What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Shock After A Car Accident?

Car accidents often result in serious physical injuries. In many cases, these injuries are immediately recognizable and can include a fracture, burns, head trauma, or spinal cord damage when they occur. However, there are other injuries that are also serious but have delayed signs and symptoms. Shock is one of these injuries, and it is important the victims of car accidents be able to recognize what this looks like.

What is shock?

Shock is a medical condition that occurs when a person loses blood flow to their organs. A lack of blood flow keeps organs from obtaining the oxygen they need and can lead to serious long-term disabilities or even death. There are a few types of shock that we want to discuss:

Hypovolemic shock

This is the most common type of shock that a person will experience in the event a serious car accident occurs. Hypovolemic shock happens when a person loses blood rapidly, usually as a result of a traumatic injury caused by the car accident. The decreased flow of blood causes a person’s heart rate to rapidly increase, which will result in quicker and shallower respirations. Our bodies will compensate for this loss of blood by shutting down bodily organs.

Obstructive shock

This type of shock will occur when blood cannot get to where it needs to go throughout the body. This could be caused by external pressures such as the frame of a vehicle or internal problems such as a pulmonary embolism.

Distributive shock

This type of shock occurs when blood vessels lose tone and are unable to provide enough blood pressure to your bodily organs.

Cardiogenic shock

This type of shock happens when a person’s heart becomes badly damaged and fails to pump enough blood to all of a person’s organs. Left untreated, this can lead to a serious medical condition and can be fatal. Cardiogenic shock can be caused by heart attacks or electrocution. The dramatic events of a car accident can cause a heart attack to occur, leading to cardiogenic shock.

Neurogenic shock

Neurogenic shock occurs when someone sustains serious trauma to their spinal cord or damage to their nervous system. This type of shock can create an irregular blood circulation and mimic the symptoms of hypovolemic shock and cardiogenic shock.

Septic shock

Septic shock is caused by severe infections that spread throughout a person’s body. An infection may cause a person’s vital bodily systems, including their organs, to shut down in order to help fight off an infection. While this shock will not be caused when an accident occurs, a person can develop infections and sepsis as a result of injuries caused by a car accident.

What are the signs and symptoms of shock?

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident occurs. Even if a person does not feel any pain or think they have sustained a serious injury, many car accident injuries do not have signs and symptoms that are immediately apparent. A person may be experiencing shock and not know it until they are in a serious medical emergency.

Some of the most common symptoms of shock that you need to be aware of after a car accident include the following:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • increased respiration rate
  • difficulty breathing
  • weak or rapid pulse rate
  • fatigue and weakness
  • dilated pupils
  • increased agitation

If a car accident victim is experiencing any of these symptoms after the incident, seek legal assistance immediately. Failing to do so can result in the victim incurring lifelong disabilities. Shock can even be fatal.