Expert Witness Roles: RTA Major Internal Injury Claims

How do Expert Witnesses Assist in RTA Major Injury Claims?

RTA-related internal injury claims are often extremely complex, especially in relation to proving causation and establishing a prognosis. This is because at the time of the accident, the patient can appear initially unscathed; however, beneath the skin, life-changing injuries and extensive blood loss may have occurred.

In personal injury cases, an expert witness is normally required to assist the Court in deciding who is liable for the RTA (or apportionment of liability if contributory negligence is proven), and provide a prognosis to allow the Court to work out quantum of damages.

What are the most common types of RTA internal injuries?

Travelling in a moving vehicle creates kinetic energy. When car breaks are applied to slow the vehicle down, the energy is slowly dissipated through heat into the breaks (which is why they can smell if you use them too much when travelling downhill).

However, in a car crash, the energy has nowhere to go except through your body. Internal injuries can be caused by your frame hitting an external object, for example, the steering wheel, or through the internal organs being propelled forward at speed and hitting your chest wall or skeleton.

The most common types of RTA internal injuries include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), one of the most devastating internal injuries resulting from road traffic accidents. They occur when a sudden jolt or blow to the head causes damage to the brain. The severity of TBIs can range from concussions to more critical injuries like haemorrhages, contusions, and diffuse axonal injuries. These injuries can lead to a variety of cognitive, physical, and emotional impairments, including memory loss, impaired motor functions, and emotional disturbances.
  • Trauma to the chest area and internal organs, particularly the heart and lungs (often referred to as thoracic injuries). Blunt force trauma in RTAs can cause rib fractures, cardiac contusions, and lung injuries, resulting in life-threatening conditions like pneumothorax and cardiac tamponade. These injuries demand immediate medical attention, and their complications can be long-lasting and life changing.
  • Abdominal injuries which can encompass damage to various organs, including the liver, spleen, kidneys, and intestines. In RTAs, blunt force or penetrating trauma can lead to internal bleeding, organ damage, and infections. 
  • Pelvic injuries, which are especially common in high-impact collisions. Fractures and dislocations of the pelvic bones can result in severe pain, internal bleeding, and damage to nearby structures. Pelvic injuries may also lead to long-term mobility issues and chronic pain.
Expert Witness Roles: RTA Major Internal Injury Claims

What is the impact of RTA internal injuries on patients?

The short, medium, and long term impact of internal injuries can encompass psychological, financial, lifestyle, and physical damage.

Examples include:

  • Physical – internal injuries can lead to a multitude of physical consequences. Victims may experience pain, restricted mobility, and the need for extensive medical treatments, surgeries, and rehabilitation. The severity of these injuries can lead to permanent disability, affecting a person’s ability to lead a normal life.
  • Psychological – RTA survivors often experience emotional and psychological distress due to the trauma they have endured. This includes symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and survivor’s guilt. Coping with the emotional aftermath of a traumatic accident can be as challenging as dealing with the physical injuries.
  • Financial – the cost of treating internal injuries can be astronomical. Medical bills, surgeries, therapy, and long-term care can lead to substantial financial burden for victims and their families. Many victims may also experience a loss of income due to their injuries, further exacerbating the financial strain.
  • Lifestyle – internal injuries can necessitate significant lifestyle changes. Patients may be unable to perform everyday tasks, participate in their hobbies, or engage in physical activities they once enjoyed. This can lead to feelings of frustration and a sense of loss.

What is the role of an expert witness in an RTA internal injury claim?

In RTA personal injury claims, expert witnesses play a crucial role in assisting the Court in understanding the complexities of internal damage. Medical expert witnesses can help establish the nature and extent of the injuries sustained by the Claimant.

This includes diagnosing traumatic brain injuries, thoracic and abdominal injuries, and assessing their severity. In addition, expert witnesses can determine whether the internal injuries are a direct result of the accident, which is crucial in establishing liability. They can differentiate between pre-existing conditions and injuries caused by the accident.

By examining the Claimant personally and analysing their medical records, an expert witness can outline the necessary medical treatments, surgeries, and rehabilitation required to assist recovery. They can also provide insights into the long-term prognosis of the Claimant’s injuries, which helps with estimating future rehabilitation and care costs.

How can Expert Court Reports help

The type of expert witness needed in an RTA internal injury claim depends on the Claimant’s injuries. At Expert Court Reports, we have experts in the following disciplines who have extensive experience in appearing as expert witnesses and drafting reports:

If you would like to learn more about how our Highly Experienced Expert Witnesses can assist you in an RTA internal injury claim, please call us on 01865 587865, email office@expertcourtreports.co.uk, or request a call by completing our online form. We will arrange a time for you to speak to the appropriate Expert Witness who will listen to the case details and advise the best way forward.