What Are the Most Common Car Accident Injuries?

Car accident injuries can be prevented through observing traffic safety rules, but sometimes they still occur. Usually, these injuries can disrupt your life as they can be painful and can also cause discomfort. 

Car accidents can cause different types of injuries, depending on the nature of the crash. However, some injuries are more common than others. Severe car accident injuries can result in missed work, sudden changes in the quality of your life, and high medical bills.

Whether a crash results from a failure by one of the drivers to yield the right of way or a head-on collision, car accident victims rarely manage to escape without a mark. 

Fortunately, if you sustain an injury in a collision that results from another party’s negligence, you may be eligible to claim compensation for the lost wages, medical expenses, car repairs, and much more.

In this article, we look at the common car accident injuries and provide answers to some of the frequently asked questions on this topic.

What Are the Common Car Accident Injuries?

As mentioned above, some injuries occur more frequently in car crashes than others. Some of the common car accident injuries include: 

Back Injuries

Back injuries are one of the most common types of injuries that result from car crashes. This is mainly due to the structure of your back and its position while sitting in the car. Back injuries can be debilitating and may vary from strained ligaments, pinched nerves, and pulled muscles. Severe back injuries include ruptured discs or broken vertebrae, which may result in permanent complications. Such complications may require consistent medical supervision or a change in lifestyle. 

Soft Tissue Injuries

As the name suggests, these injuries occur in different parts of the body and differ in severity depending on the extent of the resulting damage. For example, when the impact of a car collision causes your body to move suddenly, you can sustain swelling and bruises at any contact point. These injuries may result due to restraint devices such as seat belts. Other common soft tissue injuries may include damage to internal tissue organs like the spleen or liver, especially when slammed against the car. Car accident victims can also sustain facial injuries due to airbag deployment. 

Neck Injuries

The neck is among the most vulnerable parts of the body when it comes to car accident injuries. Sudden car collisions cause jerking angular movement at odd angles, leading to long-term discomfort and pain that might last for days or even years. 

Pain and Suffering  

Although most underlying causes can be cured after a given period of treatment or care, the victim may have to cope with pain and suffering resulting from permanent changes. However, any car accident injury can lead to pain and suffering, which may disrupt your personal and professional life. 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

In some cases, car accident injuries are not all physical. These victims may experience traumatic events that can result in PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). This condition can affect victims’ transport options in the future and lead to complications in their professional and personal lives. In addition, errant sounds, sights, or smells of such tragic incidents make it hard for them to perform well in their day-to-day life. 

Dislocated/Broken Bones

The sudden impact resulting from car crashes causes your body to initiate an instinctual defense mechanism that may include stiffening the legs and arms. Stiffening in the limbs can lead to dislocation of joints such as elbows and knees or fractures. 


This is a condition that occurs when the victim’s brain impacts the inner part of the skull due to the accident’s impact. Victims may experience permanent brain damage, cognitive impairment, and memory loss with severe traumatic brain injury. On the other hand, mild symptoms can include vision, headaches, and hearing problems. 

Broken Ribs

 The rib cage is also among the most vulnerable parts of the body as it is made up of thin bones that provide flexibility, which allows for breathing. In case of a car crash, the thin bones can be broken by the resulting impact or the safety restraints. Severe broken ribs injury can take longer to heal, but minor fractures can heal quickly and with little discomfort and pain. 

Psychological Distress

Serious car accidents may leave victims with complex emotions and psychological trauma. Some of the common psychological issues that result from car crashes include guilt, anxiety, and depression. Victims can seek the help of therapists and medical practitioners to treat such psychological trauma. However, these visits may prove to be time-consuming and costly. 

What is considered a serious injury in a car accident? 

A serious car accident injury leads to severe impairment of bodily function, permanent disfigurement, or the victim’s death. According to law, an injury does not need to be permanent to be considered serious. In most states, the responsibility of determining whether you suffered a serious injury lies with the jury. Signs of car accident injuries that are likely to be considered serious include: 

  • Chest, abdominal, or chest injuries that go beyond minor bruises and lacerations
  • Distorted or broken legs or arms
  • Unconsciousness at the accident scene
  • Third, or second-degree burns affecting at least 10% of the victim’s body
  • Severe lacerations that lead to excessive blood loss exposed muscle, bone, or tissue
  • Paralysis
  • Injuries that result from the victim being crushed

What can happen in a bad car accident? 

In case of a bad car accident, the victim’s body is violently shaken, which leads to serious injuries and damages. Such injuries include brain injuries, burns, broken bones, psychological trauma, spinal cord, and back trauma. Additionally, a bad accident can also cause property damage. 

What is the most common injury in a car accident, and why?

Car accidents can lead to any injury depending on the nature of the crash and the resulting impact. However, some injuries are more likely to occur in a car accident than others. Soft tissue injuries are the most common injuries in car crashes. These injuries result from damage to the connective tissues, including ligaments, tendons, and muscles.  

Soft tissue injuries also include whiplash, which results from stretching the neck and head muscles during the collision. Safety restraints such as airbags and seat belts can also cause these injuries. 

What Injuries can kill you in a car crash?

Any serious injury can lead to death, but chest injuries are more likely to lead to loss of life than other injuries. The chest section includes some of the most delicate organs in the human body, including the spleen, liver, heart, and lungs. Broken ribs can cause severe damage to these organs, resulting in internal, pulmonary bleeding, or even death in case of severe damage. However, head injuries can also cause death or severe impact on your quality of life. 

How long after a car accident can injuries appear?

In most cases, car accident injuries manifest themselves immediately after the crash or within 24 hours. However, some injuries may take longer to appear, sometimes even weeks. For example, soft tissue injuries such as whiplash may take days or even weeks to manifest. A serious injury could also worsen before the victim realizes that the problem came from a recent car crash. Thus, you should seek proper medical attention after the accident, even if there are no signs of an injury. 

How long after a crash can you claim injury? 

Auto accident injuries are usually expensive to treat and manage. Fortunately, victims can file compensation for the damages that result from the accident. These damages may include loss of wages, pain and suffering and most importantly medical expenses. Unfortunately, compensation claims can take up to three years from the date of the accident or the time you realized you had sustained injuries.

Why should I start my claim as soon as possible?

Personal injury attorneys recommend starting your claim as soon as you realize that you are injured. Starting your claim immediately when you are aware of the injuries makes it easy to prove the link between your injury and the accident. It is also much easier for victims to find accurate witness statements necessary in supporting the case. Fortunately, most car accident injuries appear immediately after the crash. 

Car accident Injury statistics

According to WHO statistics, about 1.3 million victims die in road accidents every year. Road traffic accidents cause huge losses in most countries, about 3 percent of the gross domestic product. Most road traffic deaths involve vulnerable road users like cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. About 93 percent of road fatalities occur in developing countries, despite having fewer vehicles.  

Moreover, around 20 to 50 million individuals sustain non-fatal injuries, which mainly include a disability. Nevertheless, according to a report by NHTSA, the number of deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles decreased from 33 to 1.41 from 2013 to 2019. The report further shows that the number of car accident cases with medically consulted injuries in 2019 amounted to 4.5 million. The total costs of such injuries totaled $463.0 billion. 

Examples of car accident injuries

Chest and Rib Injuries 

Irwin was a passenger in a vehicle that crashed into another car leading to chest injuries, including a broken rib. He was required to undergo an operation to correct the broken rib, which meant staying from work for 6 months. After filling a claim through a personal injury lawyer, he was awarded $50,000. The compensation included his medical expenses, medical treatment, loss of wages, and pain and suffering.

Spine and PTSD

Roselyn was involved in a serious car accident that caused bruising, spinal pain, and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. With the injury and the recovery process, she had to stay out of work for 2 years. The accident also resulted in a certain phobia of driving. She filed a compensation claim for the damages and was awarded $200,000.

However, she declined to take the offer. Later, she could get a further payment of up to $400,000 in court after court proceedings were instituted. In total, she received $600,000.

Lost Limb

Murray was involved in an accident on a highway while driving from work. The accident led to a severe injury that caused him to lose his leg. He was required to undergo many operations over many years, including an operation to amputate his leg below the knee. In addition, his job required much traveling, which made it impossible to return to work.

After filing his claim, he was given $1,200,000 compensation to help him cater for his needs since he wouldn’t return to work. The compensation included physiotherapy, living expenses, and also modifying his home to allow him to live independently. 

What to do if you’re hurt in a car accident as a passenger?

If you get hurt in a car crash as a passenger, you can make a claim against your driver’s insurance policy under the PIP (personal injury protection) plan. In case your driver was not responsible for the accident, you can file your claim against the insurer of the other driver. However, there are also cases where you can file a claim against both drivers in court.

First, make sure that you gather enough information at the scene of the crash. Besides, you need to take insurance details from all the drivers involved in the accident. Gather information from the witnesses and get a copy of the accident report. This information will play a huge role when filing a claim for your injuries.

Final Thoughts

Car accident injuries are costly and time-consuming to treat. Besides, these injuries can lead to a change in the quality of life due to disabilities or other complications. Therefore, if you’re injured in a car accident either as a driver or passenger, you should first seek medical attention and gather all the necessary information you need in filing your claim.

This includes the information from the witnesses, police accident report, and details of the drivers involved in the accident. However, you also need to know that some accidents take time to manifest, which explains why you should visit your doctor as soon as possible.   


Motor Vehicle Crash Injuries: https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/crash-injuries/index.html

Road Traffic Injuries: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/road-traffic-injuries

Injury Facts: https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/overview/introduction/

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