AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT SUPPORT NETWORK

Of Wisconsin, Dane County

A non-profit resource to provide information to people involved in auto accidents

What Should I do After an Accident?

Document everything, including: pictures of injuries, vehicle damages, etc... Download our auto accident organizer and check list to help stay organized for easy reference.

How To Obtain a Traffic Accident Report

To Get a Traffic Accident Report, here’s what you must do: Contact the police agency that investigated the auto accident. If you can’t recall the investigating officer’s department

Seek Medical Treatment

Most insurance company will cover 100% of your treatment with no deductible or copay. Wisconsin laws even let's you pick any doctor you want, so you can avoid in-network copays.

Get Support Recommendations

Need help finding legal assistance, medical care, or auto body repair services?
Contact our auto accident support team today!

Types Of Auto Accident Injuries

Injuries from motor vehicle accidents can vary from minor scrapes and bruises to much more serious injuries. Often accidental injuries affect each body part a little differently. Treatment options and recovery times after injuries also differ depending on the body part and the severity of the injury.

Starting with the head and working down to the toe, this is what medical professionals have noticed

Head and brain injuries — Both drivers and passengers are vulnerable to head injuries due to hitting a windshield, side window, roof, steering wheel, loose objects or other people. A very common injury is a concussion, which is caused by a blow to the head. With a concussion, also known as a traumatic brain injury, your brain bounces around inside your skull.
This can cause chemical changes in your brain. You may not notice any symptoms right away.

Facial injuries — Hitting the steering wheel, airbag, another part of the car or a loose object can injure facial skin, teeth, and the bones underneath.

Neck injuries — Whiplash, for example, is common in rear or side impact crashes. The force of the accident causes your neck to snap quickly. Injuries range from mild neck strain to dislocation of vertebrae.
Collarbone and rib injuries — In a major accident, your body’s weight can quickly press forward against the shoulder belt which can injure your collarbone. In more serious crashes, rib injuries can also occur.
Back and spinal cord injuries — Back and spine injuries can be some of the worst injuries occurring in the accident. With the vehicle quickly turning this way and that way, the small discs along your spine can be twisted or pushed out of alignment, or your spine can even be fractured. Spinal cord injuries can result in reduced feeling or function loss in extremities. Along with injuries to the spine, soft tissues such as back muscles and tendons can be strained or pulled. Ligaments can be sprained.
Internal injuries — Wearing the lap belt wrong can cause internal injuries as your entire body weight is rapidly pressed against the belt. During an accident, you can sustain injuries to muscles and many organs. If you have pain in your torso after an accident, you should quickly see a medical professional. Internal injuries can cause internal bleeding, which needs immediate medical care.
Lower extremity injuries —. Common injuries include leg, knee and foot sprains, strains and broken bones.

Psychological injuries — A traumatic event can cause mental health issues, too. Both the driver and passengers in the motor vehicle can have issues such as posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression.

Concussions injuries — IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CONCUSSIONS
Concussions can be very serious, these injuries are often missed. A concussion may occur from a blow to the head directly (from hitting the windshield, dash, steering wheel, headrest, etc.). This is called “coup” and may result in swelling or bruising of the brain, which is very serious, and could ultimately lead to permanent brain injury, or death.

However there is another type that could happen without hitting your head on anything. For example, if your head suddenly changes it’s direction (such as in whiplash) and the brain is still moving inside your skull, and the skull suddenly reverses direction, that momentum continues to move the brain forward until it actually hits the skull inside. This is called “counter coup.”
HEAD AND FACIAL INJURIES

Head and brain injuries — Both drivers and passengers are vulnerable to head injuries due to hitting a windshield, side window, roof, steering wheel, loose objects or other people. A very common injury is a concussion, which is caused by a blow to the head. With a concussion, also known as a traumatic brain injury, your brain bounces around inside your skull. This can cause chemical changes in your brain. You may not notice any symptoms right away.

  • Symptoms such as headache, neck pain, nausea or dizziness can be due to a concussion. Sometimes the symptoms can take days or weeks to appear.
  • Treatment: See a doctor especially if symptoms are present. If the symptoms are more severe, you may need to go to the hospital. You could have bleeding in the brain, which is a medical emergency.
  • Recovery: Depending on the severity, most patients notice symptoms start to disappear in 2 to 3 weeks after sustaining the injury. The recovery from bleeding under the skull is more complicated and depends on how severe the concussion was.

Facial injuries — Hitting the steering wheel, airbag, another part of the car or a loose object can injure facial skin, teeth, and the bones underneath.

  • Treatment: You may need stitches depending on how severe the cut is. For more serious injuries, such as broken facial bones, surgery may be needed.
  • Recovery: Scrapes and bruises will take a few days to weeks to heal. Surgical repairs will take longer and may take weeks to months to heal.
NECK and BACK INJURIES:

Neck injuries: Whiplash, for example, is common in rear or side impact crashes. The force of the accident causes your neck to snap quickly. Injuries range from mild neck strain to dislocation of vertebrae.

  • Treatment: It is recommended to get checked out by a professional - medical, chiropractic, or otherwise. Mild neck strain can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. A dislocation or other serious vertebrae injuries may require surgery.
  • Recovery: Whiplash symptoms can last weeks depending on the severity. Recovery from surgery will vary depending on the procedure needed, but full recovery can take months.

Collarbone and rib injuries — In a major accident, your body’s weight can quickly press forward against the shoulder belt which can injure your collarbone. In more serious crashes, rib injuries can also occur.

  • Treatment: Visit a medical professional. A broken collarbone can heal on its own, but usually the medical professional will immobilize it with special braces. If the damage is bad enough, surgery may be needed.
  • Recovery: The healing process takes anywhere from 6-16 weeks

Back and spinal cord injuries — Back and spine injuries can be some of the worst injuries occurring in the accident. With the vehicle quickly turning this way and that way, the small discs along your spine can be twisted or pushed out of alignment, or your spine can even be fractured. Spinal cord injuries can result in reduced feeling or function loss in extremities. Along with injuries to the spine, soft tissues such as back muscles and tendons can be strained or pulled. Ligaments can be sprained.

  • Treatment: See a chiropractor, medical, or alternative professional to get an accurate diagnosis. For minor back pain - rest, along with ice/heat applications, and over the counter pain medicine is recommended. There are a number of treatment options for back pain. The more severe injuries, for example, a spinal cord injury, broken bones, or muscle tears, may require surgery.
  • Recovery: Minor muscle strains should heal in a couple of weeks. Muscle tears that require surgery may need therapy and take months to heal. Bones that are surgically repaired typically require 3 to 4 months to fully heal. With spinal injuries, your body does most of its healing in the first 6 months after the injury. However, physical functions that do not heal in the first year after the injury, will likely not return.
OTHER INJURIES

Internal injuries — Wearing the lap belt wrong can cause internal injuries as your entire body weight is rapidly pressed against the belt. During an accident, you can sustain injuries to muscles and many organs. If you have pain in your torso after an accident, you should quickly see a medical professional. Internal injuries can cause internal bleeding, which needs immediate medical care.

  • Symptoms: Abdominal pain and/or swelling, dizziness or fainting, developing an area of deep purple skin, headache, seizures, or loss of consciousness.
  • Treatment: For muscle strains, we may recommend RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). If minimal internal bleeding is suspected, the doctor may observe the patient to see if the bleeding will stop on its own. For severe internal bleeding, surgery may be required.
  • Recovery: Times will vary widely depending on the extent of the injuries and the treatment required. In the case of internal bleeding, the best outcomes result when prompt professional medical care is received.

Lower extremity injuries —. Common injuries include leg, knee and foot sprains, strains and broken bones.

  • Treatment: As the severity of the injuries is not known all at once, it is recommended to get medical, chiropractic, or alternative professional treatment. For minor injuries, we may recommend RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and over-the-counter pain relievers. For broken bones, a cast is usually applied by a medical professional, however, surgery may be required in more severe cases.
  • Recovery: A broken leg can take 6 to 8 weeks to heal. Healing time depends on the severity of injuries and the general health of the person.

Psychological injuries — A traumatic event can cause mental health issues, too. Both the driver and passengers in the motor vehicle can have issues such as post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression.

  • Treatment: Seeing a mental health professional can help. They may suggest anxiety management, medication, meditation, or other tools to help reduce anxiety.
  • Recovery: There is no set time frame for recovery from psychological trauma. Seeking guidance from a mental health care professional about the mental aspects of recovery can be helpful.

Did you know personal injury support can vary by state?

Frequently Asked Questions

HOW TO DEAL WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY

Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging and scary. We have compiled some important things for you to know before you start.
For your convenience, we are breaking insurance into 2 topics. First and most important are the “rules” when dealing with insurance companies. Second, we will discuss the different types of insurance and how they work…

HOW TO SELECT A CHIROPRACTOR

Below, we have compiled an impressive list of highly skilled Chiropractors in the state of Wisconsin who also perform physical therapy. We feel it is important to do both for a full recovery. We also know it is easiest to do them both at the same time and same clinic to save travel time, money…

FINDING AN THE RIGHT ATTORNEY

Do I need an attorney? Sometimes you do, sometimes you do not. If you are at fault, have insurance and the damage is minimal, then you probably do not…

HOW TO OBTAIN A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT REPORT

The traffic accident report is a vital written document which records the facts and circumstances surrounding a traffic accident. The date and time of the incident, property damage, passenger and driver injuries, and the names of witnesses are all contained in the accident report…

SELECTING A DOCTOR

You should go to the Emergency Room right away if you have any of the following:
Broken bones (or suspect a broken bone)

Loss of consciousness or blacked out

Cuts that need stitches…

SELECTING A BODY SHOP

It is important that whoever works on your car uses authentic factory parts. There are cheaper parts that may actually be more dangerous in a new accident that could lead to more severe injuries or death…

Still have questions?