FAQ: Car Accident Abdominal Injuries

The human abdomen can suffer injuries in a variety of ways. Doctors classify injuries of the abdomen based on where it was impacted, the seriousness of the injury, and how the injury occurred.

The abdominal structures include the abdomen wall, hollow organs (stomach, small intestine, ureters, bladder and colon), blood vessels, and solid organs (spleen, liver, pancreas, kidneys). Additionally, abdominal injuries are categorized by whether the injury was blunt or penetrating trauma.

Here we cover blunt trauma and penetrating injuries to the abdominal area due to a car accident.

What is Abdominal Blunt Trauma?

Blunt trauma is when an object directly impacts the abdomen area, or there is an abrupt decrease in speed. Hollow organs are much less likely to be injured in blunt trauma, but the spleen and liver are much more susceptible to damage.

What is a Penetrating Abdominal Injury?

A penetrating injury to the abdomen occurs when an object breaks open the skin. In some instances, the muscles or fat are impaled by an object and are much less concerning compared to actually entering the abdominal cavity. A penetrating injury can involve the chest and upper area of the abdomen.

What are Symptoms of an Abdominal Injury?

Most people feel pain or tenderness in the abdominal area. If a person has suffered severe blood loss, they may experience the following symptoms:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Accelerated breathing
  • Bluish or pale skin tone
  • Clammy or cold to the touch
  • Confusion
  • Sluggish, not alert
  • Bruising across chest or lower abdomen
  • Swollen abdomen

How are Blunt Trauma and Penetrating Injuries Similar?

Both blunt and penetrating injuries to the abdomen may rupture organs of the abdominals, in addition to the surrounding blood vessels. A blunt injury can cause blood to accumulate inside a solid organ or within the walls of a hollow organ. These collections of blood are referred to as a hematoma. Hemoperitoneum is defined as uncontained bleeding in the abdominal cavity, and space around the organs.

When Does an Abdominal Injury Become Serious?

Bleeding of the abdominal area can be minor and not cause a series of problems. However, in more serious cases a large amount of bleeding can cause shock and even fatality. Bleeding due to an abdominal injury is usually internal, and stays within the cavity. When there is a penetrating injury from an object, a minimal amount of external bleeding can come out through the wound site. If a hollow organ is damaged, contents of that organ such as urine, stool or stomach acids can enter the abdominal area causing inflammation and irritation.

What are the Treatment Options for an Abdominal Injury?

Treatment for trauma to the abdominal organs can include reversing the blood loss from surgery and blood transfusions. For very serious conditions, surgery may be required in order to stop the bleeding or repair organ damage. Those with abdominal injuries are usually admitted into a hospital and evaluated every few hours to confirm bleeding has stopped and there are no worsening of symptoms. Abdominal organ injuries are found through CT scans or ultrasonography.

Abdominal injuries from car accidents can be very serious, and can result lengthy treatment, extensive medical bills, and even long term health consequences. If you have suffered these injuries due to someone else’s negligence, a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer Brooklyn NY trusts, may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve to help manage the fall out. Contact a skilled lawyer today for more information on what may be available for you.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Law Offices of Laurence C. Tarowsky for their insight into personal injury practice.