What Are the Most Common Car Accident Injuries?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Car accident injuries vary significantly in severity, however, there are several common types of car accident injury that occur in a collision.  If you have been involved in a car accident, you should know what type of injury you have suffered and how your injury affects your car insurance claim.

TIP: Before you file a car insurance claim, you will need to know the full extent of your injuries and the value of your medical bills.  Depending on what type of car accident injury you have suffered, you may need ongoing medical attention, in which case you will need to include future costs into your claim.

Most Common Car Accident Injuries

The impact caused by a car accident can result in external or internal injuries to all parts of the body, including the neck and spine.  Some injuries will take weeks to heal, while others can take months, years, or even result in permanent disability.  Knowing what to expect from your recovery based on the type of injury you have suffered can help you value your car accident injury claim, and get the money you need to recover.  You should be aware of the most common car accident injuries:

  • Cuts or Lacerations:  Broken glass, torn metal, and flying objects within the car make cuts and lacerations likely injuries in a car accident.  While some of these injuries can be minor, serious lacerations can require stitches, or even surgery to repair.  Although long term damage is less likely, scarring can be an issue that affects quality of life, particularly if the scars are visible on the face or neck.
  • Broken Bones:  Due to the impact of a car accident, broken bones are common.  Wrists, arms, ankles, legs, and ribs are all commonly broken.  Some breaks are simply treated with a cast and do not leave long term damage, while others may require surgery.  If you have a broken bone that requires surgery to repair, you can consult an orthopedic specialist to determine if you can expect long term damage. If you have long term damage as a result of a car accident broken bone, reflect your anticipated medical needs in your insurance claim. 
  • Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI):  A blow to the head during a car accident can cause a concussion or TBI.  Since there is very little visible damage that would indicate concussion or TBI, you should consult a physician if you hit your head during an accident.  Concussions and TBI may not have immediate symptoms, so it is critical that you consult a doctor if you have suffered a blow to the head during a car accident.
  • Internal Injuries:  The force of a car accident may cause injury to internal organs.  Internal bleeding is a serious injury and needs immediate treatment.  If you suffered from internal bleeding, ask your doctor what your immediate and long term treatment needs are and include those costs in your car insurance claim.
  • Spine, Neck, & Back Injuries:  Whiplash is a common car accident neck injury.  The sudden jolt of the accident that moves the head and neck outside its normal range of motion, straining tendons and ligaments.  Whiplash is considered a soft tissue injury, and can have long term effects in some cases.  Whiplash, like other common car accident neck injuries, can be difficult to prove, so consult a doctor for diagnosis and evidence of your injury.  Serious spinal injuries resulting in paralysis are also possible, although less common.  Due to the potentially serious and long term nature of head, neck, and spine injuries, you should have a doctor fully explain your immediate and long term medical needs before filing an insurance claim.

TIP:  Not all common car accident injuries are obvious right away.  If you have been in a car accident, it is a good idea to have a doctor exam you for injuries, even if you do not feel the pain is serious enough.  You also need to be well aware of changes to your body and be sensitive to pain – a serious injury could be lurking.

Psychological Injuries

Not all common car accident injuries are physical, particularly if the crash is serious.  Drivers and passengers involved in serious and fatal car accidents can suffer from severe emotional distress and develop symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as a result of the crash.  Typically you must show that the emotional distress has negatively impacted your life in order to pursue insurance money or legal damages.  For example, if you can no longer sleep, eat, go to work, or interact with your loved ones, then you may be entitled to compensation for emotional distress after a car accident.

TIP: Do not settle your car accident injury claim until you know the full extent of your injuries – physical and emotional – because once you settle, your case is over.  Read through this article on What to Know Before Signing a Car Insurance Settlement Agreement, and consult an experienced car insurance attorney for assistance.


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