Types of Car Accident Injuries: Everything You Need to Know

What is a car accident injury? Injuries arising from vehicle accidents can be as wide-ranging and unique as the type of accidents that cause them.

Your position in the vehicle, how you were hit, and whether you were wearing your seat belt or not will all determine how your body will react to the force of the collision.

And even in car accidents that seem negligible, injuries do occur.

Therefore, seeing a doctor after a car accident is critical to get any injuries addressed and treated properly.

Below we outline everything you need to know about injuries caused from car accidents. We include the different types of car injuries, diagnosis of car injuries and their treatment.


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Car Accident Injuries – Table of Contents:

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Car Accident Injuries Statistics and Facts

Here are a few statistics and facts that you should know about car accident injuries:

  • The yearly report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) shows that over 3 million individuals are injured each year in vehicle accidents across the United States.
  • Automobile accidents cost the US government a total of $230.6 billion or $820 per person for treatment, yearly.
  • Injuries from vehicle accidents are varied depending on the circumstances that lead to the collision.
  • While some injuries heal in days with little medical care, some take years to heal while others lead to permanent physical disability.

Common Types of Car Accident Injuries

There are hundreds of different types of car accident injuries that you can sustain if you are involved in a vehicle accident; however, they can be grouped into different categories as follow: Head Injuries, Orthopedic Injuries, Soft Tissue Damage, Skeletal Injuries, Neurological Damage, and, Internal Injuries.

  1. Orthopedic Car Crash Injuries

Your orthopedic system has muscles, bones, and ligaments, so even a minor vehicle accident can result in orthopedic damages including spinal cord injuries, strains and sprains, whiplash, and more.

An orthopedic injury is used to describe all types of injuries that affect the tendons, ligaments, joints, muscles, and bones. It can also refer to minor fractures as well as severely broken bones due to a car accident.

There are many types of orthopedic injuries that occur when a person is involved in a car crash. They include:

  • Upper extremity injury – They include a broken wrist or arm, ribs shoulder impingement etc.
  • Lower extremity injury – They include a broken hip, legs, or ankle, torn acl or mcl.
  • Soft tissue injury – They affect the ligaments, tendon, and muscles.

Injuries to the soft tissues and bones that fall under orthopedic injuries are often accompanied by different symptoms such as:

  • Swelling
  • Major bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Bleeding
  • Numbness
  • Bone sticking out of the skin or at an abnormal angle
  • Inability to move
  • Shallow breathing
  • Severe pain when breathing
  • A needles and pins sensation if nerves are injured
  • Cracking, snapping, or grinding of the injured part
  • Inability to rotate or lift the injured part

orthopedic car crash injury

After a road accident It is important to keep the injured person in a stable position during the ride to the hospital using temporary slings.

Orthopedic injuries are treated according to their severity. Victims with minor injuries can be treated by common orthopedists. Victim of more severe injuries will require the services of specialists.

Also, note that orthopedists and specialists use both non-surgical and surgical technique to treat the damaged tissues and broken bones. This means that devices such as braces, splints, and casts are placed on the body to keep the damages part stable during the treatment and recovery period.

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  1. Skeletal Injuries – Broken Bones From Car Accidents

Often a person might think of a fractured arm or leg or a broken bone, but a vehicle accident victim can also suffer from a broken back, a fractured collarbone, and broken ribs.

Common examples of broken bones caused by car accidents:

  • Femur fracture – It fractures when there is a high-impact collision.
  • Fibula/tibia fracture – This is a broken leg if the leg in the car crumples.
  • Rib fracture – They can be caused by a seatbelt or airbag.
  • Hip fracture – This is the most common fracture in a car accident.
  • Arm fracture – This occurs when a person tries to prepare themselves for an accident.
  • Wrist fracture – Wrists have a lot of fragile bones and hence highly likely to break during an accident.
  • Back fracture – They occurs during a rear or head-on
  • Skull/facial fracture – They occurs when an individual strikes the windshield in case they were not wearing the seatbelt.
  • Pelvis fracture – They occurs in severe motorcycle accidents and car crashes.
  • Clavicle fractures – Clavicle is quite fragile and hence prone to fracture.

The symptoms and signs of broken bones after an accident include:

  • Swelling of the injured area
  • Severe pain, which worsens with movement
  • Inability to move
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Obvious deformity

broken leg after car accident

X-rays enable doctors to determine the nature and extent of a broken bone, pinpoint its location, and determine the degree of injury to any other bone. Also, the doctors might recommend that a car crash victim undergo a computerized tomography scan to locate the broken bones.

When it comes to treatment, surgical and non-surgical treatments are often used. Surgical treatments might include fusion, implant, and vertebroplasty.

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  1. Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries are injuries to the body’s soft part, such as muscle, tendons, and ligaments. Common examples of these injuries include contusions (bruises), strains, and sprains.

Two types of soft tissue damages that generally occur after a car accident:

  • Acute tissue injuries – They occur immediately after the accident.
  • Chronic injuries – They are long-lasting and affect the victim’s life.

Soft tissue injuries have common symptoms which include:

  • Pain
  • Discomfort
  • Soreness
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Bruising
  • Cognitive issues
  • Back problems

whiplash after car accident

Of all the major forms of tissue injuries arising from car accidents, whiplash is the most experienced. Whiplash is a cervical sprain or strain or hypertension injury.

Soft tissue injuries might not be visible immediately, making it hard to diagnose, furthermore, they do not appear in x-rays. Only a specialist can fully diagnose and treat victims of soft tissue car injuries.

The mode of treatment includes medication for minor injuries to surgery for server ones. In all cases with car accidents, it is always suggested that individuals seek medical help immediately to diagnose and address any instance of soft tissue damage. This is important especially when left untreated, soft tissue injuries can worsen and potentially cause chronic issues.

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  1. Nerve Damage – Neurological Injuries

There are a lot of nerves ending situated throughout your body such that lacerations and serious trauma could result in temporary or permanent nerve damage. Nerve damage injuries can lead to loss of feeling, muscle twitching, and body weakness.

Nerve damages are injuries that affect the central nervous system of an individual. And simply because a person does not realize that they have nerve damage does not mean it is not there.

These types of damages can affect the function of the brain and often affect the toes, brain, legs, face, feet, hands, shoulders, fingers, and other parts of the body when an accident occurs.

Types of nerve damage that can occur after a vehicle crash:

  • Spinal nerve damage – They interfere with the movement of the body.
  • Sensory nerve damage – They interfere with sensation.
  • Digital nerves damages – They result from simple cuts to hand trauma.

Nerve damage is often manifested through:

  • Difficulty speaking
  • Limbs falling asleep when pressed
  • Tingling sensation in extremities
  • Abnormal pain and sensitivity
  • Paralysis
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Loss of muscle atrophy and strength

Doctors should run tests to determine the extent of the nerve damage and offer the required treatment solution. For severe damages that occur after a car accident such as paralysis, there might not be any cure but there are medicines for relieving pain.

  1. Internal Injuries

When a car crash forces your body into an object or your body is hit by debris, damages to your internal organs can occur. This type of injury calls for emergency medical treatment.

Internal injuries are injuries that cause damage to organs occupying abdominal, cranial, and thoracic cavities. These injuries affect the internal organs of the body stomach, lung, ribs, and major blood vessels.

Common types of internal injuries from a car accidents:

  • Abdominal aorta aneurysm – It is caused by a compressed stomach that occurs in car crashes.
  • Broken ribs – Broken ribs can damage blood vessels and lungs.
  • Internal Bleeding – Internal bleeding occurs when blood vessels are broken and they cannot repair themselves.
  • Organ injury – High-impact crashes can cause damage to internal organ leading to internal bleeding.
  • Pneumothorax – This happens when a broken rib punctures the lung.
  • Ruptured spleen – This leads to internal bleeding.

Symptoms of Internal Bruising From Car Crash:

  • Tenderness and pain in the body.
  • Bruising under the skin.
  • Limited range of movement.
  • Hematoma
  • Blood urine

After a car collision, it is common for the injured to conduct a self-examination of their bodies to check for any injuries that they might have sustained. With that said, it is advisable to see a doctor examine for any internal injury that the victim might have sustained. These can be diagnosed through a body scan. The treatment of internal injuries ranges from medications to surgeries.

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Other Types of Car Accidents

  1. Loss of Limb From a Car Crash

In accidents such as a motorcycle or a truck under-ride crash, individuals can lose a limb because of the imminent dangers of these crashes. In many cases amputation may be necessary due to the severity of the damage done to the limb during the accident. In any instance of a loss of limb, long term treatment is needed to rehabilitate the individual mentally and physically.

  1. Disfigurement, Facial Injuries

Another serious kind of injury, disfigurement, might include burns, cuts, dental damage, lacerations, and more. Burns occur when a car you are in catches fire. Treatment for disfigurement and burns may include but is not limited to: facial reconstruction surgery, skin grafts, and other forms of plastic surgery.

  1. Car Wreck Injury – Head Trauma

Whether you hit your head on the side of the car, headrest, or steering wheel column, it could result in head trauma. These kinds of injuries might include mild to more severe concussions as well as traumatic brain injury.

Head trauma refers to all damages to the brain, skull, or scalp caused by head injuries as a result of a car accident. These injuries are classified into different forms according to the kind of injury, how severe the trauma is, and which parts of the head is damaged.

Types Of Head Injuries From Car Crash:

  • Open or closed injury – Open injuries refer to damages that penetrate the skull causing issues such as skull fracture, pressing of a bone against the brain, or bleeding in the brain. Closed injuries refer to damages that do not break the skull or touch the brain tissue.
  • Concussion –A concussion occurs as a result of the head being thrown around (forth, back, and sideways). It is a serious injury that may occur even if your head does not make physical contact with the vehicle or anything. Its effect ranges from loss of consciousness to a headache and even a coma.
  • Primary or secondary lesion – Primary lesions arise as an impact of the initial injury to the head leading to the displacement of the brain structure. Secondary lesion develops gradually and might involve multiple cellular processes as opposed to the mechanical damage.
  • Mild or severe injury – Mild head injuries are short-lived and causes no permanent head damage. Severe head injuries require immediate medical attention since they might involve permanent damage and head bleeding.

Symptoms of mild head injuries:

  • Confusion
  • A mild headache
  • Nausea
  • Trouble standing or poor balance.
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ear
  • A small bump or cut
  • Temporary amnesia
  • A mild blurring of the vision

Symptoms of severe head injuries:

  • Unusual eye movement
  • Bleeding from deep wounds in the scalp
  • Inability to focus
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Poor muscle control
  • Convulsion

head trauma car accident injury

All head injuries due to car crash require immediate medical care so that any brain damage or bleeding can be diagnosed and treated.

Treatment for head injuries depends on the type of injury suffered and the overall state of health as well as the ability of the injured to withstand the treatment. Treatment ranges from drug therapies to deal with bleeding or seizures to surgery to reduce swelling or bleeding in the brain and pressure inside the skull.

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  1. Chest & Pulmonary Injuries

A chest injury could occur as a result of a serious accident. From broken ribs to collapsed lungs, these injuries are often serious and even fatal. Chest injuries can be as severe as a head injury and should always be addressed immediately after a car accident.

  1. Psychological Injuries

These types of injuries arise after a traumatic collision. Here, a person can experience anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the experience and injuries.

If left untreated, the above types of car accident injuries can result in further problems. For instance, a broken back might lead to nerve damage if the bone fragments interfere with the spine.

It is critical that all people who have been involved in a car accident to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. For more information about addressing injuries sustained during a car injury or to find a doctor near you, call our medical information phone line or fill out one of the many forms located on our website. Our doctors specialize in treating most injuries caused by car accidents and can help you recover quickly, safely and comfortably. Call us today and get help.

Types of Car Accidents, Injuries & Treatment.

The types of car accident injuries you suffer in an accident will depend on different factors, including the weight of the car, the speed, and the angle of the impact. Different types of collisions tend to cause different types of injuries.

Therefore, it is important to understand the types of car crashes that you can experience.

Head-on Collisions

Head-on collisions are usually deadly and lead to serious injuries. Some of the most common injuries that arise from head-on collisions are whiplash, broke bones, back and spinal cord injuries, lost limbs, serious cuts, brain injuries, and soft tissue injuries.

car accident injuries from front end collisionBroken collarbones are also very common due to head on collisions which occur because of the force of the seatbelt pressing on the collarbone uppon impact. Also, knee injuries are common in head-on collisions due to the knee slamming into objects in front of it or if the leg is locked straight upon impact which is common if the person is trying to break when the collision occurs.

All types of vehicle accidents are serious, but the head-on collision is especially risky. This is because head-to-head crash concentrates all the kinetic energy as well as momentum into the head-on collision. That increases the chances of fatal injuries for all parties.

Rear-end Crashes

car accident injuries from rear end collisionWhiplash is the most common kind of injury experienced in these types of crashes, although other kinds of back and neck injuries are also frequent. Other forms of injuries resulting from rear-end collisions include soft-tissue injuries and head injuries.

Rear-end crashes occur when a vehicle runs into the back of another vehicle. That means the faulty driver collides with the rare of the other car which makes their body to move forward while the head stays in place, leading to neck strain and hence whiplash.

Side Impact Accidents

car accident injuries from t-bone car crashYou are highly likely to be hurt in this kind of collision if you are on the side of the car where the impact occurs. Some common injuries that arise from the side impact accidents are neck injuries, chest injuries, head and brain injuries, back injuries, limb injuries, soft tissue injuries, pelvic injuries, and abdominal injuries.

There are no solid structural barriers between the occupants of the vehicle that is struck from the side, which means that serious and fatal injuries can occur.

Fatal Crashes

In fatal crashes, burns, crushing injuries, head injuries, and serious crashes are most likely to lead to fatalities.  Fatal crashes lead to the compression of the entire body that can result in serious injuries, both internal and external ones.

Some victims can even be trapped in the car where they bleed to death or even get burned by the hot parts of the car.

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Rollover Crashes

Vehicles with a higher center of gravity, such as SUV, are often prone to rolling over and causing a crash. This might be a result of taking a corner when at high speed and they can result in spinal cord injuries, soft tissue injuries, broken bones, and head injuries.

Truck and Commercial Vehicle Crashes

When a heavy commercial vehicle collides with a smaller personal car, the outcome can be fatal because of the commercial vehicle’s weight and size.

Injuries may include broken bones, spinal cord injuries, head injuries, crushing injuries, burns, and even exposure to harmful chemicals.

Heavy vehicles transfer all their energy to the smaller vehicle knocking it over or evening crashing it. This can also lead to death.

In most states, the most common kind of accident that occurs is the rear-end accident of which over 40% leads to injuries and over 45% leads to a fatality.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Car accidents are sadly very common in the world and a good number of these accidents are as a result of human error. Below are some of the common causes of car accidents that lead to different types of car accident injuries.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is the largest cause of car accidents and it has been for many decades. Drivers should always pay attention when driving. That means no texting, no calls, no reading, no eating, no applying makeup, and no grooming.

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is another major cause of car accidents around the globe and is the most fatal. If you are drunk, always give your keys to your sober friend or take a taxi.


Although you might be tempted to speed up when you are late, speeding has been shown to be the second most common cause of car accidents. So, drivers should resist the urge and drives reasonably.

Reckless Driving

Acting aggressively on the highway, speeding over the limit, and changing lanes quickly can result in horrible accidents. Therefore, it is important for drivers to take their time and remain calm while on the road to avoid unnecessary accidents.

Driving In The Rain

While you cannot always avoid driving when it is raining, the slippery, dangerous road conditions caused by storms should be avoided if possible. Also, if visibility is low or the road is slick, you should halt, pull over, and wait for the storm to pass.

Night Driving

Lack of clear visibility makes hazards quite difficult to spot during the night. Drivers should ensure that they are alert on the road during the night and use their full lights when on a clear road with no lights.

Other causes of car accidents that can lead to injuries include cars design defects, tailgating, wrong-way driving, improper turns, teenage drivers, drugs, potholes, tire blowouts, animal crossings, construction sites, and running red lights.

Before you get on the road, think about how precious life is, your family, your friend, your colleagues, and other road users. Be proactive by removing all kinds of distractions and taking the necessary precaution.

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Things to Do If You Are Injured in a Car Accident

If you are involved in a vehicle accident in which you or your family member, friend, or colleague is injured, follow these steps.

  1. Check before you move the injured

If the victim is unconscious, cannot move or feel some parts of their body, or is experiencing back, neck, or head pain, do not move that person after the collision. Instead, use car warning lights, flares, brightly-colored objects, or flashlights to help warn others of the accident.

  1. Call 911 immediately

Call or tell your friend to call 911 immediately.

  1. Seek Medical Help

Even if you do not think you are injured or you feel okay, seek a comprehensive medical examination immediately. Many vehicle car accident injuries such as hairline fractures, traumatic stress reactions, or whiplash might not be visible immediately after the accident.

It is critical to have a professional examine you to figure out what really happened to your or your friend’s body and even help to prevent making the injuries worse.

Remember that the initial shock of the accident can temporarily hide the symptoms of severe injuries.

  1. Attend all your medical appointments

Through following your physician instructions and honoring all your appointments, you increase your chances of recovering fully; as soon as possible. You also create a record that shows the nature of your injuries and the medical care and accommodations that you might require in the future.

Some people are unable to follow the above four steps after being involved in a car accident due to one reason or another. If you find yourself in this situation, you should contact a car accident lawyer or attorney as soon as possible.

Your lawyer will help you to gather the missing links and take the necessary steps to protect your rights.

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Types of Damages in Car Accident Injuries Claim

It is important for you to understand both the types of car accident injuries and how to value their claim. Some people make the error of accepting settlements without first knowing how much their injuries are worth, receiving a lower amount than they would have received.

Properly valuing your car accident injury claims might require the help of a valuation expert who can cooperate with your lawyer.

Medical Expenses From Car Crash

Medical expenses are usually a large part of the financial damages in a vehicle accident claim. These expenses include the different costs that you incurred due to the car accident and the probable costs of future medical care and treatment.

Medical expenses damages might include:

  • Ambulance costs
  • Hospital Stays
  • Medication
  • Prosthetic devices
  • Medical appointments
  • Needed in-home services
  • Surgeries
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Costs of rehabilitation

Income Losses Due to Injury

When you are left unable to perform your duties either permanently or temporarily because of car accident injuries, you can recover damages for your income losses.

Computing the income amounts that you have already lost is quite straightforward. However, if you are left disabled, the computation of future income losses earning capacity might be more complicated and requires the use of damages, life expectancy, and tables formulas.

Suffering and Pain – Physical and Mental

Suffering and pain that you experience after being involved in a car accident are often of non-economic nature since they are intangible. The law allows you to recover for the pain and suffering you experience as a result of car accident injuries.

Loss of Consortium

If you are left suffering from a disabling state that prevents you from enjoying the normal relationship you previously shared with your spouse, your spouse can file damage claims for the consortium.

However, your spouse will only receive the claim if you prevail on your car accident injuries claim since this claim is derivative of that claim.

Disfigurement From Car Crash

Some car accidents might leave you permanently or scarred disfigured in one way or another. If you are scarred or disfigured, you might recover disfigurement damages in your claim.

Loss of Quality Life

Some car accident injuries will leave you with permanent reductions and disabilities in the quality of your life. Tort law enables you to claim and recover damages for losses in your quality of life.

There are other claims that you can make if you are involved in a car accident and sustained injuries. Of important, it is advisable to seek help from a personal car accident injury lawyer since they know better how to handle these cases.

Car Accident Injuries Tips

Tips to help you after a car accident:

  • The first and the most important thing is to seek help. Call the police and ensure that they file a report.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Take photos and notes if you can. Notes on witnesses and photos of your injuries and other damages from the accident site.
  • Keep all your documents. These include hospital bills and other receipts as well as records of the time absent from your work due to injury.
  • Seek the help of a professional car accident injuries lawyer.

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Car Accident Injuries – Get Medical Help!

If you or your dear one is hurt in a vehicle accident, you probably know that the costs begin to add up as soon as the rescue team rolls out. Hence, it is important to understand the types of car accident injuries your loved one has suffered from in order to know where to start your compensation claim.