Most of the time, violent crashes cause severe injuries on the outside and inside. Bruising is one of the most common signs that someone has been in a collision.
This is a bruise when blood vessels under the skin are broken and crushed. Since the blood is trapped under the skin, dark red or purple marks show where it leaked. They might feel sore or swollen when you touch them.
Any part of the body can get bruised. People who have been in car accidents or other sudden, hard hits may have bruises on their skin, muscles, organs, breasts, bones, and brain.
Small bumps heal in about two weeks. But it can take months for some to disappear. They are red at first, then turn purple-blue, then yellow-green, and then disappear.
A doctor can determine what’s wrong with you and start treating you. So, if you’ve been in a car accident, it’s important to go to the hospital as soon as possible.
Bruise vs Contusion vs Hematoma
In medical terms, bruises are often called contusions, which come from the Latin word contests, which means “bruised” or “crushed.” Hematomas happen when a lot of blood builds up under the skin and in a muscle. The word “hematoma” comes from the Greek words for “blood” and “mass” or “tumor.” Instead of getting rid of the extra blood, the body makes a lump out of it. This might have to be drained by a doctor or nurse.
People usually think of surface-level injuries when they think of bruises. But deep inside the body, contusions can also happen.
Muscles in the legs and back are often bruised on the inside. Organs and tissues like the liver and spleen can be hurt if the abdomen is hit or crushed.
The following are signs of internal bruising:
- Weakness and pain
- Having bruises on the skin
- joints that don’t move as much as they should (muscle bruises)
- Blood started to pool around the wound (hematoma)
- Urine with blood in it (kidney bruise, bladder bruise)
How you treat bruises in the stomach and abdomen depends on where they are and how bad they are. A doctor may ask for overnight observation, bed rest, medication, intravenous (IV) fluids, blood transfusions, or surgery to drain excess fluid or find and stop the source of the bleeding.
Brain bleeding or a broken skull can be caused by a blow to the head or whiplash. A coup-contrecoup injury is a brain bruise. A coup is called a coup when the brain hits one side of the skull because of a blow. This is called a contrecoup when it hits the other side of the skull. This can happen more than once and cause severe damage to the brain in rollover accidents or accidents with multiple hits.
A hematoma can form between the skull and the brain, along the three membranes that protect the brain and inside the brain itself. These are called hematomas inside the brain. A subdural hematoma forms between the dura mater and the arachnoid mater. A subarachnoid hematoma forms between the arachnoid mater and the pia mater. A hematoma inside the brain is called an intracerebral hematoma.
A broken bone can be particularly painful. Most of the time, they take between one and two months to heal. Bone bruises can happen on any bone, but they usually happen on bones that are close to the skin, like the forearm or knee. Some of the signs of an injured joint are stiffness, swelling, pain, trouble using the joint, and torn ligaments. Your doctor may suggest that you wear a short-term brace or splint and eat more vitamin D and calcium.
Some of the people who come to us have had a sacral contusion or a coccyx contusion (i.e., your tailbone). This happens when the five bones of the sacrum, which is the lowest part of the spine, are hit directly, causing pain and swelling when sitting or lying down. If the sacrum is bruised, it can take a few weeks to heal. If it is broken, it can take a month or more.
When someone gets hit hard in the upper torso, they can get a chest contusion. This can happen when a person’s chest hits the steering wheel or when they are jerked against their seat belt in a car accident.
- A bruised heart (called a “myocardial contusion”), lung (called a “pulmonary contusion”), rib, or sternum from a car accident, a fall, or chest compressions during CPR is a very serious problem. If you don’t treat these, they can cause problems. Some of the signs are:
- Feeling sick or puking
- Pain that is very bad above the ribs
- I have a crackling feeling in my ribcage.
- Unusual movements in the chest
- Having trouble getting air or wheezing
- Discolored skin on the chest
- Speeding up the heart
- A low blood pressure
- Having to cough up blood or mucus
A doctor might order tests to find out more about what’s wrong. Some of the tests they can do are chest X-rays, CT scans, echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, and blood counts. If the heart is bruised, blood may need to be drained from the area, blood vessels may need to be fixed, or a pacemaker may be needed.
Seat Belt Injuries
Seat belts are designed to save lives. But the force of a crash can cause it to snap across a person’s chest as they jerk forward or to the side. Even though it may have saved your life, the crash still hurt you. After a car accident, a seat belt may leave a bruise or cut on the chest, neck, or stomach. The next day, you might feel tight and sore. Pain in the chest, the neck, or complications that are very bad are not.
Since they were first added to cars in the 1970s, airbags have saved many lives. Even though technology has come a long way since then, people can still get hurt by the force of the airbags when they hit them in a big or small car accident. Airbags can hurt the face, chest, arms, breasts, and other organs inside the body. Errors or problems with deployment can also make a person more likely to get hurt.
How to Take Care of Bumps
Ice the hurt area with an ice pack or a package of frozen vegetables (don’t put ice directly on your skin), and keep it higher than your heart. After 48 hours, heat the bruised area, like a warm washcloth, for a few minutes a few times a day to increase blood flow and help the skin heal.
Use acetaminophen instead of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin or ibuprofen, which slow blood clotting. You might need crutches if you hurt your leg badly enough that you can’t stand on it. Serious bruises may require medical care. Here are some situations when you should call a doctor:
- Possible broken bone
- Feeling sick or puking
- Elevated pulse
- Pale skin
- Short, shallow breaths
- Feeling dizzy or passing out
- Bruising happens for no reason that can be seen.
- A cut looks like it is infected.
- The bruise hurts and is under a fingernail or toenail.
- Long-lasting bruises
- Bruising that gets worse or spreads
- One or both legs hurt, feel numb, and are weak (back bruise)
- Having a lot of pain and swelling (especially if you take blood-thinning medication)
- Temperature over 100°F (or as directed by medical staff)
- Battle’s sign: a bruise behind the ear, which could be a sign of a broken skull.
Fractures can cause swelling and a lot of pain. In this case, the damage will probably be checked out with an X-ray. Call 911 if you have trouble breathing, have blood in your vomit, stools, or urine, or if you have a seizure.
Remember pain and bruises. After an Accident
Some injuries from a car accident, especially internal ones, may not show up immediately. After a car accident, soft tissue damage and nasty bruises are just as bad as open wounds. After a crash, getting help for your injuries is important as soon as possible.
How a lawyer for personal injuries can help
You can get a lot of money if you get hurt in a car accident because of someone else’s carelessness. Talk to a personal injury lawyer immediately to find out how much your claim might be worth and how to file for a settlement in the best way.
Remember that to get Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits from an insurance company in the state of Florida, you must follow the 14-day rule and get medical care for your injuries within two weeks of the accident. It would help if you acted as soon as possible to have the best chance of getting a settlement.
Accidents with cars can also make people feel bad. You might need to figure out what to do next or how to answer the questions from the insurance company. This could be your first big accident, making you feel stressed out.
Having a legal partner to help you through the process and talk to the insurance adjusters on your behalf can help ease that burden. Our injury lawyers and case managers are here to answer your questions and get you the money you need to move on with your life.