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Identifying the Signs of Shock After a Car Wreck

Published on Apr 11, 2019 at 2:21 pm in Car Accidents.

When people think about car accident injuries, broken bones, lacerations, and burns often come to mind first. Not every injury is visible, however. Sometimes, the most dangerous injuries are the ones that impact the body and mind from the inside.

Immediately following a collision, it’s possible the people involved could go into a state of shock. This condition can be psychological or physical. While the psychological shock is likely to wear off within a few hours, the physical condition can result in serious complications, medical emergencies, and even death.

Most shock victims aren’t able to identify the signs of the condition themselves, so if you’ve been in a car accident being able to recognize the signs could save someone’s life. To understand the signs and symptoms associated with the condition, you first have to understand the different types of shock the body can go into.

Understanding the Types of Shock and Their Symptoms

Shock is a potentially life-threatening condition. It’s estimated that nearly 20 percent of people who go into physical shock will die from the associated complications. There are five types of physical shock, however, only three of them typically apply to car accidents. The most severe cases of shock are associated with heart problems, infections, nervous system damage, and inadequate blood volume. Psychological shock affects how a person feels and experiences things after an accident.

Physical Shock

As mentioned, there are five different types of physical shock. Being able to recognize the signs of each can be life-saving in the event of an automobile wreck.

Hypovolemic shock is the type most commonly associated with serious car crashes. It occurs when the body loses 20 percent or more of its blood supply. If someone is going into hypovolemic shock they may be bleeding profusely, sweating, dizzy, confused, and breathing rapidly. If blood is not visible but they are experiencing severe abdominal pain or are vomiting blood, they may have internal bleeding.

Cardiogenic shock is caused by a heart attack. If someone with a poor heart is in an accident, it’s possible they could have a heart attack. As a result of that, they may experience chest pain, suddenly increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and pale skin.

Neurogenic shock happens when the central nervous system is damaged. Most often, this means the spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries are common after serious car accidents, but when shock accompanies, the victim may seem warm and flushed. They may also have a slow heart rate and low blood pressure.

Anaphylactic shock and septic shock are the remaining types; however, they are not typical after a car accident. Anaphylactic shock happens because of an allergic reaction. The most common allergies include penicillin, bee stings, nuts, shellfish, or latex. Septic shock is the result of a system-wide infection, which can be fungal, viral, or bacterial.

Psychological Shock

Every person experiences traumatic events differently. When a car wreck victim experiences an extreme emotional reaction to the event, psychological shock, also referred to as acute stress reaction, can set in.

Immediately following the collision, adrenaline will surge through the body. When shock occurs, the person may throw up, be unable to think straight, have an out-of-body experience, feel disconnected from what’s going on around them, get angry, or want to run away. The symptoms are all associated with the body’s fight or flight response. This state can make a person feel like they’re not injured, so a medical evaluation is necessary. Eventually, the body’s hormone levels will return to normal and the signs and symptoms of psychological shock will wear off.

If you suspect someone is suffering from any type of shock, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Waiting even a short amount of time could mean the difference between recovering and dying. It’s recommended that you keep the person still and warm, and refrain from giving them any food or liquids until emergency medical responders can evaluate the situation.

Recovery Is Possible

Depending on the type of shock a crash victim goes into, the treatment process changes. In general, medications will be given to stop the symptoms and put the body back into a normal state. The real recovery, however, doesn’t begin until the person has stabilized.

When you’ve suffered serious injuries the last thing you want to worry about it dealing with insurance adjusters, legal paperwork, and negotiations. That’s why our lawyers are prepared to take on those burdens for you and work to ensure you have the means you need to recover. A full investigation can be conducted on your behalf to determine why the car accident happened and how it could have been prevented. To learn more about how best to proceed, contact our firm today.

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