How Serious Are Pelvic Injuries Caused by Car Accidents?

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of serious pelvic injury. Depending on the extent of pelvic trauma, these injuries can be life-changing and even life-threatening. Most people think that the pelvis is another word for their hips. However, according to Johns Hopkins, the pelvis is “a basin-shaped structure that supports the spinal column and protects the abdominal organs.” It holds a person’s reproductive organs along with their rectum, bladder, and a portion of the large intestine known as the descending colon. The pelvis also protects the bundle of nerves (cauda equina) located at the base of the spine. If you sustained a serious pelvic injury in a car accident through no fault of your own, contact the experienced Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free, confidential consultation. 

Injury Statistics

The pelvis is a strong internal structure capable of withstanding a huge amount of force, which makes pelvic fractures somewhat uncommon. When they do occur, however, pelvic fractures have a very high rate, more than 60%, of associated injuries.  

Research has shown that pelvic fractures account for only 10% of fractures in victims of blunt trauma. Nearly 20% of pelvic fracture patients have one or more associated injuries, usually intraabdominal, with the kidneys, spleen, and liver being the most commonly injured.  Roughly 20% of pelvic trauma patients also have a lacerated bladder and 24% have a urethral injury. Vascular lesions are another common associated injury as is blood loss.  

If you sustain a pelvic injury in any type of vehicle collision, whether as a vehicle occupant, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist, odds are that you will endure perforated organs and vascular injuries as well which can result in infections due to bowel leakage along with internal bleeding. If the injury extends to the cauda equina, you could be paralyzed.

What Are Common Symptoms of Pelvic Injuries?

The primary symptom of a fractured pelvis is a sharp, persistent pain in the groin or hip as well as tenderness, bruising, and inflammation of the injured area. The more severe the fracture, the less likely you will be to put any weight on the affected hip. Additional symptoms of pelvic injuries are: 

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Trouble walking or an inability to walk
  • Tingling or numbness in the pelvic area
  • Pain in or around the abdomen and/or pelvis
  • Pain when standing
  • Fever, chills, flushing, and other indications of an infection 

Do Seat Belts Contribute to Pelvic Injuries?

A standard 3-point seat belt was designed to distribute stopping force across the upper body and pelvis. Although the 3-point seat belts disperse the force over a larger area of the body than the 2-point belts, the additional spread across the pelvis actually increases the odds of pelvic injuries. This risk is even greater for young children and senior citizens. 

Seat belts were designed with adult bodies in mind, which is why using the proper booster seat or car seat is important in keeping children safe. Where senior citizens are concerned, particularly those who have osteoporosis or other similar conditions, the impact of a car accident could be enough to shatter the pelvis. The very young and the very old also face additional challenges in terms of medical treatment. Injuries to the pelvic area often require surgery, and anesthesia and hospital-acquired infections present significant risks for both groups.

How Can a Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?

Serious pelvic injuries can impact your ability to move your legs and hips, which could, in turn, affect your ability to perform daily tasks, take care of yourself, earn a living, and live life as you were before your accident. In some cases, pelvic injury victims are left permanently disabled. The Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have been winning high-value verdicts and settlements in car accident cases since 1985, such as the $1.5 million settlement we obtained for a husband a wife who were riding their motorcycles when they were struck head-on by an on-duty sheriff’s deputy. To schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys, call (833) 997-1774 or fill out our contact form. We have offices in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Hampton, and Norfolk.