Common Injuries Sustained in Drunk Driving Accidents

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Two plastic models, side by side, one of a destroyed, green car, and the other of a man in a wheelchair.Alcohol affects everyone differently. Even when people are still within the legal blood alcohol content limit of under 0.79g/DL, their ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired.

Alcohol begins inhibiting reaction times, decision-making, and coordination right away, according to Healthline. Driving after any amount of alcohol is always a risk.

When accidents occur with these people who have chosen to take this chance, drunk driving accident lawyers are ready to help the victims.

When Do Most Drunk Driving Accidents Occur?

Most drunk driving accidents occur at night on the weekends. This is the time when most people consume alcohol, and it becomes the most dangerous time to be on the roads.

Drunk driving accidents also increase during the holidays, especially around New Year’s celebrations.

According to data from the United States Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, summer is the most dangerous season for drunk driving accidents, especially around the week of Independence Day.

People often underestimate the effects of alcohol on their systems, and they believe that they are safe to drive, but unfortunately, they are not, which is why it is always so important to have a designated driver.

The increase in drunk driving accidents is not only because of the increase in drunk drivers but the increase in traffic at these times. There is more tourist traffic during the summer, and people are more likely to take risks when they are on vacation in an unfamiliar area.

What Injuries Are Most Common in Drunk Driving Accidents?

Drunk driving accidents can cause many types of injuries depending on the type of accident and the vehicle driven. High speeds and victims traveling in smaller vehicles are at higher risk of serious injury. The most common injuries caused by drunk driving accidents are as follows:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Whiplash
  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Burns
  • Organ damage

Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain injuries are often devastating. They are a common cause of death or disability after motorcycle accidents.

They can range from mild to severe, depending on the nature of the accident. Concussions are common and can even occur without a direct hit to the head.

The rapid motion of an accident can cause the brain to move back and forth within the skull, causing a concussion.

Spinal Cord Damage

Damage to the spine completely changes the life of the injured person. They are still alive, but the life they had before the collision is over.

The resulting complete or partial paralysis affects not only the victim but their family as well. Loss of voluntary movement and sensation means the wounded party will need assistance in everyday tasks that they used to take for granted.

They will need caregivers and special equipment such as wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment. The financial burden can be just as crippling as the injury itself.

The emotional toll damages relationships and the victim’s sense of self-worth and autonomy have instantly vanished.


A neck sprain from being in a rear-end collision is called whiplash. This injury happens because your head is not restrained in your vehicle and rapidly moves back and forth like a cracking whip.

When hit from behind, your car is instantly jolted forward, and your unrestrained head falls back, hyperextending your neck. Immediately after this motion, your head is thrust forward, causing hyperflexion of your neck as your chin falls towards your chest.

All of this happens very quickly. It can also occur in head-on collisions, just in the opposite order.

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of whiplash can include the following:

  • neck and shoulder pain
  • stiffness
  • loss of mobility in the neck and shoulders
  • numbness traveling down the arms
  • dizziness
  • fatigue

These symptoms usually develop within the first few days after the injury. Most people take weeks to recover.

Some people suffer from chronic pain for years after the accident occurred. The severity of the injury and any preexisting conditions will increase the recovery time.

Broken Bones

The force of the impact alone often causes your bones to break, especially if you have an underlying condition such as osteoporosis. Smaller cars are especially vulnerable because they only have so much space to crumple before they close in on their passengers. Injuries from being crushed in motor vehicle accidents are extremely serious and require multiple surgeries and extended recovery times. They can even lead to amputation.


Broken glass and pieces of the vehicles involved in the accident quickly turn into shrapnel that causes cuts or tears in the skin. Many victims have to live with disfiguring scars and decreased range of motion in the areas surrounding their lacerations.


More serious motor vehicle collisions sometimes include fires and even explosions. Victims are often burned in these collisions and are left with painful scars, possible infections, and psychological trauma.

Organ Damage

Invisible life-threatening internal injuries may never fully heal.

High-speed accidents wreak havoc on delicate soft organs. These injuries leave truck accident victims with chronic pain and fatigue because of decreased organ function.

You may even find yourself on a transplant list.

Damaged organs take anywhere from weeks to years to mend and may require multiple surgeries and hospitalization. The most common organ damage sustained from trucking accidents are:

  • Bruised Kidneys – Your kidneys filter your blood of extra fluids and wastes. They keep your electrolytes balanced and remove excess acid from your body. They even help to control your blood pressure. Treatment for damage to one or both of these vital organs can require dialysis or surgery and possibly a transplant.
  • Collapsed Lung – Pressure on your chest from your seatbelt, airbag, or another impact can cause your ribs to fracture and puncture your lungs, causing them to collapse. The intense jolt of a collision can also cause atelectasis or pneumothorax.
  • Ruptured Spleen – The spleen is a highly vascular organ. It works to filter damaged or old red blood cells while also controlling the levels of platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells in circulation. Trucking accidents often cause damage to this organ. A ruptured spleen is common and can happen at the time of the accident or possibly weeks later, causing rapid internal bleeding. People who have had their spleen removed are at higher risk of infection.

Choose Tatum & Atkinson to Put Your Mind At Ease

Drunk driving accident injuries can leave you with a reduced quality of life. If you have been in a drunk driving accident, Tatum & Atkinson will work to get you reparations so you can focus on healing.

Stress after an accident will increase your recovery time. Your body releases the hormone cortisol as a result of stress, and cortisol increases pain and inflammation over time.

Let us minimize your stress by contacting us as soon as possible so we can handle the complexities of your case and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.

Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Right Away

For dependable and experienced legal representation, call (800) LAW-0804 for a free consultation with Tatum & Atkinson. We know how to handle the complexities of drunk driver cases and get you the compensation you deserve.