Car accidents are a leading cause of injuries. In 2019, nearly 6.6 million vehicle accidents were reported. Of the traffic accidents reported in 2020, about 42,000 of were fatal and another 4.8 million involved other injuries. The damage they leave behind can be immense. The economic cost of car accidents is estimated to be $871 billion each year — around $900 for every person living in the United States.
While car accident injuries vary from person to person and from crash to crash, some vehicle-related injuries are fairly common. This article provides a general overview of common car accident injuries. More specific information for a particular case should always be obtained from a doctor.
Head and Back Injuries
Head injuries are among the most serious car accident injuries. Seated drivers and passengers involved in high-speed collisions can strike their heads against steering wheels, dashboards, or windows. These impacts can cause traumatic brain injuries, ranging from mild concussions to comas and lasting cognitive problems. Often extensive medical treatment and long-term medical care are required after such injuries. Head injuries can also lead to skull fractures, hearing loss, and vision problems.
Back injuries are also common. Any damage to the spinal cord can cause significant nerve damage. Patients may experience reduced sensation in and control over their arms, hands, legs, feet, and other body parts, while more serious forms of spinal damage can leave patients permanently paralyzed.
Another common car accident injury is a herniated disk. This tends to be less severe than spinal damage or head injuries, but can still cause significant problems. Patients often experience numb or tingling sensations, muscle weakness, and arm or leg pain.
Neck and Chest Injuries
Probably the most well known car accident injury is whiplash. Sudden movement of the head and neck (such as from a rear-end collision) can cause serious neck muscle and ligament damage. Whiplash injuries can differ from person to person, depending on the accident and the health of the person involved in it. Generalized neck pain and swelling is also fairly common. It is also not unheard of for patients to suffer temporary vocal cord paralysis after a car accident.
Many serious injuries are related to trauma affecting the chest area. Blunt force trauma from car accidents can cause broken ribs and collapsed lungs. People with heart problems can go into traumatic cardiac arrest from an accident. Internal bleeding in the chest area can be an immediate problem following an accident. Damage to internal organs, the pelvis, and the abdomen can also occur. These kinds of injuries require immediate medical attention.
Other Car Accident Injuries
Injuries to the arms, legs, hands and feet are quite common. Accidents involving pedestrians can see leg and foot damages, in addition to all those mentioned above.
Motorcyclists involved in car accidents can suffer significantly more serious and more numerous injuries. These can include broken bones, ligament damage — such as a torn ACL — and even severed limbs. The fatality rate for motorcyclists is also significantly higher than that for drivers and passengers in cars.
Another common injury following a car accident is emotional distress. People most often drive or ride in a car with friends and family members. Serious car crashes can leave emotional scars on those who suffered serious injuries as well as those who witnessed them. Counseling and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and similar psychological injuries is fairly common.
Suffered a Car Accident Injury? Get Legal Help
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, consider speaking with an experienced car accident attorney in your area. An attorney can evaluate your case and help you understand if you are owed money to cover the expenses caused by your injuries.