Typical Injuries That Occur During a Car Accident


Data gathered by the NHTSA, which is a U.S. government agency in charge of road safety, shows that over three million drivers and passengers in the United Sates are hurt per year when they get into an automobile accident. Although there is a range of external and internal damages that may happen, some injuries are experienced more frequently than others. Oftentimes, insignificant injuries can heal within several days with at-home treatment and rest. However, permanent damage can occur, some of which will result in a physical disability.


Injuries to those who get into an automobile accident are determined by certain factors such as the:


  • Inclusion of airbags.
  • Point of the collision.
  • Seat belt usage.
  • Speed of impact.
  • Way in which the occupant’s body and head are situated.


Injuries from car accidents are divided into two general types: the penetrating type and the impact type. Light abrasions and lacerations are considered to be penetrating injuries. Physical damages that happens to people when their body hits the car’s interior are usually impact injuries.




Loose items within the vehicle become projectiles in a collision. When one of these objects makes contact with the body, the end result may be a cut or scrape. Air bag deployment can also cut or scrape an occupant.


In some cases, surface abrasions heal without medical attention. However, deeper cuts and injuries may need stitches or cause blood less.


Brain and Head


Auto accident head injuries can range from minor to major. An occupant’s body moves in unnatural, sudden ways when the vehicle sharply changes directions or stops, resulting in head damage. Forceful contact with a steering wheel, door frame or windshield can bruise, scrape or lacerate the person’s scalp or face.


Head damage can happen during high-speed crashes. In the occurrence of closed head damage, an impact to the head during a crash can cause injury to the tissues and a build-up of fluid in the skull. Brain injuries and concussions are two types of closed head damage.


Chest and Sternum


Because of the driver’s seat position, the chest and sternum are close to the wheel, so the driver is at a greater risk of sustaining a chest injury. Passengers who are hit with a forceful impact as their bodies are jerked forward may experience major bruising from the seat belt. Bruises and contusions are common minor chest injuries while internal bleeding and rib damage are two kinds of severe chest injuries.


Legs and Arms


The legs and arms are also subject to injuries from unexpected movements, causing bruises and scrapes during minor collisions. Major collisions are responsible for many sprains and broken bones. Side impacts can slam an occupant’s limbs against the vehicle.


The Soft Tissue


Damage to the ligaments and tendons is called a soft tissue injury, which is the most commonly occurring car accident injury. Muscles are also considered to be soft tissue. There are multiple soft tissue injuries from which people can suffer, like whiplash.


Whiplash happens in the instance that neck is suddenly stretched during a collision; this stretch injures the ligaments in the neck. Spinal impacts and quick movements that cause whiplash are also responsible for soft tissue damage to the lower back and middle back, like muscle sprains.


Not every injury presents itself immediately after a vehicle accident. Symptoms may not become apparent until up to a couple of months after an accident. Anyone who is involved in a vehicle collision should receive medical attention at the first sign of an injury, even if the pain they feel seems insignificant or unrelated.