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What are the Most Common Car Accident Injuries?

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Peter J. Gregory
Jun 5, 2022
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On average, every year in the United States 4.4 million people are seriously injured in a car accident and 1.35 million people globally lose their lives. Injuries resulting from car accident range in severity depending on the collision, which relies on a number of factors, namely a person’s sitting posture at the time of the accident, the speed rate of the vehicles at the point of the collision, the position where the cars were hit, the point of impact could be the front, the side, or the rear angle, and lastly if the driver or passenger was wearing a seatbelt. It is important to take note of the factors that a driver or passenger can control, such as ensuring to wear a seatbelt and withholding from dangerous driving over the posted speed limit.

Common physical injuries that may result from car accidents include: whiplash, concussions, head injuries, broken or fractured bones, cuts, bruises, burns, and internal bleeding.

The most commonly documented physical injury is whiplash. It occurs when a car stops or turns suddenly, causing violent back and forth movement of the head and neck. This is a traumatic injury for the neck muscles, ligaments, and spinal disks which can cause extreme pain and discomfort. Immediate signs of whiplash can include neck pain, dizziness and limited range of motion. Long-term effects often include bad headaches, memory and concentration problems, sleeping issues, and tingling or numbness in the arms and legs.

A concussion is another serious injury that can result from a car crash. It is brain injury caused by a sudden movement of the head on impact which causes it to spin and produce ringing sounds in the ear.  Concussion symptoms can manifest immediately upon injury, some of which include loss of consciousness, feeling unfocused, memory loss, headache, vision impairment, sickness, fatigue, and insomnia or unusual sleeping patterns.

High speed collisions can cause the head of the victim to hit the steering wheel, deployed airbag, side window, or even the windshield. This can lead to internal brain injury, which occurs as a result of a quick stop that jars the brain and causes it to hit the inside of the skull. Serious brain injury can lead to long-term problems like reduced brain function, a reduced ability to understand complex ideas and memory problems.

On impact another injury that can result is broken or fractured bones. It is common in a car accident to experience broken legs, arms, hips, ribs, and ankles. This occurs due to the extreme amount of blunt force applied to the body in certain situations. There are two different types of breaks which may occur in an accident: simple and compound. Simple breaks do not break the skin and are easily treatable through the employ of casts. Compound breaks cannot be healed so easily. They are fractures that penetrate the skin. This break in many cases will require surgery in order to fully heal.

Cuts and bruises are usually some of the less serious injuries that can occur in a car accident. These are typically soft tissue injuries that heal quickly, but in some situations can be deep lacerations that affect the deep muscle tissue or even the internal organs. Such injuries are caused because of broken glass, torn metal sheets, or flying objects. Serious lacerations can cause intense blood loss, pose a risk of infection or result in scarring. When the body is impacted against any object, it causes bruises. Road rash although a possibility if thrown from the vehicle, does not occur in the majority of accidents. Burning can also occur when a passenger in the car comes into contact with parts of the car that they typically do not, such as hot engine parts or spray liquids. In serious accidents the vehicle may catch on fire causing life-threatening burn injury.

Internal bleeding or injury only occurs in serious high impact collisions which make up the minority of vehicle accidents, but can be the most life-threatening. Since the human body is fragile and all of the internal organs are very delicate, the forces of a car accident can cause some serious damage inside the body and cause the organs to bleed. Signs of internal bleeding include purple bruising, abdominal swelling, dizziness and fainting.

Although physical injuries are viewed as the most dangerous injuries that result from a crash, psychological damage can be just as serious. Along with physical injury, most accidents also encompass some form of emotional or psychological injury, especially if one or more of the passengers suffered serious injuries or death. These psychological injuries can consist of aversion to driving, anxiety, depression, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Signs of PTSD include hopelessness, paranoia, and flashbacks.

If you or a loved one has sustained a serious injury in a car accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help. It is important to consult with a lawyer early to investigate your options, and preserve crucial evidence.  For assistance with these matters, please contact us to learn more.

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About the author:  Peter J. Gregory is a partner with the firm.  He is a trial lawyer with extensive experience resolving disputes in state and federal trial courts. His personal injury practice focuses on advising clients who have been injured or lost loved ones in accidents caused by the carelessness or recklessness of others. Please feel free to contact him directly at pgregory@mccmlaw.com or (585) 512-3506.

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.


About MCCM

McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979.  With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.

We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England.  They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts.  For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.