Auto accidents cause damage, and the damage can be extensive. While the most obvious and visible damage is destruction to your car, it can also cause damage to your body. Some car accident injuries may show immediately, while others may take some days before they become symptomatic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, car accidents were among the leading causes of deaths in the United States in 2021.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released figures showing that more than 31,700 people perished in car accidents between January and September 2021, while more than 6.6 million car accidents were reported throughout the country.
While car accident injuries tend to vary from one person to another and crash to crash, some injuries are fairly common. This post provides a general overview of some common car accident injuries. Read on to learn more.
What Determines Severity of Car Accident injuries?
Car accident injuries can be minor or major. Minor injuries mostly resolve within a matter of a few days without medical treatment. However, more serious injuries might easily result in some form of permanent disability.
Typically, the severity of injuries suffered by motorists and their passengers depends on a wide range of factors, including:
- Did the vehicle get hit from behind, front, or side?
- Was the victim facing straight ahead in the seat or turned in a certain direction?
- Was the victim wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident?
- Did the car have airbags? If so, did they deploy successfully?
- Was the accident a low-speed collision or a high-speed collision?
Most auto accident injuries fall into two broad categories, namely penetrating injuries and impact injuries. Penetrating injuries occur when the victim suffers cuts or scrapes caused by shattering glass or lose objects flying inside the vehicle during the accident.
Impact injuries are usually caused when the victim’s body hits some section of the car’s interior. For instance, a knee hitting the car’s dashboard or a head hitting the side window or the seat rest.
What Is the Most Common Injury in a Car Accident?
There is a wide range of injuries that may occur as a result of a car accident. Some of the most common auto accident injuries include:
1. Head Injuries
Head injuries usually take a wide range of forms. They can be minor or severe depending on the impact caused by the accident.
When a car comes to an abrupt stop or changes direction abruptly, it can cause the driver’s and passengers’ heads to move in sudden and unnatural ways. These movements can result in severe muscle strains and sprains in the back and neck.
But that is not all because the head itself can also get injured. Your head can easily sustain cuts or bruises when it hits the side window or the steering wheel. A severe head collision can easily lead to a head injury that results in tearing the brain tissue and blood vessels.
Most head injuries sustained in car accidents result in concussions. Severe injuries can lead to permanent brain damage.
2. Broken Bones
Auto accidents can inflict extreme amounts of force on your entire body. When the force is much more than what your bones can handle, they fracture or break. Broken hips, arms, legs, wrists, ribs, and ankles are common in auto accidents.
Broken bones are extremely painful and can take a pretty long time to heal completely. Recovery from this type of injury mostly depends on the type of fracture or broken bone.
The two main categories of fractures are simple fractures and compound fractures. Simple fractures refer to injuries where the bones break but don’t create open wounds. These types of fractures require a cast to heal.
However, compound fractures are more complex since they penetrate the skin. To recover from compound fractures, the victim must undergo surgery to correct the damage.
3. Dislocated Joints
Sometimes the overall force of the impact and the place of the impact on your body can lead to dislocation. The most common dislocations include the elbow and shoulder, which are related to the impact of the jolting caused on your upper body.
Other body parts that may have dislocated joints after a car accident include fingers, foot, ankle, wrist, and knee.
Although seat belts are designed to prevent severe injuries in case of an accident, they can easily slide out of position if they are not draped properly across your body, causing one of your joints to slip out of place.
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In fact, front-seat passengers are at an increased risk for dislocating their knee due to the potential impact of their knee with the dashboard or steering wheel that may occur as a result of the force generated when the vehicle collides with another.
In most cases, a joint dislocation is felt immediately because it comes with intense pain. However, in some rare cases, a dislocation of the shoulder or any other joint may not manifest right away.
Some of the common signs of a dislocated joint include limited range of motion, joint instability, weakened muscle strength, pain that doesn’t go away, deformity of the joint, and bruising/redness of the joint.
Whiplash is the common name for soft tissue injuries to the neck and back mostly caused by sudden movements during a car crash, especially in a rear-end collision. In most cases, the pain associated with whiplash won’t manifest immediately.
The overextension of the neck muscles may also affect the joints and ligaments in your neck and back, causing more pain. Typically, if you are experiencing severe neck pain, stiffness in the back and neck, or a slight increase in pain when you are in motion, you could have suffered a whiplash injury.
Another common symptom is a sudden decrease in range of motion. This means that you may not be able to turn your neck or tilt your head as far as you normally can. Whiplash is treatable if you seek medical attention immediately.
5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after you experience or witness a traumatic event. Car accidents are one of the most common events that can cause PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and severe anxiety. Some people may also experience physical symptoms such as chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and dizziness.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms after a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention and counseling.
6. Herniated Discs and Spine Injuries
The stress and force of an auto accident may also cause your spine to shift suddenly. A herniated disc injury may occur when the discs between your vertebrae bulge or rupture.
This can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in your back, arms, and legs. Some people may also experience a loss of bladder or bowel control.
This often leads to pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in the back and arms. In some cases, surgery may be required to repair the damage.
Spine injuries may also cause paralysis if the spinal cord is damaged severely. It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
What Type of Collision Causes the Most Whiplash Injuries?
Rear-end collisions are known to be the leading cause of whiplash injuries. As mentioned earlier, these injuries are caused by overextending of the neck’s natural range of motion.
Typically, when involved in a rear-end collision, the driver and co-driver are hit pretty hard from behind, causing an abrupt impact to fling them behind, resulting in a whiplash injury.
Other than auto accidents, the other types of accidents that can cause this type of injury include slips and falls, skiing wipeouts, sports injuries, and abuse such as shaken baby syndrome.
The aftermath of a car accident can be difficult for everyone involved. If you are feeling pain or other symptoms following an accident, it is important to seek medical attention right away. The sooner you address the issue, the higher your chances of recovering.
Once you have been treated, be sure to hire an experienced car accident lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
At Legal Giant, we have a team of highly experienced car accident attorneys ready to help you get the compensation you need and deserve. We understand what you are going through, and we want to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.