Watching for Signs Someone is in Shock After a Car Accident

If you stop to help the victims of a car crash, as you tend to them while awaiting emergency personnel, one of the many things to stay cognizant of is if someone is in shock after the car accident. Speaker and EMT Slider Gilmore explains why this is so important: “People invariably die due to shock. You don’t die by the gunshot wound, but by the shock of the gunshot wound.”

Understanding Someone in Shock After a Car Accident

There are two basic types of shock:

  • Physiological shock – This type of shock is a medical term that refers to the state a person enters when his or her organs and tissues do not receive enough blood. The oxygen supply and demand is thrown off balance, creating an internal buildup of toxic waste.
  • Psychological shock – This type of shock mimics physiological shock and can occur after a traumatic experience, either from an emotional or physical trauma.

Both of these types of shock can occur after a car accident, and early treatment can save a life.

Recognizing Symptoms of Someone in Shock After a Car Accident

There are a few key signs that someone has gone into shock at the scene of an accident. First, he or she is unable to answer basic questions.

Ask the victim:

  • Who are you?
  • Where are you?
  • What time of day is it?

If they can’t formulate answers, they likely are experiencing shock. Other symptoms of someone in shock after a car accident include:

  • faint or non-existent radial pulse (on the wrist);
  • pale, clammy skin;
  • weakness and nausea;
  • fast pulse in the neck;
  • profuse sweating;
  • unconsciousness;
  • fast, shallow breathing;
  • obvious confusion; and
  • white or blue fingernails or lips.

Administering Aid Until Professionals Arrive

Physiological shock requires immediate medical attention. You can try to administer aid to victims after an accident, but take measures to avoid endangering yourself in the process.

There are a few things you can do while you await help:

  • loosen clothing;
  • keep the victim warm with coats or blanket to conserve body heat;
  • elevate the feet if possible (but don’t move the victim if he or she is seriously wounded to prevent worsening spinal injuries);
  • control bleeding with pressure, if possible; and
  • offer them words of reassurance because “gentleness, kindness and understanding play an important role in the treatment of shock,” explains the Electronic Security Administration.

The best – and probably hardest – thing you can do at the scene of a serious accident is to remain calm. “In an emergency situation, psychological management is important. If a central person takes charge and is remaining calm, this will transfer to all of the other people on the scene and will help the victim far more than if everyone is overly excited and pumped with adrenaline.

Take two deep breaths when you feel yourself losing it,” notes Gilmore in his Accident Scene Management talk.

Legal Help after an Aurora Accident

If your loved one was seriously injured after a car accident, there may be legal avenues of recourse to pursue financial restitution if negligence was involved. To determine legal options, we invite you to call the law office of D.J. Banovitz, serving Aurora and the surrounding areas. Contact our office today for a no-obligation case evaluation at 303-300-5060.

D.J. Banovitz’ career has always concentrated on trial practice and he has litigated hundreds of cases. His passion and sole career focus has been to seek justice for people suffering from personal injuries as the result of someone else’s negligence. The hallmark of the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz, is the total commitment to professionalism, quality, and personalized care of your injury case. D.J. has dedicated his professional life to helping those most in need and is a proud and active member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. His experience includes volunteering for Colorado Rural Legal Services in Montrose, the Colorado Aids Project, consumer law, family law, criminal defense, and Alternative Defense Counsel for juveniles in Denver.