1. sinnernear
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    sinnernear Member

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    Car accident?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by sinnernear, May 29, 2014.

    I want to write about a person who is hit by a car, but I'm having trouble finding out what injuries they would suffer (based on their height, weight, speed of the driver that hit them, etc.) I tried using search engines for more information, but the only seem to want to give me information about injury lawsuits. XD

    Any help here?
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    A car crash is a car crash. There can be little damage to a heavy person but lots of damage to a skinny guy or vice-versa.

    Yes, physics takes into account all these things but either way every sort of injury is possible to having none at all no matter what your body type. There's never been an ad stating "Be fit, it''ll reduce the injuries in a car crash." or "Your Honour, the victim refused to gain weight to cushion the blows of car crashes."

    The injuries can also be psychological such as negative trauma that causes them to fear driving or positive that increases their joie-de-vivre.

    Either way, any injury that furthers the plot/point/story/character progression is valid so long as a five hundred pound man doesn't fly twenty feet out his front window.
     
  3. sinnernear
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    sinnernear Member

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    I'd also like to add that I'm writing about a pedestrian getting hit, since their injuries would be different than those of a person driving a car (I assume). The person being hit is very skinny and not very tall, so I'm sure he'd be in for a lot worse complications than the 500lb man you mentioned. I was thinking he might suffer broken ribs (from being hit in his side), but I'm still not sure if it would be as simple as that. This is much more difficult to write about than I had imagined....
     
  4. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    I've seen videos of people getting hit by cars going 60 and flip over the car. They got up, brushed emselves off, and continued on their day. Others died or got injured.

    A small person is more likely to be thrown forward if the bumper is low enough or if it's high enough smash into their heads and simply knock them flat to the ground.

    Derpending on the speed, a direct hit to the head would probably kill them but if your guy is tall enough toonly have his side hit, then he'd probably flip atop the car and slide off.

    As I said, whatever injury you impose is believable if it doesn't stretch the imagination too much. Broken legs, ribs, concussions, hemerging, all possible.

    And as i said, itthe best suited injury is the one that pushes the story forward best.
     
  5. sinnernear
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    sinnernear Member

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    My character is 5'7" and I think he'd be likely to get hit by a Honda Civic-type car. He will be hit in either a school zone or residential area, so the car would be going over the speed limit and I'm thinking it would probably be driving about 30-40 mph. I'm not sure if that's enough to flip over the car, but I kind of doubt it. I'm also trying to figure out if he would be unconscious? :/
     
  6. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Look up Crash Test Dummies on youtube - after you've scrolled through the entries for the band, you will come across CTD's used in simulated car accidents. You might find something useful there.

    For what you describe, I would think the victim would have more damage to knees/hips/pelvis from the initial impact. Possible skull/head injuries depending if their head his the car bonnet (hood) or the road surface. Associated cuts and bruises and possibly damage to elbows/wrists especially if they fell to the ground rather than on the bonnet of the car.

    He may be unconscious or slightly dazed. That could depend on whether or not he actually saw the vehicle coming his way and tried to move out the way. There may be more damage if he did see it coming as he may have frozen in fright. If the body tenses before being hit by anything, it tends to hurt more.
     
  7. sinnernear
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    sinnernear Member

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    I really want to write this in a way where he ends up in the hospital and has to take some time to recover, but ultimately goes back to living a (physically) normal life. Those lower body injuries you describe seem like they'd be pretty hellish to recover from. :x Sounds like some permanent damage could result from those....
     
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  8. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Can't get the link to paste, but go onto youtube and search "Pedestrian Crash Test Dummy"
     
  9. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    A friend of mine was knocked down when we were at school. She was in traction for weeks (this was in the late 80's) and for quite a while afterwards she walked a little oddly. She's in her 40's now, married, family, in fact you wouldn't know anything had ever happened to her. On the psychological side, I don't know how it affected her.
     
  10. sinnernear
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    sinnernear Member

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    And by traction you mean she had to wear some sort of brace (I've never seen someone in traction, I apologize) and was in the hospital the whole time she had this procedure? Also, by 'walking oddly' do you mean sort of like waddling?
     
  11. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Traction - it was like some kind of brace that's fitted to the legs or hips and weighted down over the end of the bed, so she was bed bound for a period of time. I think this may have been something to do with her hips/pelvis which resulted in the funny walk. She would have had physiotherapy afterwards to help with the recovery and the return to normality over time.
     
  12. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Do a google search on skeletal traction but be warned, some of the images look quite barbaric! If you search something enough, and use all the phrases you can think of (the more in depth the better) then you will eventually find what you are looking for.

    The funny walk, it was not a bad walk, but almost as if she couldn't quite bend one knee as much as the other when she walked. Not quite a waddle but ... Try walking with one foot normal but the other foot on tippytoes. Something like that!
     
  13. sinnernear
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    Wow that is a much more odd visual than I expected. For some reason I pictured the "did you just get off a horse" type of walk.
    Skeletal traction.....? Woweee that's WAY beyond my writing capabilities. I would be guessing at a lot of it and I don't think I could make it very believable *big sigh*. I might have to go back to the drawing board and see what other unfortunate circumstance(s) I can come up with. This car accident business makes me feel like I would have to pull a way too many things out of thin air just to finish the story. :( I would like to say, though, that looking up videos on this subject was much more helpful than the information I'd come up with before. It was a very good suggestion, thanks to both you who recommended that.
     
  14. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    The main issues with car or pedestrian trauma are blood loss and organ damage. For example, pelvic fractures are pretty bad, they bleed a lot, hurt a lot but also can rupture all kinds of organs like a bladder, ureter, muscles, ovaries and uterus in a woman, and also, can cause fat emboli due to large amount of exposed bone marrow. Also, it can rupture veins and arteries in the groin or hip, leg, abdomen, some of which can cause you to bleed out quickly.

    Major bone fracture, like femur or humerus, clavicle, can all cause bleeding. With broken ribs, you are worrying about a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and tension pneumothorax. Broken sternum, you'll be making sure the heart or the pericardium, or any of the mediastinal vessels, are intact. Haemothorax is when the lungs fill up with blood, also needs urgent treatment.

    In the abdomen, apart from the aorta and various large organ vessels, you are worrying about damaging the spleen (which can be safely removed and a person can live without it) but also liver and kidneys, which you don't want to have to lose.

    And then you have spinal cord and spinal vertebral injuries, that can cause anything from simple breaks, some cord damage, paralysis or even death, depending on the level where the spine was damaged and whether the transsection was complete or not. Higher up, you are looking at facial bones fractures, skull fractures, concussions, and various bleeds in the brain (subdural, extradural, subarachnoid, intracranial haemorrhage). If you google these terms, you should be able to find a lot more info on this.
     
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  15. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    You're assuming there is only one way for someone to be hit by a car, and that's with the front. I deal with crashed cars every day, and there are other alternatives for your character to get injured. Aside from the common frontal impact, they could get clipped by the mirror (that nearly happened to me once), backed into, the car could be sliding out of control and impact them with it's side or at an angle...think outside the box.

    I've inspected cars that have hit pedestrians and the damage is sometimes nil, to minor dents, to full fledged heavy damage. Ditto with cars hitting deer or other animals. Damage levels vary greatly, and it could be assumed the same would be the effect on the person being struck.
     
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  16. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Don't let all this information put you off. That's why we research and make notes. As someone suggested earlier, two people could have the same accident, one could die and one could walk away. As the writer of the piece, it's up to you to find out what 'could' happen (worst and best case scenario) and then actually write what 'did' happen to your character.

    Part of being a writer is making your writing as believable as YOU want it to be and that's where the research comes in.

    But don't let it put you off, please ...
     
  17. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    And don't be afraid to ask people in the know. The worst they could say is "No, I'm not prepared to answer your question" in which case you move on to someone else or the next book in the library. Actually, kids reference book are fabulous for research!

    True story here, about four months ago I was struggling with how one of my characters (who is a nurse) would deal with losing a patient in her emergency room, especially as it had happened before and not affected her in any way. A couple of days later, I got an appointment for the dreaded smear test which I had put off for a year (I know, tell me off now). So off I go, ready for the inevitable (I hate any kind of physical exam, hate with a passion!) and I'm laid out half naked on the table, blood pressure through the roof when I asked the nurse "can I ask you a question about working in the accident and emergency department at the hospital?"

    A while later, I asked if she was done yet, she replied, laughing "I finished the exam ten minutes ago."

    Two birds, one stone - I got the exam out of the way, talking about my book relaxed me enough for the exam not to leave me in pain through being tense and I got my research questions answered!
     
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  18. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @cutecat22 : That's totally rad! I love it! :agreed: :rofl:
     
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  19. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    The best research is living what you are writing about, and if you can't do or haven't done that, the chances are someone out there has. (obviously I'm not talking about sci-fi/fairies and lord of the rings here, just everyday stuff).

    I've found that most people (professional and friends) that I talk to about situations that I want to write about, are only too happy to contribute. I don't always use what they say but it does get written down and filed in my research journal as I never know when the same question might arise again.
     
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  20. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hoard research, I have a separate file where all that goes, under topics. I hardly ever look at it, but if I need something I know where to find it :) I agree about asking people. I think it's important to combine it with online research as well, because I know I have million questions about something I want to understand but don't know much about, and people generally respond better to fewer, more specific questions then 'teach me something that took you ten years to learn and master' kind of thing.
     
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  21. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Absolutely! I used to hate research as I did everything on google but since I became more outgoing (in real life I'm quite shy) and asking people about things, I have found more believable and realistic answers.

    Do you do research notes in pencil too? I can't do research in pen, it has to be pencil, even when I'm drawing maps, plans, pictures of characters, plots, timelines it all has to be in pencil.
     
  22. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Pencil is a smart choice because you can change it easily. I do it all on my computer, partly for that reason. I copy-paste bits around all the time, I change every chapter so many times before I'm happy with it, I have a feeling doing all that on paper would be a nightmare. I use photoshop anyway for my photography, so I tend to draw timelines and the rest digitally. I also have files of images in my 'Resources' folder, anything from People, Places, Objects and everything in-between, for visual reference.

    But sometimes I feel like I could do with something I can move around in real space, like cards or post-its, just to feel paper under my fingertips is a good, creativity-inducing feeling. But I also hate mess, and I have so much paperwork for various other jobs I do, the tidiness of the computer appeals to me. Actually, I haven't written anything in hand for so long, if I try now, my hand starts to hurt :(
     
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  23. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    All of my actual writing is on the lappy, just the research is on paper - but there's a lot. I do print blank calendars for my timelines as I find this easier than having a wall full of post it notes but I have suck little tags on my journal pages so I don't have to read through every page to find what I'm looking for :oops:

    @sinnernear so sorry for derailing your thread there!
     
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  24. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @cutecat22 Printing the calendars! Thanks for the tip :)
     
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  25. sinnernear
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    The way my story pans out is my character pushes someone out of the way of a speeding vehicle and takes the hit, so I had planned it to be the front of the car. My character is a skinny, on the short side teenager so I'm trying to figure out how on earth he wouldn't be killed instantly, have serious complications for the rest of his life, or spend a crazy amount of time hospitalized.
    I was thinking of a broken leg and possibly some broken ribs, but again I'm not sure if these are plausible enough injuries.

    Then again, I did watch a video of a child getting hit with the front of a car in an apartment complex, and he just got up and walked off and resumed his playtime, so maybe the injuries could be less serious than I imagined.
     
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