If someone else’s negligence caused your internal bleeding in a car accident, contact The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs immediately to learn about your legal options. You might be entitled to compensation for your hospitalization, surgical procedures, and other expenses.
Internal bleeding occurs when blunt force trauma to the body or a penetrating injury. High-impact collisions can cause significant damage to internal organs. A fractured rib might pierce a nearby organ, causing bleeding. Determining the source of the bleeding and promptly repairing it is crucial.
At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, we understand the long-term effects of getting hurt in a car accident. It can result in expensive medical bills and a long and painful recovery. You deserve to hold the at-fault party liable for the harm they caused. Call our Lakewood car accident attorneys at (253) 588-6696 for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help.
What Is Internal Bleeding?
Internal bleeding is bleeding occurring inside the body. Unlike external injuries, internal ones are difficult to notice. When you cut your finger, the blood is visible. You know what happened and can take the necessary steps to attend to the injury.
However, internal bleeding is more challenging to diagnose. Organ damage, broken bones, trauma, and certain medical conditions can lead to internal bleeding.
Common Causes of Internal Bleeding
The body experiences significant forces and a sudden change in momentum during a car accident. The impact of a crash can cause various injuries. Internal bleeding occurs when something damages the outer walls of the blood vessels responsible for circulating blood to organs throughout the body.
Typically, the blood clots and stops internal bleeding when the damage is minor. The blood vessels can’t resolve extensive damage on their own, though, which makes medical intervention necessary.
Some medical conditions weaken the walls of blood vessels, making them more susceptible to tearing. However, most internal bleeding results from external physical trauma. The most common causes include:
- Penetrating injuries – A penetrating injury occurs when something punctures the skin and muscle, penetrating the internal body space. For example, a shard of glass from a broken windshield can pierce the skin during a car crash, damaging internal organs. A penetrating injury often affects blood vessels, leading to internal bleeding.
- Blunt force – Blunt force trauma is trauma to the body caused by an external force. In a car crash, a driver can hit their head on the steering wheel or smash their arm against the door. The physical impact doesn’t necessarily puncture the skin but can affect the blood vessels and internal organs.
- Deceleration injuries – A deceleration injury occurs when the body is in motion and stops suddenly. The sudden change in momentum violently thrusts the body forward until something like an airbag stops it. Blood vessels can get pinched or squeezed against nearby bones, causing them to rupture.
- Compression injuries – A compression injury is like blunt force trauma. However, it results from an external force squeezing or compressing an internal organ. The compression often damages blood vessels, leading to internal bleeding.
- Broken bones – Bone marrow is soft, fatty tissue inside bones containing cells that produce platelets and blood cells. A fracture can damage the blood vessels in the bone marrow, triggering internal bleeding.
Common Symptoms of Internal Bleeding
Since internal bleeding isn’t visible, the signs are difficult to spot. Despite how you feel after a car crash, seeking immediate treatment is essential. A doctor can conduct tests to determine whether you have internal injuries.
Blood is critical to the functioning of organs and bodily systems. Internal bleeding disrupts blood circulation, causing various symptoms throughout the body. The symptoms aren’t always apparent in the moments after a car crash. However, they can be more noticeable over time.
The most common symptoms of internal bleeding include:
- Passing out
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe headache
- Shortness of breath
- Low blood pressure
- Severe weakness
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Chest pain
- Severe abdominal pain
- Acute visual problems
Untreated internal bleeding can lead to coma, organ failure, or death. Severe internal bleeding can also result in death despite medical intervention.
Compensation for Internal Bleeding After a Car Accident
In Washington, resident drivers must carry auto insurance with minimum liability limits of:
- $25,000 for injury or death to one person in an accident
- $50,000 for total injuries or death to all people in an accident
- $10,000 for damage to someone else’s property in an accident
You can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurer for compensation for losses arising from your internal bleeding. If you can’t come to a settlement agreement, you might file a lawsuit to recover the monetary award you’re entitled to. Whether you file a claim or lawsuit, the compensation you obtain might cover your:
- Mental anguish
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Emergency room visits, surgical costs, prescriptions, and other medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Cost of acquiring substitute domestic services
- Repair or replacement of personal property
If your loved one died from internal bleeding in a car accident someone else caused, you might be eligible to pursue compensation in a wrongful death case. Only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The financial award benefits the surviving family, such as a spouse or child.
The money recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit might compensate for:
- The value of lost household services your family member would have provided
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost care, training, love, companionship, and affection your loved one can no longer provide
- Lost financial support your family member would have contributed to relatives
- Final medical bills
Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
If you sue someone for causing your internal bleeding in a car crash, the time you have to initiate your lawsuit is limited. The statute of limitations in Washington allows a three-year timeframe to file suit. That means you must file your lawsuit against the at-fault party within three years of the accident date.
The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases also allows a three-year timeframe for filing. The personal representative of the deceased’s estate has three years from the date of the death to initiate a lawsuit.
Get Justice with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Lakewood
The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs has represented injured clients since 1952. We will aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve and fight by your side until the end.