One of the many injuries a person can experience after an accident is bruising. In most cases, bruising can be painful but not severe, but it is crucial to understand how bruising occurs and when it signals a medical emergency. Learn the essential facts about post-accident bruising and see why consulting a doctor right away is a good idea.

What Is Bruising?

Bruising can occur when trauma causes blood vessels or capillaries to rupture, leading to the accumulation of blood under the skin. It can also be a sign of active bleeding. A bruise can present as a black, blue, or purple area, often accompanied by pain and swelling.

As a bruise begins to heal, it may take on shades of green and yellow as the blood gets reabsorbed. Bruises are not generally severe conditions and often heal within days or weeks. However, in some cases, bruising that does not seem to resolve or gets worse quickly may signify something more serious and require emergency medical care.

What Is the Difference Between a Bruise, a Contusion, and a Hematoma?

A contusion is the medical term for a bruise and refers to the rupture of smaller blood vessels and capillaries after a blow to soft tissue. A hematoma is a more severe form of contusion characterized by a pool of mostly clotted blood that forms in an organ, tissue, or body space. A hematoma is usually caused by a broken blood vessel that was damaged by surgery or an injury. It can occur anywhere in the body, including the brain.

Hematomas are almost always caused by trauma, such as broken bones, head injuries, and other injuries commonly received in car accidents. Hematomas require medical attention. A doctor may want to conduct further examinations using X-rays, CT scans, or other testing to diagnose and treat the condition causing the hematoma.

What Are Some Common Car Accident Injuries Associated With Bruising?

Car accident victims often sustain soft tissue injuries that may cause bruising. Injuries such as concussions, broken bones, and muscle strains or sprains can all cause pain and bruising to different degrees.

Some types of bruises and hematomas can be serious, such as bruising internal organs or brain tissue. In the case of an auto accident, even safety devices such as seat belts and airbags can cause significant bruising in case of an impact at higher speeds – but it is always best to wear a seatbelt rather than to risk being ejected through the windshield in an accident. Even if you don’t believe your bruises are serious, it is recommended to get examined by a healthcare professional.

When Should You Seek Medical Help for Bruising?

If your bruises do not improve or you begin experiencing other symptoms such as headaches, nausea, elevated pulse, numbness, or weakness, it is important to get medical help immediately. If possible, get examined by a doctor right after your accident occurs. If someone else’s negligence caused your accident, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your case.