happen to hands and arms, but can also happen to feet and legs. A degloving injury is the same as pulling a glove off. The skin is torn off of the arm or a finger. This can happen by having a heavy object land on it, but it can also happen by being dragged across pavement. The dragging along the pavement for a good distance peels away the skin. These kinds of injuries, where tissue is actually torn from the body, are also called avulsions.
- Split Lacerations: These are lacerations that involve crushing forces, which destroy the skin and muscle at the site of the pressure.
Just reading some of the types of lacerations should give you the idea that lacerations are not always minor, and that many should be considered quite serious and potentially life-altering injuries.
Long-Term Concerns from Deep Lacerations
One long term effect of a deep laceration injury is scarring. The extent of scarring can depend on someone’s genetics, the location of the laceration and the type of medical treatment received right after the injury.
- Scarring: Scarring can be minor and unnoticeable, but can also be so major that it affects someone’s psyche for years. Major and visible scarring can affect self-confidence and change someone’s perception of who they are. Although some scarring can be surgically removed, in most cases, multiple surgeries are needed, and there will always be some evidence of a wound at the laceration site.
- Blood Loss: Blood loss is the most immediate concern after someone has suffered a major laceration. A cut that is gushing blood and which goes untreated can lead the victim to go into shock and can become a life-threatening problem.
- Infection: Major lacerations may remain open for some time during the healing process. Open wounds may need to be packed with gauze or have stitches inserted and reinserted. One of the concerns while this is going on is infection. The wound leaves the insides of our bodies open to bacterial invasion. Additionally, the warm, moist areas at and around the laceration site during healing are breeding grounds for infectious bacteria. In some cases, an infection that is left untreated can lead to the loss of an arm or leg.
- Nerve Damage: When lacerations are deep, they do not just injure the skin, but they also affect the underlying nerves, leading to long term and permanent nerve damage. Even after a laceration has cosmetically healed, a victim may be left with loss of feeling at the laceration site, and in some cases, a complete loss of use of a muscle. For example, a facial laceration that severs facial nerves may leave a victim unable to completely smile, frown, or control parts of the face.
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Getting Medical Help
Remember that after an accident, you may have no idea how bad or significant a laceration is just by looking. Do not think that you have sustained “just a scrape,” especially if your laceration has blood spurting out (a sign that an artery or vein may have been injured), or bleeding does not stop by itself after five to 10 minutes.
A simple laceration may only qualify as a minor injury under Ontario’s insurance laws, but many lacerations are more serious, involving damage to tissues and nerves, or which may include major scarring or infection, or which may need multiple surgeries. Getting medical help as soon as possible and following up with your doctor will not only make sure that you heal properly but will help document your injuries to an insurance company if you need to make a claim for damages.
Preszler Law Can Help You
The injury lawyers at Preszler Law Firm can help you investigate your case and provide evidence to help you obtain the benefits and damages that you are legally entitled to. Call us today to discuss your injuries and your accident.