More than 3 million people are injured each year in car accidents according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission. While some injuries may heal in a matter of just days with little or no medical treatment, more serious injuries may result in a permanent physical disability.
The injuries that result from car accidents are as varied as the people involved, but there are some injuries that are more common than others. The two classifications of injuries caused by car accidents are impact injuries and penetrating injuries. A person’s body hitting some part of the interior of the car usually causes impact injuries. Penetrating injuries are usually cuts and scrapes.
Types of Car Accident Injuries
Soft Tissue Injuries
A soft tissue injury is damage to the body’s connective tissues such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This is the most common type of injury and can take many forms.
A whiplash injury to the neck and upper back is one type of soft tissue injury. The muscles and ligaments are stretched due to sudden movements in the head and neck during the impact of a car accident.
These same sudden movements can also cause low-back and mid-back muscle sprains and even more serious back injuries due to the force of impact against the spinal cord.
Soft tissue injuries to tendons and ligaments that can be sprained or torn are also common.
Cuts and Scrapes
Any loose item can become a projectile in a car accident and be thrown around a car’s interior, causing harm to passengers. Sometimes these cuts and scrapes are minor, but other times they can be more severe and require stitches and cause permanent scarring.
Head injuries are often one of the more serious consequences of a car crash. The impact of a traffic accident can cause a person’s head to hit the window or the steering wheel of the car causing scrapes, bruising, or deeper lacerations. Concussions are the most common head injury. Severe accidents can result in permanent brain damage.
More intense impacts are capable of causing a closed head injury. This is when the tissue and fluid inside a person’s skull is damaged, sometimes involving bruising and bleeding of the brain.
Chest injuries are usually bruises and contusions, but they can be more severe in the form of broken ribs or internal injuries. The driver of the car is the most common person to receive a chest injury because of the impact of hitting the steering wheel during a car accident. Severe bruising from the seatbelt and the airbag are the usual causes of chest injuries to other passengers in the car.
Arm and Leg Injuries
The same forces that throw a person’s head around in a car accident can also cause injuries to the arms and legs. During a side impact, a passenger’s legs can be hit against the door or knees can hit the dashboard. Bruises and scrapes are common, but if the impact is significant enough, sprains and breaks can occur.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention After a Car Accident
Some injuries are not immediately apparent after a car accident. It could take days, weeks, or months for the symptoms to appear. If you are in a car accident and suffer personal injury as a result, it is highly advisable to immediately seek medical attention for even the slightest discomfort.