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The 8 Most Common Car Accident Injuries

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Injuries and deaths from traffic accidents are one of the most serious public health problems in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Over 3 million individuals in the United States are injured every year in car accidents, and 2 million of those individuals experience permanent, life-altering injuries. 

Injuries from car accidents fall under two broad categories, impact injuries and penetrating injuries. Impact injuries occur from a person’s body colliding with a part of the car, such a head hitting the steering wheel. Penetrating injuries are typically scrapes or cuts, caused by shattered glass or loose objects. Below, we examine the 8 most common types of car accident injuries and how they may affect the victim. 



A soft tissue injury damages the connective tissue in the body. This includes muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Whiplash is a form of soft tissue injury, as it involves the muscles and ligaments of the neck. Whiplash occurs when the muscles of the neck are stretched quickly due to sudden movements during an accident. 

Back Injuries

Soft tissue injuries are one of the most common types of injuries from a car accident, and can manifest in various body parts. Just like whiplash, soft tissue injuries can occur to the muscles and ligaments of the back, causing serious spinal injuries.

Scrapes and Cuts From a Car Accident

When a car is struck, especially traveling at high speeds, any loose object in the car can become a forceful projectile. Keys, books, handbags, phones, or GPS systems can fly through the vehicle and cause cuts or other injuries on impact. These types of injuries may be minor or require stitches.

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries such as broken ribs are common in car accidents, especially for drivers. While driving, you are positioned just behind the steering wheel, usually at chest height. If your body is thrown forward into the steering wheel during an accident, your chest can experience an extraordinary amount of force, causing bruising or broken ribs. 

Arm Injuries

Direct trauma to the arm, especially the elbow, is common in car accidents. Victims may experience direct trauma by hitting the steering wheel, dashboard, or side door during the impact. Drivers also often brace themselves against the steering wheel with their arms during an accident, and that bracing force can cause injuries to the driver’s arms.

Leg Injuries

Occupants in a vehicle typically have little room to move their legs around. In an accident, that means that your legs are likely to hit the dashboard, which can cause sprains, cuts, or even broken bones. 

Head Injuries From a Car Accident

When a car stops suddenly due to an impact, your head can collide with parts of the interior of your vehicle. Impact with your steering wheel or side window can cause deep lacerations or bruising. A more serious accident may result in a closed head injury, such as a concussion.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

More serious closed head injuries are known as Traumatic Brain Injuries, or TBIs. These are caused from blunt or penetrating trauma, and can involve specific lobes, or the entire brain. During a severe impact, the brain will crash back and forth inside the skull, leading to bruising and the possible tearing of nerve fibers. People may not realize the severity of their TBI immediately, but this type of injury can rapidly deteriorate. This happens as the brain swells against the skull and reduces the amount of blood to the brain. 

Vehicle accidents account for 34% of fatalities from head injuries


When to Speak to a Lawyer About Your Car Accident Injury

Injuries related to car crashes incur over $75 billion dollars in medical costs and lost productivity every year. And the cost of physical injuries only scratches the surface of the true cost an accident can have on a victim’s life. Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and PTSD can all stem from a serious accident and have life-altering consequences for victims.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, whether your injuries are minor or severe, the experienced car accident lawyers in NJ at Richard Hollawell can help you receive the compensation that you need to begin the process of recovery. Contact us today for your free consultation at 1-800-681-3550 or fill out our contact form here.


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