Facial Injuries from Auto Accidents

Throughout the United States, one of the leading causes of both major and minor facial damage comes from injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents. Also known as a “maxillofacial trauma”, a facial injury is defined as any type of physical trauma that affects the facial area, which have been known to create life-threatening circumstances for the victim.


Common Causes Of Facial Damage

While seat belts, airbags and other protective devices have helped to lessen the number of facial injuries that occupants receive from auto crashes, there are still many components within the cabin of a vehicle that can cause serious facial disfigurement.

Some of these include (but are not limited to):

  • steering wheel
  • airbag
  • dashboard
  • windshield
  • door pillar
  • smashed glass

It’s important to note that most facial injuries are the result of a blunt trauma however, serious injury can also be inflicted by burns and lacerations.


Common Symptoms Of A Facial Injury

Many facial injuries are often easy to see simply because much of the damage is often at a superficial level - especially for injuries like a broken nose or a laceration. However, is some instances, life threatening injuries may be unseen by the naked eye, which often will be revealed with the use of an x-ray or MRI scan.

Some common injury symptoms include (but are not limited to):

  • nose bleeds (potential fracture)
  • bottom teeth not lining up with top teeth (broken jaw)
  • bent or flattened nose (broken nose)
  • sunken cheeks (fractured cheekbone)
  • droopy face (nerve damage)
  • black eye (bruised eye and / or eye socket)
  • pain and swelling
  • bruising

As with any injury, it’s important for the victim to seek adequate medical attention from a licensed practitioner, to ensure that there are no underlying issues - one of which may include broken blood vessels, pinched veins or blocked arteries.


Types Of Injuries

While there can be many different levels of facial injuries - which are generally determined by the force of the impact, there are some common injuries that facial injury victims suffer in many accident situations.

This list includes (but is not limited to):

  • broken jaw
  • cuts and bruises
  • broken nose
  • chipped or broken teeth
  • black eye/s
  • broken cheekbone/s
  • deep lacerations
  • cranial fracture
  • torn tear duct
  • corneal abrasion

Many injury victims are often unaware of the injuries they have sustained, which is largely due to the rush of adrenalin that most accident victims experience immediately after an accident has occurred. This can also be exacerbated by the disorienting nature of most accident scenes.


Treatments For Injuries To The Face

The most important treatment for a facial injury is to ensure that the injury victim is able to breath and has aclear passageway to ensure that their breathing is not affected in any way (from foreign objects or other causes).

However, in many instances, some basic treatments can help to ease the pain of non-life threatening injuries.

These treatments may include:

  • ice treatment to reduce swelling
  • stitches to close a wound
  • antibiotics to fight infection
  • nasal packing to control nose bleeds

In extreme instances, a medical physician may need to perform a tracheotomy or to use a endotracheal tube through the nose to ensure that the victim is able to breath freely.