When people think about “car wreck injuries,” the stereotypical thing that usually comes to mind is a neck injury or back injury from the jolt of the crash itself and a sudden stop. People usually don’t think about facial injuries – like broken jaws, shattered eye sockets, damaged teeth and similar wounds.
Perhaps they should. When vehicles collide, the forces involved can cause severe damage to the face, leading to both immediate and long-term complications. The following challenges too often lead to such injuries.
While airbags are essential safety features in vehicles, they can also contribute to facial injuries. In the event of a collision, the rapid deployment of airbags can also result in facial trauma, as the forceful inflation and subsequent deflation can cause abrasions, fractures and lacerations to the face.
Flying debris and shattered glass damage
During a car wreck, the force of impact can cause windows to shatter, sending debris and shards of glass flying around the passenger compartment. These fragments can cause deep cuts and even penetrating injuries.
Steering wheel and dashboard injuries
When a vehicle comes to an abrupt stop during a collision, the forward momentum of the vehicle’s occupants can cause their faces to collide with the steering wheel or dashboard. The hard surfaces of these vehicle components can lead to injuries ranging from “mere” bruises to fractures and dislocations. There can be significant soft tissue damage, bone fractures and dental injuries, requiring immediate medical attention and potential reconstructive surgery.
Secondary injuries related to facial trauma
Facial injuries sustained in car wrecks can have secondary effects that exacerbate the damage. For example, fractures to the facial bones can lead to airway obstruction or breathing difficulties if the structures shift or collapse. Infections, which can even sink into the bone, are also potential issues. Plus, the emotional and psychological impact of facial disfigurement should not be underestimated, as it can affect someone’s self-esteem and overall quality of life and even lead to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Understanding how these injuries occur can help raise awareness about the importance of road safety measures, such as wearing seatbelts correctly, adjusting headrests appropriately and following traffic rules. Yet, not all accidents can be prevented, nor can all injuries be avoided. If you suffer facial injuries in a wreck, know that compensation for your losses may be available and that you can seek legal assistance to explore your options at any time.