Did you suffer a serious injury to your abdomen in an accident? Are you worried about how you will pay your medical bills or support your family during your recovery? If so, the Sacramento and Roseville personal injury lawyers at The Sevey Law Firm are ready to help you.
The abdomen is one of the most important and also the most vulnerable parts of the human body. The abdomen is the body’s core, from which the arms, legs, and neck extend outward. It also houses most of the organs essential to sustaining life, and an injury to your abdomen can have serious consequences.
From motor vehicle accidents to falls and even pedestrian accidents, these injuries can be severe. The Roseville personal injury lawyers at The Sevey Law Firm can help you pursue an injury claim to secure the compensation you need to pay your medical bills, recover for additional damages, and move on with your life.
What is Abdominal Trauma?
Abdominal trauma is any injury to the area between the top of your chest and pelvic region, including the muscles of the abdominal wall; solid organs like the liver, kidneys, and pancreas; and hollow organs like the intestines, stomach, and bladder. These injuries can range in severity from bruising to internal bleeding and organ failure. They are usually caused by either blunt abdominal trauma from a car accident or penetrating trauma caused by knife or gunshot wounds.
When a victim sustains a direct blow to the abdomen by an object or, in the case of a motor vehicle accident, an abrupt decrease in speed, they can suffer from blunt trauma. Apart from the rib cage, the abdomen is primarily supported by muscles; this means that in the event of blunt trauma, they can easily sustain a tear from the seatbelt or steering wheel, causing severe bruising, pain, and discomfort.
These injuries can be more dangerous than they initially appear. Internal organ damage to both solid and hollow organs can be serious and even life-threatening if they are not treated immediately. The most common internal injuries are tears and bruises to the liver or spleen, resulting in leaking bile, hematomas, and internal bleeding.
Abdominal penetration, the other common form of abdominal trauma, is the result of an object breaking the skin and therefore entering the human body. These types of injuries can be far more serious if the object punctures the peritoneum (the protective membrane that covers abdominal organs). If the peritoneum is punctured, it can cause internal bleeding, shock, and ultimately death. Depending on the accident, victims are at risk of suffering a penetrating injury to the stomach, intestines, or bowels, resulting in bowel obstruction, abscess, and a serious risk of infection. In these cases, surgery is required immediately to prevent septic shock and death.
Symptoms of Abdominal Trauma
Because the most serious abdominal injuries occur internally, seeing physical external signs or symptoms rarely occurs. As a victim or family member of a victim, knowing common symptoms is imperative in seeking effective and timely medical attention.
For those injured in an automobile accident, a common sign of abdominal trauma is bruising across the abdomen or lap due to the blunt force caused by a seat belt. In fact, an estimated 30% of victims with these outward signs are reported to suffer abdominal trauma. Additional symptoms of these types of injuries include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in the urine
- Pain or tenderness in the abdomen
- Abdominal distension
- Fractured ribs
- Lack of bowel sounds
- Injury to the vertebrae
If you or someone you love is experiencing any of these symptoms following a car accident or other injury, it’s critical that you seek medical attention and have a doctor or medical professional assess the seriousness of your injuries through an x-ray or CT scan.
Causes of Abdominal Trauma
Because it is such a large and exposed section of the body, abdominal trauma and injuries are common in the event of an accident. Victims could suffer penetrating trauma if they have sustained a gunshot or knife injury, or if they have been struck by shrapnel. When these types of injuries occur, solid organs like the liver and kidneys can be cut or torn, resulting in life-threatening internal bleeding. Additionally, any damage to the bowels can leak fecal material into the abdomen, resulting in systemic infections and death.
Blunt trauma injuries can occur many ways. Along with automobile, motorcycle, and ATV accidents, these abdominal injuries can also be caused by falls from great heights, physical altercations, and bicycle or pedestrian accidents. Blunt abdominal trauma primarily affects the liver and spleen. Because of the liver’s size and location, it often suffers lacerations or bruising in the event of a crash or accident, subjecting the victim to internal bleeding. Other common injuries associated with blunt abdominal trauma include rib fractures and damage to the pancreas or kidneys.
Diagnosing and Treating Abdominal Trauma
Like many injuries caused by an accident, not every abdominal injury is evident right away. Diagnosing abdominal trauma can be difficult, especially if there’s no external signs or symptoms. In fact, serious complications like obstruction, abscess, ruptured hematoma, and scar tissue can develop and become evident long after the accident.
If you’re involved in an accident and believe you may have suffered abdominal trauma, it is essential you see a medical professional right away. After performing a physical exam and determining if there is pain or discomfort in the abdomen, a doctor will perform an x-ray or CT scan to check for air/fluid levels and determine if there are any hemorrhaging or signs of organ laceration. For a more detailed picture, the doctor may also recommend an MRI exam that can show any injuries to the soft tissue.
After determining the extent of your injuries, the doctor will decide on a course of treatment. In the event of internal bleeding or lacerations to internal organs, surgery will be necessary immediately. Recovery in an ICU setting to monitor recovery and any further complications that arise may also be necessary. In less serious scenarios where surgery isn’t necessary, the patient may be given a series of antibiotics to clear or prevent any harmful infections. Additionally, any wounds will be thoroughly cleaned and bandaged.
Contact a Roseville Personal Injury Lawyer
Complications from abdominal trauma can be serious, leaving you with long-term disabilities that may decrease your quality of life and prevent you from returning to work. You need financial compensation to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The Roseville personal injury lawyers at The Sevey Law Firm are committed to helping accident victims like you get the compensation they need to move on with their lives. To learn more about how a skilled and professional legal attorney can help, contact the legal team at The Sevey Law Firm today at (916) 788-7100, and protect your future.