The Most Common Types of Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents

Given how much the typical American relies on their car, it can be easy for them to forget just how dangerous this activity can be. All it takes is one second spent looking down at a smartphone instead of the road ahead. And despite the incredible technology that automakers have developed to make cars safer — airbags, backup cameras, lane assist, blind spot detection, anti-lock brakes — you still take your life into your hands every time you get behind the wheel.

Thanks to these developments, it's more likely than ever before to walk away from a car crash with only a few scrapes, bumps, and bruises. Nevertheless, it’s essential to seek medical attention after an accident. There are some injuries that might not be immediately apparent.

What are the most common injuries caused by car wrecks? Let’s take a look.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Some of the most serious injuries are those involving the head. In an accident, a person’s head can hit the dashboard, steering wheel, windshield, or window. Even if there is no such impact, the force of the accident can cause trauma to the brain inside the skull. This can lead to concussions, skull fractures, brain stem herniation, blood clots, strokes, and even comas and death.

Additionally, hearing loss, vision loss, memory impairment, and other cognitive problems can occur as the result of blunt force trauma to the brain and head. These issues are especially dangerous because they might not manifest themselves until days, weeks, or even months after the accident.

Neck and Back Injury

After a car accident, it’s incredibly common to experience damage to the spinal cord, herniated disks, whiplash, and/or generalized neck or back pain. Nerve damage can lead to a whole host of medical issues, including partial paralysis, weakness, muscular atrophy, sensitivity, and pain.

One reason that neck and back injuries should be taken seriously after a car crash is that damage to the spinal cord can cause a ripple that will affect your entire body by leading to misalignment, pain, motor function and reduced mobility. You can click for more information on why you need to take back and neck injuries seriously.  In addition to having your primary care physician give you a complete checkup, you will also want to see an accident & injury chiropractic doctor. Again, this is true even if you are not experiencing neck pain or back pain.

Trauma to the Chest or Torso

A high-speed collision can result in broken ribs, collapsed lungs, internal bleeding in the chest or abdomen, or damage to internal organs. It will be apparent if you have broken one or more ribs, or if your lungs have sustained serious damage. Internal bleeding and organ issues, however, won’t be readily apparent. However, they can necessitate emergency surgery.

Because car accidents are so sudden and so traumatic, anyone with poor cardiovascular health is also at risk for heart failure, stroke, and cardiac arrest.

Broken Bones

Orthopedic injuries like bone fractures are another common type of car accident injury. These include broken noses, collarbones, wrists, arms, legs, and ankles. Fractures can run the gamut from a relatively straightforward injury that requires nothing more than immobilization and time to heal to complex injuries that require multiple surgeries, grueling physical therapy, and years of rehabilitation before the victim is able to function normally again.

Emotional Trauma

We often think of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as befalling someone who has undergone sustained periods of extreme stress, or multiple instances of trauma. But it is entirely possible to be diagnosed with PTSD after a single incident of trauma, such as a serious car accident.

Even if an individual doesn’t meet the criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD, going through an accident can lead to short- or long-term depression or anxiety. It can take some time before you are back to your old self, especially if the accident has affected your ability to live and work normally. If anyone was killed in the accident, you may wrestle with survivor’s guilt and the feelings involved in facing your own mortality.

It’s vital to acknowledge the role emotions can play in your overall well-being. Give yourself time to heal, and don’t be afraid to see a counselor or therapist if you need to.

The Importance of Qualified, Compassionate Professionals

Do yourself a favor and seek out medical attention after a car accident. Even if you don’t think you have been seriously injured, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. The same goes for a consultation with a car accident attorney. It might seem unnecessary to have legal aid, but in the aftermath of a traumatic crash, you need help assessing your situation and learning how to move on. Let the professionals help you make sense of what’s happened — and what your next steps should be.