Distracted Driver Accidents

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What are the Most Common Car Accident Injuries?


Car accidents are unfortunately common. In 2019, an estimated 38,800 people lost their lives in car crashes. In the same year, 4.4 million people were seriously injured in a car collision and required medical attention. 

And that was a 2% decline from 2018 and a 4% decline from 2017. 

While the number of car accidents seems to fluctuate from year to year, the types of injuries victims experience from car accidents is consistent. No car accident is exactly the same, but many car accidents result in similar injuries. 


Whiplash is arguably the most common type of injury sustained from car accidents. Whiplash occurs when a car halts or turns suddenly, causing the neck area to essentially “whip” back and forth rapidly. “This leaves the victim with neck pain and difficult moving their neck for weeks,” notes personal injury experts at Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP, “more serious trauma to the neck can result in paralysis.”

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries can include sprains, strains, or bruises. Whiplash is a type of soft tissue injury and is not the only common car accident injury.

Car collisions often cause mid-back and low-back trauma, which can result in muscle sprains, tears, and sometimes more serious back injuries, such as herniated disks, due to impact to the spine. When a car comes to a sudden stop or jerks in another direction, soft tissues can be stretched beyond their normal range, thus causing injury. 

Scrapes and Cuts

During an accident, unsecured items may go flying about the cabin and hit drivers and passengers alike. Phones, glasses, mugs, purses, books, GPS systems, and water bottles are just a few of the many items that may cause injury within a car. 

If a window or windshield is punctured, exterior projectiles, such as glass, road debris, auto parts, and sparks, could cause serious cuts, scrapes, and burns to car accident victims.

Head Injuries

Head injuries sustained in a car accident can range from minor to severe, with some requiring limited medical attention and others requiring life-long medical care. 

Concussions, diffuse axonal injuries, edemas, hemorrhages, hematomas, and skull fractures are the major types of head injuries caused by car accidents. Symptoms of a head injury can range from headaches and nausea to seizures, memory loss, and changes in mood. 

It is always recommended to seek immediate medical attention after a car collision to identify head injuries as soon as possible. Some brain injuries can be assessed and properly treated before causing life-long issues.

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries are common in auto accidents due to the design of car cabins. In a collision, there is an increased chance in a driver sustaining chest injuries due to the driver’s position behind the steering wheel, which limits mobility. Colliding with the steering wheel, dashboard, and even the force from the seatbelt, can result in chest injuries ranging from bruising to cracked ribs. 

Injuries to Extremities

Similar to chest injuries, injuries to extremities are heightened due to the compact design of car cabins. With limited room for movement, arms and legs can be thrown around the cabin, causing injuries such as bruises, pinched nerves, carpal tunnel syndrome, sprains, and breaks. Examples of arm and leg injuries include legs hitting the dashboard and arms being thrown against the car door. 

Stay Alert and Help Prevent Car Accidents

After a car accident, always seek medical attention to ensure your well-being, especially if you decide to pursue a car accident claim with the help of an injury lawyer in the future. Even the most minor of injuries should still be evaluated by a medical professional.

If someone else caused your car accident injuries due to distracted driving, drunk driving, or other negligent behavior, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries in court.


Samantha is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University, with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Business Administration. She is passionate about safety and health and often works in conjunction with injury experts to help inform the online community about life-changing safety tips.

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