A car accident is never a pleasant experience—neither the event itself nor the aftermath of the incident.
After the initial shock of the accident has subsided and the rush of adrenaline has worn off, both you and the other party involved might be left with extensive vehicle damage, a police report, tickets, and even a lawsuit.
What’s more, you may sustain short-term or long-term injuries that require medical attention. Some injuries can be treated with a few bandages and painkillers. In other cases, the road to a full recovery is a difficult and lifelong journey.
Depending on which party is at fault for the accident, you may be able to seek financial compensation for your ongoing treatment and medical needs. Here are 13 of the most common injuries that are sustained from car accidents.
Even in the most spacious cars, there are many different ways in which you can hit your head—collisions with the roof, side window, and dashboard all being fairly common.
When a concussion is diagnosed, symptoms often include memory loss, fatigue, and headaches. Concussions are difficult injuries to treat, however, as symptoms don’t always manifest immediately.
2. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
Concussions aren’t the only head or brain injuries that can come from car accidents. A violent blow to the head might also lead to a serious traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Although these types of injuries may initially go undetected, those who are diagnosed with TBIs may experience mood changes, limited brain function, an inability to concentrate, or blurred vision.
3. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that is often diagnosed after an event as traumatic as a car accident and those who suffer from the condition typically battle it for the duration of their lives.
Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include insomnia, fear, anxiety, flashbacks, and self-destructive behavior.
4. Whiplash and neck injuries
It doesn’t take a major accident for you to experience a case of whiplash. In fact, even a minor collision can thrust your head in an unnatural motion that puts stress on your neck’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
While typically quite painful, many cases of whiplash can be resolved in weeks by applying ice and getting plenty of rest. Other cases may require physical therapy in order to achieve a full recovery.
5. Spine injuries
Because the spine is a vital component of not only the nervous system but also the structure and support of the body, injuries on any scale should be taken very seriously.
Relatively mild impact to the spine may result in a herniated disc. Fortunately, these injuries can typically be repaired with chiropractic care or surgery. Major collisions, however, can cause severe trauma to the spinal cord—to the point where the person is rendered paralyzed.
6. Broken bones
Fractures and breaks can occur at just about any area of the body during a car accident but some of the most common fractures occur in the hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders—areas that absorb a significant amount of force when attempting to break a fall.
While minor breaks can be reset and braced, more severe breaks may require surgery.
7. Broken ribs
The sheer force of a collision with another vehicle means that impact to your chest might result in one or more broken ribs. In many scenarios, the seatbelt is actually the cause of a broken rib, as the device is designed to break forward motion and prevent your body from being ejected.
While the circumstances are not ideal, it’s a relatively small price to pay for what might have otherwise been a fatal accident. In 2019, roughly 47% of motor vehicle deaths were unrestrained occupants.
8. Internal injuries
There are a couple of different scenarios in which your body might sustain damage to an internal organ—colliding with the ground or another object at high speed, or being hit by flying debris.
With this type of injury, your life could be at risk so it’s critical that you seek immediate medical attention.
9. Knee injuries
While you might assume that you have plenty of leg space in front of your seat, this changes when your vehicle is thrust forward—causing your knees to collide with the dashboard.
Some of the most common injuries to the knee include trauma to the meniscus or cartilage. Worse yet, a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) typically requires surgery, rehabilitation, and may take upwards of nine months to fully heal.
10. Soft tissue injuries
The force of an automotive collision can cause the body to contort into unnatural positions. This often puts muscles, ligaments, and tendons are put under a significant amount of stress—resulting in sprains, strains, and other soft tissue injuries.
Low-grade sprains and strains are often able to self-heal but more severe cases may require surgery and rehabilitation.
Most car accident survivors come away with at least some level of bruising—whether it’s from a head knock, the restraint of a seatbelt, or another type of collision.
Fortunately, most bruises are considered to be very minor injuries. While a bad bruise might leave an area feeling tender for a few days, most people have no issue making a complete recovery from these injuries within a week or two.
Lacerations are some of the most common car accident injuries. Fortunately, they are also some of the easiest injuries to treat.
While more severe lacerations may cause significant blood loss and leave some scarring, the average cut or scrape can be treated with little more than an antibiotic cream and a bandage.
Burns can be some of the most painful injuries sustained during a car accident and they can occur in a few different ways. A vehicle may catch fire, there may be an explosion, or skin may come in contact with heated metal or hot chemicals.
While first and second-degree burns are able to heal on their own within a few weeks, third and fourth-degree burns typically require skin grafting.