3 Tests You May Need After a Crash

Jul 22, 2022

In the United States, an average of 6 million car accidents occur every year, with approximately 3 million people experiencing injuries after a crash. The aftermath of a car accident can leave victims feeling overwhelmed and confused. They may need answers to questions such as, “What medical procedures may be needed to identify injuries?” and “Where is the best place to seek medical attention and treatment?” After a car accident, three important diagnostic imaging tests are typically utilized to identify car accident injuries and to get the answers you need to move forward with treatment options. Read on to learn more about these three critical diagnostic imaging tests.

Tests Performed After a Car Accident

Common Injuries After a Car AccidentThe time after a car crash can be one of the most important times for evaluating your health. While it may not feel as though anything has been injured, only proper evaluation and testing can diagnose injuries. In the confusion after a car crash, don’t let your health take the back seat. Proper testing will help doctors know exactly what injuries occurred because of the accident. While one test, such as an X-ray, may show bone damage, there could be damage under the surface that isn’t visible unless other tests like CT scans or MRI scans are performed. For this reason, these three critical diagnostic imaging tests may be ordered after a car crash to get a full picture of car accident injuries. This allows you to fully understand the damage sustained during the crash and to move forward confidently with a treatment plan.


Perhaps the most common test performed after a car accident injury is an X-ray. An X-ray uses electromagnetic waves to take images of the body, specifically bones. The primary purpose of an X-ray is to check for fractures or breaks that occurred as a result of a car crash. However, X-ray images can also show if a joint has been dislocated, if the spine has been damaged in any way, or if there is any other noticeable damage to the musculoskeletal system. If there is soft tissue damage, this won’t show up on an X-ray, so other diagnostic imaging tests will be required to view these types of car accident injuries.


A CT scan, or a CAT scan as it is sometimes called, is a test that uses both X-ray technology and computer imaging to show a full body picture. It allows physicians to take a look at both musculoskeletal systems and internal systems. This type of diagnostic imaging scan can aid in diagnosing car accident injuries such as organ trauma,internal bleeding, brain trauma, torn ligaments or tendons, nerve damage, and more. While an MRI can also show internal damage, a CT scan is often a faster and more affordable option, which is why it may be one of the first diagnostic imaging tests ordered when being evaluated after a car crash.

MRI Scans

MRIs, which stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, take a closer look at the body internally to show car accident injuries that an x-ray can’t pick up. Like a CT scan, this test will also show organ damage, nerve damage, soft tissue injuries, brain injuries, and spinal cord damage. In fact, this is the best diagnostic imaging test to identify spinal injuries such as nerve damage or herniated discs. An MRI can also show abnormal brain activity. It is a more in-depth test than a CT scan and can give a more detailed picture of car accident injuries sustained.

Because MRIs use magnetic fields to create images for injury diagnosis, more precautions should be taken before undergoing this diagnostic imaging test. Magnetic fields can negatively interact with any metal or electronic parts within the body and cause further damage.

Inform your doctor if you have a pacemaker, artificial joint, or metal hardware such as pins or rods. Also inform your doctor if you are pregnant before getting an MRI.

Seek Medical Attention After a Crash

After a car crash, one of the first things an injured party should do is seek medical attention. While many people can walk away from an accident uninjured, often time injuries after a car accident won’t manifest themselves for a day or two, sometimes even up to weeks, after the accident. For this reason, don’t delay seeking medical attention soon after a collision. A comprehensive medical examination after a crash can aid in identifying car accident injuries early. Moreover, a medical assessment after a car accident in Marietta can help medical professionals paint a clear picture of exactly what injuries were sustained to determine the best course of treatment. Delaying treatment or ignoring injuries can lead to worsening symptoms that may be harder and more costly to treat.

Common Injuries After a Car Accident

Common Injuries After a Car AccidentAt least half of all car accident victims sustain injuries of some kind. The most common injuries may not be life-threatening, but they can still cause discomfort and pain. If not treated, injuries from a car accident can lead to chronic pain. Below are some of the most common injuries that occur as a result of a car crash.

Muscle Strain

Because of the impact of a car collision and the force applied to the body in a matter of seconds, one of the most common complaints is muscle strain. This can be any type of muscle strain, but the most common complaints are muscle strains of the back and neck. Accidents from behind can cause whiplash as the initial impact forces the neck forward and then slams the head backward at an intense speed. Additionally, the torque on the body can result in injuries to other parts of the body as well such as the hands, wrists, shoulders, or knees.

Bruising and Broken Bones

Hitting any part of the body on the surface of the car as the result of a crash will cause bruising to the body. Furthermore, during a crash, debris flying through the air, such as broken glass or metal, could also lead to bruising or lacerations.

In more serious cases, a car crash can lead to broken bones. Broken legs, arms, wrists, or ribs are the most common breaks. Some may even suffer a broken pelvis. More serious breaks can require surgery and significant recovery time.


A concussion is caused by a blow to the head. Victims of car crashes can hit their heads on the windshield or steering wheel, which can lead to a concussion. Symptoms of a concussion include headaches, vomiting, blurred vision, or problems with concentration, memory, and balance. While most people can recover from a concussion after treatment and rest, it is something you will want to have checked out as soon as possible.

Serious Injuries After an Accident

A serious injury after a car crash is one that causes serious impairment of bodily function or results in permanent damage. While the hope is that no one would ever suffer a serious injury from a car accident, it can and does happen. Receiving medical attention and quality care after a serious injury is vital.

Testing, diagnosis, and treatment are necessary steps in treating injuries of all types but are more critical with serious injuries. The right test and course of treatment could make all the difference in saving a life and improving quality of life and recovery process after an accident. The injuries listed below are considered serious injuries that could occur after a car accident.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Like a concussion, a traumatic brain injury occurs after a blow to the head. In fact, a concussion can be considered a traumatic brain injury. However, while a mild blow to the head can lead to a concussion, more serious trauma to the head can lead to a more severe brain injury. Each year, 50,000 people die from a traumatic brain injury while another 80,000-90,000 suffer long-term disability. But there is hope for those who experience traumatic brain injuries through various methods of treatment and medical interventions.

Spinal Injuries

Mild spinal injuries can occur after the impact of a car crash. This can include herniated discs, soreness or stiffness of the spine, or back pain. But the spine wasn’t meant to withstand high impact. Because of the force of a car accident, some spinal injuries can be more serious than others. Damage to the spinal cord can lead to partial or total paralysis as well as long-term disability.

Internal Injuries

As a result of a crash, the body can be forced into an object such as parts of the car or debris. The result could be internal injuries, which is damage to the internal organs. Internal injuries can be problematic in that they aren’t noticeable right away. Internal bleeding can be serious and requires immediate medical attention. Because of the nature of internal injuries, immediate medical attention after a car accident should be a top priority. Tests will need to be ordered and a patient will need to be evaluated and monitored closely to rule out internal injuries.

Should internal injuries be found, medical intervention could be necessary, such as surgery, to correct any internal injuries.

ER Check Up

Car accident injuries can be different for everyone, but it is always recommended that you visit a doctor soon after a crash, whether it be an appointment with your regular physician or a trip to the ER to be evaluated right after a crash.

“Invisible injuries” as a result of a car crash can be harmful, which is why a trip to the ER directly after a car crash is always recommended. These invisible injuries can include nerve damage, organ damage, brain damage, herniated discs, sprains or tears, whiplash, or other types of injuries that don’t show up right away. Recovery can be quicker and easier if a doctor is able to identify car accident injuries early after a crash rather than waiting days or weeks to receive a diagnosis and seek treatment.

Recognizing the difference between these three invaluable tests and knowing how they will be used to help diagnose your car accident injuries can help you as you undergo evaluation. They can aid in determining what questions to ask the doctor, and the testing can give you peace of mind that you are receiving the very best care to be sure all car accident injuries are diagnosed and treated.

Recovery After a Crash

It can take time to fully recover after a car accident. The recovery process is very important to return to optimal health after suffering car accident injuries. Taking over-the-counter medication to reduce inflammation, applying hot or cold compresses, using topical rubs for muscle aches, and light stretching can be beneficial in aiding in your recovery. However, walking through the recovery process with knowledgeable medical professionals is the safest and most efficient way to recover after an accident. It can also lead to faster, more complete healing. Working with AICA Marietta health professionals such as physical therapists, orthopedic doctors and surgeons, or chiropractors can aid significantly in your overall recovery process.

These medical professionals have helped many overcome injuries and make vast improvements over time. This team of professionals has experience with proper treatment and care that will specifically address your injuries. Don’t take car accident injuries lightly. For the best results, work with a team of healthcare experts that can form a comprehensive treatment plan after a car crash.

If you have suffered a car crash, don’t wait to seek medical attention. At AICA Marietta, our team is standing by to ensure you receive the very best care after an accident. After performing diagnostic imaging tests to see a comprehensive picture of car accident injuries, medical professionals will then move forward with a treatment plan that addresses your specific injuries so that you can begin the road to recovery.

Don’t hesitate to give AICA Marietta a call if you have been a victim of a car accident. To learn more about the services we offer, visit our website or contact us today.


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