Even a minor car accident can cause injuries that impact your quality of life. From minor cuts and bruises to severe head trauma, car accidents can cause a wide range of injuries that can impact virtually any part of the body. But some injuries are more frequently seen with car accidents than others. Here are seven of the most common car accident injuries.
7 Common Car Accident Injuries
1. Broken Bones
One of the most common injuries in car accidents is broken bones. Fractures can occur on impact or because of compression. They’re especially common in high-impact crashes where the force applied to the bone is stronger than the bone itself.
Usually, accidents affect the extremities: arms, hands, legs, and feet. However, any bone can break in a car accident.
If you break a bone in a car accident, you’ll know it. Fractures can cause serious pain, and you won’t be able to move the body part. Medical attention must be sought immediately to ensure proper healing of the bone and successful recovery.
2. Scrapes and Cuts
Lacerations are extremely common injuries in car accidents. Flying objects in the vehicle or collision with the dashboard or steering wheel can tear soft body tissue.
Fortunately, most scrapes and cuts are mild, causing pain and minor swelling. But in serious accidents, they can be severe or cause permanent scarring and disfigurement. When disfigurement occurs, it can lead to emotional trauma, depression, and anxiety.
Whiplash occurs when the neck is rattled back and forth. It’s more likely to occur when a driver is rear-ended, but whiplash can develop after any type of car accident.
Whiplash can cause pain, stiffness in the neck, and headaches. This type of injury isn’t always apparent at the time of the accident. It can take several days for symptoms to develop, but this type of invisible injury can be just as debilitating as a broken bone or other physical injuries.
One of the most common head injuries in car accidents is concussions. A concussion can occur because of blunt force trauma to the head or if the head is rattled back and forth in the accident. Concussions can be mild or severe. Severe cases can have a long-term impact and cause distressing symptoms.
Symptoms can include dizziness, head pressure, headache, temporary loss of consciousness, and ringing in the ears. Like whiplash, the symptoms of a concussion may not develop for several hours or a day. Paramedics are trained to look for signs of a concussion, so it’s important to seek medical attention after any accident, especially if you hit your head.
5. Arm and Leg Injuries
Arms and legs are especially vulnerable to injury in a car accident. Arms and legs can be thrown against the door or the steering wheel. When drivers are rear-ended, their hands and wrists may collide with the steering wheel, causing injuries in the process. Passengers have little room to move, leaving their legs vulnerable to sprains, fractures, and lacerations.
Fractures, cuts, and bruises are all common injuries that can affect the arms and legs in a car accident.
6. Back Injuries
In serious accidents, back injuries can occur, including spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries can result in paralysis and severe damage. But even in milder cases, drivers and passengers can suffer from painful herniated discs, sprains, or strains.
Emergency signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:
- Extreme pressure in the back, neck, or head
- Paralysis or weakness in the body
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Tingling or numbness in the extremities
- Impaired breathing after the injury
- Difficulty walking or balancing
Back injuries aren’t always obvious or apparent. It may take hours or days for the pain and other symptoms to appear. Spinal cord injuries will be apparent immediately and will likely have lifelong effects.
7. Emotional Injuries
In the aftermath of a car accident, emotional injuries can develop and impact the victim’s quality of life. Accidents can cause just as much emotional trauma as a physical injury. Stress, fear, and emotional distress can have a significant, long-term impact on the victim.
Signs and symptoms of emotional injuries include:
- Anger and irritability
- Shock and disbelief
- Anxiety and fear
- Guilt and self-blame
- Sadness and feelings of hopelessness
Emotional trauma can also manifest as physical symptoms, which can include:
- Stomach distress
Car accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, but these are seven of the most common types. Any type of injury, even a minor one, can lead to high medical bills, days missed at work and other damages that impact your life.
If you have been the victim of a car accident, it’s important to call a car accident attorney right away. If the accident was caused by the other driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.