Abdominal Injuries from a Car Accident
The abdominal area lacks any bony structural protections, which means it is vulnerable to a wide range of injuries. Injuries due to blunt and penetrating abdominal trauma are common in motor vehicle crashes, being struck by an object, falls from a height, motorcycle crashes, pedestrian-auto accidents, and contact sports.
Abdominal injuries should always be taken seriously, and if severe, require immediate and ongoing medical attention. Many of these injuries will require extensive rest to heal, ensuring you’re out of work for weeks or months.
If you have suffered an abdominal injury because of another party’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help you pursue a personal injury claim and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Abdominal Structures Susceptible to Injury
The abdominal cavity, the space between the chest and pelvic region, includes the following structures:
- Abdominal wall made up of muscles
- Solid organs (liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, ovaries, uterus)
- Hollow organs (stomach, small intestine, colon, gall bladder, ureters, bladder)
- Blood vessels
Penetrating or blunt trauma can result in abdominal injuries to any one or combination of these structures. Abdominal injuries can range in severity from minor strains to internal bleeding or abdominal compartment syndrome, which can be life-threatening.
Blunt trauma to the abdomen can occur in a few ways, including a direct blow or impact with an object, or a sudden decrease in speed. Because the abdomen is primarily supported by muscles, it is susceptible to strains and tears. Minor injuries from the lap seatbelt, steering wheel, or another object can result in bruising, swelling, and discomfort.
Blunt trauma to the abdominal area can also result in injuries to internal organs. Solid organs are most susceptible to injury when blunt abdominal trauma occurs and the most commonly damaged organs are the spleen and liver. Serious injuries to internal organs can be fatal if not caught by a physician and treated as soon as possible after the trauma.
Injury to the liver can be life-threatening given its role in bodily function, size, and propensity to hemorrhage. The liver can tear, bruise, create hematomas, leak bile, or cause internal bleeding. Splenic ruptures require immediate medical attention and are one of the leading causes of death from abdominal injuries.
A penetrating trauma occurs when an object breaks the skin and enters the body. A penetrating object may or may not penetrate the peritoneum, which is the layer of membrane that covers abdominal organs. Both solid and hollow organs are at risk of harm from penetrating injuries.
More severe penetrating abdominal injuries can cause internal bleeding, which increases the risk of shock and death. The small intestine, or bowel, is most likely to be hurt in a penetrating injury, and can result in a bowel obstruction, an abscess, and infection. A penetrated bowel will require surgery to prevent peritonitis and septic shock.
Not every abdominal injury presents itself immediately. There may be damage that hides from physicians and shows itself later, including an obstruction, abscess, ruptured hematoma, or abdominal compartment syndrome.
Scar tissue forms after an injury to the body, but scar tissue around the small intestine can end up twisting and blocking the bowel. This can cause extreme abdominal pain and vomiting and an obstruction may require surgery to fix.
An abscess is a collection of pus that can cause a bacterial infection. This type of injury can form in and around the organs in the abdomen. If left untreated, it can not only lead to infection but hurt the organs and blood vessels near it. Additionally, the infection can spread into the blood stream, which can be fatal.
Hematomas are collections of blood outside of vessels. These collections of blood can rupture days or months after the initial injury. If the hematoma is in the liver or spleen, it can cause massive bleeding into the abdomen. Hematomas in the intestinal wall can perforate causing contents to leak into the abdomen, which can cause inflammation of the peritoneum known as peritonitis.
Abdominal compartment syndrome occurs when swelling within the abdomen increases the pressure too much within the body and restricts blood flow to the organs. This causes pain and organ damage, and is more likely to occur in people who suffered severe abdominal injuries in a car accident or who required surgery to correct an abdominal injury.
Symptoms of Abdominal Injuries:
- Abdominal pain or tenderness
- Abdominal distention or swelling
- Difficulty with urination
- Changes in bowel function or bloating
- Temperature or blood pressure changes
- Weak or rapid pulse
- Cold or clammy skin
- Nausea or vomiting
Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney
If you have experienced an abdominal injury in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900 for help. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can guide you through the legal process¬–from filing the initial claim to negotiating a settlement or taking your case to court. We will protect your rights and fight to secure the compensation you deserve for your injuries.