What Are Common Car Crash Injuries?

common injuries car accident

The city of Anaheim averages 5,004 traffic collisions per year. Of those collisions, 43% result in a car accident injury to at least one of the parties involved.

Any time you get behind the wheel, it’s important to understand the rules of the road, as well as the risks that you incur. While car accidents can cause a range of different injuries, each one could lead to physical, emotional, and mental damage.

Today, we’re sharing the most common car crash injuries and what you need to know about them.

Soft Tissue Injuries

A soft tissue injury affects the body’s connective tissue, such as:

  • Muscles
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments

Whiplash is a common car accident injury which occurs when a sudden movement stretches the muscles and ligaments in your head and neck beyond their capacity.

Scrapes, Cuts, and Bruises

During a car accident, items inside a vehicle can become airborne. From cell phones and coffee mugs to briefcases and purses, these projectiles can damage your body if they come into forceful contact with it.

This impact can result in a number of minor injuries, including scrapes, cuts, and bruises. While the injury might seem insignificant in the beginning, it’s still smart to get it checked out. If the force is strong, it can also lead to internal bleeding, which could cause more serious and longer-term symptoms.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Car accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). This head trauma occurs from a violent blow, jolt, or piercing injury to the head.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that an estimated 1.5 million Americans suffer a TBI every year. As a result, 50,000 people succumbed to this injury. An additional 230,000 people are hospitalized and survived, while 80,000 to 90,000 develop a long-term disability.

A mild TBI normally affects brain cells temporarily. A more serious TBI can result in a range of physical damages, including:

  • Bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Torn tissue

These injuries can result in lifelong complications or death.

One of the best ways to prevent a TBI in a car accident is to always wear a safety belt. Safety belts keep you contained during a collision, preventing you from getting tossed around or thrown out of the vehicle. In addition, most new motor vehicles now include frontal and side airbags, which can also help reduce the risk of head injuries.

Back and Spinal Cord Injuries

Research shows that more than 36% of all annual spinal cord injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents. Depending on the location, injury to your spinal cord could result in partial or total paralysis below the point of impact.

In addition to damaging the bones and joints in your spine, a collision can also stretch the tendons, ligaments, and muscles in your back beyond their normal range. Sometimes, the pain and damages are immediate. Other times, they may take longer to appear.

If you’ve injured your back in a car accident, you may notice pain, as well as other sensations such as tingling or numbness. It’s important to seek medical treatment immediately, as it could progress into a chronic or degenerative condition if left untreated.


Sometimes, vehicles can catch fire after a collision, which could result in a burn injury to the driver and passengers. In addition, your skin could also come into contact with hot fluids, surfaces, or chemicals during the crash.

Most car accident burns require medical attention, and serious ones could require skin grafting surgery.

First-degree burns affect the top layer of the skin, which may make it red and sensitive. Second-degree burns can affect both the first and second layers of the skin, as well as the sweat glands and hair follicles. Third-degree burns are also called full-thickness burns and can affect all of the above, as well as nerve endings.

The most serious types of burns are fourth-degree burns. They affect all layers of the skin and muscle and require emergency medical attention.

Broken Bones

Broken bones are a common car accident injury. As with many types of collision-related injuries, they are not always easily detectable. The types of broken bones most commonly sustained in a collision include:

  • Spinal vertebrae in the back or neck (most common in rear-end or head-on collisions)
  • Sternum and ribs 
  • Clavicle
  • Pelvic bone
  • Fibula (lower leg)
  • Cranial (skull) 

Cranial injuries can occur when the occupant’s head comes into forceful contact with the dashboard, window, or steering wheel. Sternum or rib breaks are most commonly associated with seat belt injuries. If the impact causes you to lurch forward, the belt could cut into this area, resulting in injury.

Internal Injuries

If a car accident forces your body into another object or causes you to come into contact with heavy debris, it could result in damage to your internal organs. In most cases, this leads to internal bleeding, which requires immediate medical attention.

If the bleeding occurs in your digestive tract, it is known as gastrointestinal bleeding. The obvious signs of gastrointestinal bleeding are referred to as overt, while hidden symptoms are called occult. Overt symptoms include blood in your stool or vomit.

Some of the most common signs of internal bleeding include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Pain in the chest or abdomen
  • Fainting

While you might not immediately associate these issues with internal bleeding, it’s critical to seek help immediately if they occur. Untreated internal injuries can lead to shock, anemia, or death.

You can also experience internal bleeding in your limbs or muscles if you experience trauma there. Signs of internal bleeding in your joints, tendons, or connective tissues include pain or decreased range of motion in the affected area.

Learn More About Common Injuries in Car Accident Claims

We rely on our vehicles on a daily basis. We don’t usually think about the risk of a collision, but it’s important to stay prepared. When you understand the most common injuries in car accident claims, you’ll know what to look for if you’re ever in that circumstance.

These injuries can range in scale from minor to severe. Yet, they all have one thing in common: They require time to heal.

As you recover, you could be eligible to receive compensation to cover the costs of your car accident claim. Our team of Anaheim car accident lawyers can walk you through the process and represent you every step of the way. Contact us today for a no-risk, free consultation.

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