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The Ever-Present Risk of Abdominal Injuries

By Grant Law Office on August 31, 2019

A cast member of the Real Housewives of Atlanta had a “terrifying” car accident in Los Angeles back in June. Tanya Sam later gave an interview to PEOPLE magazine about the incident, and one detail stood out to our law firm: the nearly hidden abdominal trauma.

“I remember starting to scream and BAM!” Ms. Sam recalled. “We kind of bulldozed through the car.” The star and her fiancé were riding in the backseat of an Uber when the rideshare vehicle T-boned another car. In the immediate aftermath, she suffered from a “swollen and achy” tummy, but she brushed off the symptoms as “normal” and attended a planned gala later in the evening. After that, she noticed blood in her stool.

Ms. Sam rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where doctors ran some test scans and diagnosed her with intestinal and gastrointestinal bleeding, along with an acute trauma injury from her seatbelt. Though the seatbelt caused internal damage, Ms. Sam believes it saved her life.

The takeaway from her frightening experience, she says, is to pay attention to how you feel—especially in the aftermath of a serious crash.

“I knew I was tired, I was getting dizzy, all these little things… I just should’ve listened earlier to my body and put two and two together. It literally was crying out for help.”

What You Should Know About Abdominal Injuries

Grant Law Office is pleased that Ms. Sam received help for her injuries and has recovered nicely. As personal injury lawyers from Atlanta, we wanted to share this story to inform our community about the subtle dangers of abdominal trauma. You should know that:

The symptoms are often delayed, sometimes for several days. Keep an eye out for bruising and discolored skin, especially where your seatbelt was. Aches and pains in your stomach are another symptom. Headaches, dizziness, and lightheadedness may actually be signs of internal bleeding, so if you feel “off,” get checked out immediately.

The muscles lining your abdominal cavity (your abdominal wall) are most likely to be harmed. Since these muscles protect and “hold in” your internal organs, they are the first to suffer injury after a blow to the stomach. It may seem unrelated later on, but a tear or weakening in the abdominal wall during your accident can increase your risk of a hernia and the need for subsequent surgery.

Many different organs and systems can be affected. Your solid organs, like the liver, spleen, pancreas, and kidney; or your hollow organs, like the intestines, stomach, or bladder, can fall prey to blunt force trauma as well as penetrating injuries. Your blood vessels and nerves may have been impacted or severed as well.

Liver, spleen, and kidney injuries are especially devastating. Your liver can rupture, leak bile into your body, and create hematomas or bleeds. This organ is vital for removing toxins from the bloodstream and several other jobs, and severe enough damage may prove fatal, if not treated immediately. Spleens may rupture relatively easily, and these ruptures are a leading cause of death from abdominal injuries. Damage to the kidneys, as we’ve discussed in a previous blog, can lead to death, or lifelong dialysis and the need for a transplant. This is an expensive cross to bear.

After Any Accident, See a Doctor Just to Be Safe

Whether you have slipped and fallen, been tackled too roughly at practice, or been struck by a vehicle, listen to your body. If you feel severe pain right then and there, request an ambulance. If you don’t have immediate symptoms, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or drop into urgent care as soon as you can. Besides getting a diagnosis and the medical intervention you need, this process will document your injuries.

If another person was the cause of your serious injury, you have a legal claim for compensation. Wayne and Kimberly Grant, a husband and wife who are also trial attorneys, offer a free consultation to Atlanta injury victims. Please call (404) 995-3955 or toll-free (866) 249-5513, or contact us online.

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Posted in: Auto Accidents

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Grant Law Office Disclaimer: The legal information offered herein by Grant Law Office, is not formal legal advice, nor is it the formation of an attorney client relationship. In order for our firm to be considered your attorney there must be a signed agreement between the client and the firm. Any results set forth herein are based solely upon the circumstances of that particular case and offer no promise or guarantee on the outcome of any other case. Please contact a lawyer for a consultation.

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*Wayne Grant has been practicing law since 1979. Grant Law Office was founded in 2000.