Following a car accident, if you are injured, you will typically see diagnoses like low back pain or neck pain, whiplash, cervicalgia, etc. Over the past 20 years, I have seen those diagnoses, on a fairly regular basis. In the past 2 decades, I have also seen some less common diagnoses, that have taught me to keep my eyes open, when reviewing medical records, to make sure my clients are fully compensated for the damages they sustain, following a car accident, motorcycle accident, trucking accident, or any other accident, potentially producing uncommon injuries. Following is a list of some of the more uncommon injuries, following an accident.
Conjunctivitis, also more commonly known as pink eye, according to https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pink-eye, "is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball. When small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed, they're more visible. This is what causes the whites of your eyes to appear reddish or pink." Sadly, I was a victim of the pink eye, many times, as a child. It was ALWAYS the result of a bacterial infection.
Several years ago, I represented a young man, who was injured in a car accident. The air bag exploded, into his face, upon impact and he went to the emergency room, for treatment of his injuries. He complained to the emergency room doctor about pain in his eye. The records noted that his eye was red and irritated, and he was diagnosed with conjunctivitis. I presented the medical records to the adjuster and he denied the portion of the bill for the conjunctivitis, pointing out that pink eye is caused by a bacterial infection. I did some research and found out that pink eye can also be caused by exposure of a chemical substance to the eye. When the airbag exploded, the chemicals from the airbag went into my client's eye and caused the pink eye. I was able to get the adjuster to consider the medical charges for the conjunctivitis and get my client the justice he deserved.
Tinnitus, according to https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus, "is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears….Tinnitus isn't a condition itself — it's a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder." Tinnitus can also follow a traumatic event, like a car accident or motorcycle accident. Accident victims, suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are also more likely to suffer from tinnitus, following an accident. Typically, the treatment for tinnitus is to wear noise cancelling hearing aids, to drown out the constant ringing or buzzing, for the remainder of the victim's life.
Recently, a Texas jury, awarded a young woman $300,000.00, for the physical impairment she would have to deal with for the rest of her life, following a car accident, where she suffered an ear injury, that left her with tinnitus. As you can see, clear hearing is a very valuable commodity, and this is a great example of why you should communicate with your doctor and personal injury attorney, following a car accident, regarding ALL of your symptoms, after the wreck.
3. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder, "is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event." As you can imagine, following a car accident, having to deal with physical pain, caused by the injuries in the accident, is almost too much, but trying to struggle through the emotional trauma of post-traumatic stress disorder, as well, can almost be too much for a victim to handle alone. To be able to claim this type of injury, following an accident, typically, it must be diagnosed by a medical professional and treated by a mental health professional.
I represented a client, who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, following a car accident. The impact of the vehicles was significant enough to total the vehicles. She was knocked out in the impact, when she came to, all she could hear was her great-grandson yelling, "Please don't be dead." She could hear the ultimate fear in his voice, and she could not move. She could not comfort him; she could not let him know she was alive; it was like she was trapped in her body and all she could do was listen to his heartbreak. For months, after the wreck, every time she closed her eyes, to go to sleep, all she saw was her totalled vehicle; all she heard was her great-grandson's screams; she felt as if she was trapped in her helpless body again. She sought counseling and over time, the post-traumatic stress disorder subsided, but this was one of the worst experiences of her life.
4. Necrotizing Fasciitis
Necrotizing Fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating bacteria, according to WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/necrotizing-fasciitis-flesh-eating-bacteria#1, "is a rare infection of the skin and tissues below it. It can be deadly if not treated quickly. Necrotizing fasciitis spreads quickly and aggressively in an infected person. It causes tissue death at the infection site and beyond." This bacterium is as scary as it sounds. It is very rare, but it is also very deadly and moves very quickly.
I had a client, following a motorcycle accident, develop necrotizing fasciitis. The infection started as a red spot on his inner thigh, which grew in size, quickly, was very warm to touch, and quickly developed a pustule, which burst. Even though he quickly sought treatment with a wound care specialist, the infection spread up his thigh and continued to very sensitive areas of his body. As you can imagine, he was very frightened and totally in shock that a motorcycle accident could lead to something so devastating.
5. TMJ Disorder
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2786231/, there is a controversy, in the medical community, regarding the development of TMJ, after suffering from whiplash, in a car accident, or other traumatic event. Some doctors have suggested that chronic jaw clicking and TMJ, after whiplash, is a phenomenon only in North America. People diagnosed with TMJ, usually first notice the issue, when chewing, because chewing is painful. With TMJ, you can also expect to suffer from earaches, headaches, pain in your jaw, and pain in your face, in general. TMJ can lead to decreased movement of the jaw, as well as joint sounds, like popping.
If you suffer from trauma and are treating for a neck injury, then it seems out of nowhere, that your jaw starts hurting, you definitely want to consult with your doctor and your personal injury attorney. I know I sound like a broken record, but every piece of evidence your personal injury attorney has to present to the jury (or adjuster) about how your life was effected by your accident, is another opportunity to increase your verdict (or settlement).
When you are injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, trucking accident, or any accident producing injuries, you want to make sure to explain EVERY symptom to your doctor, so that they have the tools necessary to properly treat and diagnose you. You also want to make sure you give your personal injury attorney a detailed description of everything you have suffered through, since your accident. By providing every detail possible to both your doctor and your personal injury attorney, you will be more likely to get full compensation for all injuries sustained in your accident, even if the injuries are not the typical injuries you see after a car accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident, or any other accident, resulting in injuries.