Over 3 million people a year are hurt in car accidents and vehicle accidents in the United States. The types of injuries you can sustain in one of these accidents varies, but there are five types of injuries that occur more frequently than all others. The two major categories of injuries caused by vehicle accidents are impact injuries and penetrating injuries. The five most common types of vehicle accidents span both of these categories.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Any time there’s an injury to the body’s connective tissues, a soft tissue injury has occurred. Connective tissue is composed of three main things.

  • Muscles
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons

These injuries are the most common type, and can occur in a variety of instances. Whiplash injuries (typically to the neck and upper back), bruises, muscle sprains, and serious back injuries are all included in this type of injury.

Scrapes and Cuts

Sometimes loose objects in a car go flying and become projectile weapons when a car accident occurs. Coffee mugs, glasses, books, cell phones, computers, and anything else in the car that isn’t securely attached to the interior can all hit your body during an accident and cause scrapes, cuts, or other skin injuries. Usually these are minor, but they can also be very serious, such as head injuries or those that bleed too much. Airbags can also cause scrapes and cuts.

Head Injuries

Head injuries can be serious or minor, but are always something to take seriously until a medical professional can clear it as non-threatening or treat it. If a car stops
unexpectedly, swerves, or moves suddenly it can cause those in the vehicle to move in unnatural ways. This can cause people to hit their heads on the hard surfaces within the car. Flying objects and airbags can also cause head injuries at times.

Some head injuries consist of cuts and lacerations, which are external injuries that can be treated by medical professionals relatively quickly. However, the danger lies in closed head injuries, or those that can’t be seen from the outside. These can be particularly insidious because the symptoms of them can show up days or weeks later. Closed head injuries can range from minor concussions all the way up to severe brain damage. Always have your head examined if you’ve been in a car accident, even if you don’t think you’re injured.

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries can be as minor as a small contusion or bruise or as serious as broken ribs and internal injuries. Sometimes drivers sustain chest injuries because of how they’re positioned behind the steering wheel. Other times, a passenger might end up with a chest injury because they were thrown forward. Seat belts, while important for safety, can also cause bruising to the chest if the car stops suddenly. Regardless of the reason for the injury, if you’ve sustained a chest injury in a car accident, be sure to seek medical help.

Arm and Leg Injuries

Finally, it’s very common to sustain injuries to your extremities during a car accident. The same force that throws a person’s head or body around during an accident can also cause their arms and legs to slam against the surfaces of the car, sustain cuts or bruises from flying objects, or become lodged in unnatural positions. These injuries can be a minor bruise or as serious as a broken bone or sprain. Again, always seek medical help if you’ve sustained any kind of injury in a car accident.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, be sure to seek the help of law enforcement and medical personnel. Remember that you have legal rights as the victim of a car accident. It’s always a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney after you’ve been injured to ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to under the law.


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