What Injuries Are Most Common From Car Accidents?

Published on 10/21/2020 by Monica Burneikis

Minor car accidents often result in bruising, muscle/connective tissue strain, and potential neck injuries that may or may not be more serious than you think. Anything more dramatic than a minor “fender bender” can leave victims with injuries, pain, and discomfort that lasts for years to come. Serious injuries can also compromise the rest of a victim’s life. In most cases, it can take days or weeks for the true physical impacts of the accident to reveal themselves in the ebb of post-accident adrenaline and business.  

This is why it’s important that all drivers understand the risk potential for accident-related injuries. The lingering aftermath of an accident is an all too common experience. According to the CDC: 

  • Car accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States for those between the ages of 0 and 30. 
  • Motor vehicle-related injuries send more than 2.3 million people to hospital emergency departments every year. 
  • Medical care costs and productivity losses associated with injuries and deaths from motor vehicle crashes exceeded $75 billion in 2017. 

Without the right support and representation by an experienced car accident lawyer, victims can wind up absorbing costs and hardships that could otherwise be alleviated or eliminated altogether. 

Accident Victims Are Most At Risk For the Following Injuries 

Knowing which injuries are the most common from a car accident can help you know what to look for so you can be your own medical advocate. Always ask your physician for a thorough, post-car accident appointment to evaluate potential injuries whenever you or someone you love is involved in a collision. 

Injuries sustained from motor vehicle-related accidents are divided into two categories: impact injuries and penetrating injuries, so we’ve divided this list to reflect that difference. 

Impact Injuries 

Impact injuries are those that affect the victim when their physical body makes contact with the interior of the vehicle during the crash. This includes things like the bruising or crushing from a seat belt jerk, your head hitting the steering wheel or dashboard, or a knee slamming against the interior side of the door.  

Depending on whether the passenger was wearing his/her seatbelt, the speed of the cars in question, and where the car was hit, impact injuries can be relatively minor, may lead to injuries that create a lifetime of disability, or can even be fatal. 

Penetrating injuries 

Penetrating injuries are those that stem from cuts or scrapes, usually the result of broken glass or from having a part of the body (or the entire body) ejected from an open window or a mangled car in a more major accident. Penetrating injuries may be as simple as an abrasion or a small cut, but can also be life-threatening or fatal. 

Most major or long-term injuries from a car accident are the results of impact injuries that damage soft tissue (or bones) during the collision or post-collision vehicle impacts. 

Examples include: 

Whiplash (neck and upper back injury) 

The injuries that commonly occur to the neck and upper cervical spine to mid-back are the result of the stretching and then rapid compaction of the tissues that occurs during and after an impact. The spine can experience incredible trauma as it moves through the rapid and forceful movements resulting from the blow of a car striking another vehicle or object.  

The strain on the connective and other soft tissues within and surrounding the spine is dramatic and can cause serious damage. Unfortunately, the severity of the injury can be masked by the pain of other injuries, as well as by the shock and adrenaline that takes over your body to help you cope with the dramatic experience you are having.  

It can take days or weeks for a whiplash injury to fully manifest.  This is why you have an extended period of time to file a legal claim after an accident. It is the legal system’s way to protect victims, giving them ample time to establish whether the physical injuries are more serious than originally thought and to assess whether the accident has negatively impacted the victim’s (and loved ones) quality of life.  

Quick and expert assessment of your injuries is essential to protect your well-being now and into the future. 

Further examples of impact injuries include: 

  • Strains 
  • Sprains 
  • Pulled muscles 
  • Overall inflammation and tenderness 

Head injuries 

Head injuries can range from minor bumps, bruising, and lacerations, to life-altering traumatic brain injuries. Concussions, brain bleeds, and brain swelling often results in memory and cognition problems, leading to permanent and debilitating long-term effects.  

If you suffer a concussion or head injury, do not rely on the urgent care or Emergency Department’s initial assessment, which often dismisses the injury by assuring you will feel better in a few days.  Always go back to your primary care practitioner or family doctor and get his/her second opinion.  Bring your initial scans and ask about what additional testing should be done to ensure you haven’t experienced a more serious head/brain injury.  

Cuts, scrapes and lacerations 

Cuts, scrapes, and lacerations are also common injuries resulting from a car accident. While some abrasions may be minor, others may require stitches or even surgical procedures to repair the damage, particularly if glass or metal penetrates through the outer layers of the skin and into the interior body cavity or other organs.  These types of injuries are often located on the head or face and can lead to major scarring that may necessitate scar revision procedures.  

Chest injuries 

The combination of the blunt force impact of a body into the steering wheel or dashboard, combined with the very strong forces exerted between your body and/or any airbags can lead to chest injuries as well as damage to the softer tissue of the abdomen and pelvis. 

If you have experienced any injuries that are common after a car accident, consider consulting with a car accident attorney to protect your best interests.  

Free Post-Accident Consultation

Here at Burneikis Law, our post-accident consultations are always free.  You will have no-obligation for making the call and we will let you know immediately if we feel you have a case that would benefit from having a legal advocate on your side. If we feel your case can be sufficiently handled by the insurance claims process, we will be able to shed some light on some of the medical exams and tests you should request in order to protect your health and wellbeing.

Monica Burneikis - Oakland Personal Injury Attorney
Monica Burneikis has been an accident and personal injury lawyer for over 15 years. She knows what it takes to fight with insurance companies in order to obtain maximum compensation for injury victims and their families.
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