Common Car Accident Injuries You Should Watch Out For


Cassandra Nguy

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), over 5 million people suffered from car accident injuries in the U.S. in 2022. Injuries range from accident-to-accident, where some victims just need time off work, while others are left permanently disabled.

It’s not uncommon for expensive medical fees to appear after a debilitating car accident injury. It’s especially unfair to pay when you were not at-fault for the crash.

If you experienced a car accident injury from a vehicle collision, find an auto accident attorney to represent you. This legal guide can help answer some general questions about car accident injuries, but specific legal advice comes from the source: an attorney.

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What Causes a Car Accident Injury

The most common causes of car accident injuries are unfortunately due to human error and negligence. The NHTSA reported that over 90% of crashes resulted from driver error, and you could’ve been caught in the crossfire.

Below are some common human errors the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has listed that commonly cause car accident injuries:

  • Distracted Driving—often activities diverting the driver’s attention on the road such as texting, talking, eating/drinking, etc. About 3,300 people were killed by distracted driving in 2022.
  • Drug-impaired Driving—an illegal act in America to drive under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or any potentially impairing drugs. NHTSA stated about 56% of drivers involved in serious fatal crashes tested positive for at least one drug.
  • Speeding/Reckless Driving—speeding and reckless driving contributed to 29% of all traffic fatalities and killed 12,151 people in 2022. Speeding may force you to lose control of your vehicle, amplifying the severity of your car accident injury, decreasing stopping distance, etc.
  • Weather Conditions—hazardous weather can impair judgements while hiding oncoming traffic, which can cause a crash. In 2021, 395 fatal crashes and an estimated 22,325 injury crashes happened during snowy/sleet conditions.
  • Drowsy Driving—a death toll of 693 was caused by drowsy driving. Drowsy driving accidents often happen between midnight and 6 a.m. or late afternoon, frequently occurring on rural roads and highways.

“Driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% – the U.S. legal limit.”

National Safety Council

Sometimes car accidents are unavoidable when you’re on the receiving-end of someone else’s negligent driving habits. Know how to respond in that situation to minimize common car accident injuries while maximizing your chances for a settlement.

How to Respond to a Car Accident Injury

If you were involved in a vehicle collision and sustained car accident injuries, here are important tips to remember:

  1. Call 911 and get the police involved. Notifying the police can strengthen your auto accident claim through a police report. Sometimes states require you to inform the police after an accident in case of a hit-and-run. If there were serious injuries, an ambulance will be on their way.
  2. Obtain driver info like names, addresses, contact information, driver’s license(s), license plate(s), insurance, etc., from all drivers and passengers. Don’t incriminate yourself by apologizing after the accident. Keep the interaction brief, but cordial.
  3. Take photos of the damages for all vehicles and the accident scene.
  4. Notify your insurance company immediately, this will help expedite the legal process for determining your accident settlement.
  5. If anyone was injured or vehicle damage exceeded $750.00, you must report the accident to the DMV within 10 days. Failure to report may result in suspension of your driver’s license.

Hire an attorney to guide you through the legal process while you recover from your car accident injuries. You may have suffered intense neck and back pain from whiplash, or even a headache from a minor brain injury. Never ignore your car accident injuries to prevent symptoms from developing before it’s too late.

Common Types of Car Accident Injuries

Be wary of these common car accident injuries you may encounter after a crash.

All of these conditions can be categorized into two injury types:

  • Impact injuries
  • Penetrating injuries

Impact injuries, or blunt trauma, happens when a passenger or driver strikes an object with blunt force without penetrating the body. For instance, a passenger may suffer back and head injuries from striking the car repeatedly in a rollover accident.

Penetrating injuries occur when loose flying objects penetrate the body and create a wound. For example, windows may shatter and pierce your body if cars were moving extremely fast in a head-on collision.

Don’t ignore the symptoms and consult a medical professional when needed. Injuries after a car crash may worsen over time, so don’t quit the recovery process even when you think you’re fine.

If you suffered through these types of car accident injuries, don’t forget to call an attorney to legally represent you. Explore your legal options after a car accident; you may leave money on the table when you receive your settlement.

1. Traumatic Brain Injuries

All head injuries may result in damage to your brain, skull, and scalp caused by a car accident. Depending on the area and severity of your head trauma, there are different classifications for these types of head injuries.

  • Open or closed—open injuries refer to damages that penetrate the skull, causing fractures, bleeding, or bone pressing against the brain. Closed injuries refer to brain damage that does not penetrate through the skull. A subdural hematoma may be an example of a closed brain injury.
  • Concussion—occurs as a result of the head being thrown around in an accident. Often categorized as a mild traumatic brain injury, concussions can still cause serious damage, especially when sustained multiple times in a short amount of time.
  • Primary or secondary brain injuries—primary lesions occur immediately after the initial head injury and are caused by mechanical force. Secondary lesions develop over time after the initial traumatic brain injury.

2. Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries involve any form of damage across the spinal cord. It may be through the spine’s nerve endings that connect your body to the brain. It may be the bones in your spine that support these nerves.

A spinal cord injury from a car accident can cause permanent changes in strength, feeling, and body functions below the site of the injury. Spinal cords send signals to the brain and the rest of the body and, if damaged, one may experience mental, emotional, and social side effects.

3. Internal Damage

Internal damage in one’s body can lead to life-threatening injuries like internal bleeding or organ damage. These injuries may be associated as abdominal or chest pain and will require immediate medical attention.

4. Back Injury

Back injuries can occur in any car crash with symptoms of muscle spasms, sharp pain, stiffness, or a burning feeling. Mild back injuries may heal after a few days or weeks, but more serious back pain can last months or years. Thus, it’s better to see a doctor and check if you’re suffering from chronic back pain.

5. Neck and Whiplash Injury

Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs if the head is forcefully thrown back and forth in a car accident. The immediate forceful motion can damage the neck’s muscles, tissue, ligaments, nerves, bones, and discs.

Recovery time for neck or whiplash injuries can range from a few days or weeks to maybe months. If longer than a year, the patient could be suffering from chronic whiplash syndrome.

6. Broken Bones

Broken bones after a car accident are painful injuries caused by strong forces hitting your body. Depending on the nature of your bone damage and the area damaged, recovery may take 6 to 8 weeks or more.

7. Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries are one of the most common types of car accident injuries, where one’s soft connective tissues are damaged due to outside forces. This form of harm may be associated with other injuries like whiplash or back injuries.

Back injuries from the mid or lower back muscle sprains and whiplash-type injuries are also soft tissue injuries. Injuries that stretch or damage the muscles, ligaments, or tendons are also considered soft tissue injuries.

8. Nerve Damage

Nerve damage, or neurological injuries, are serious trauma on one’s nerve endings. This can cause muscle weakness, loss of feeling, or even total loss of control of one’s bodily functions.

Nerve damage affects the central nervous system and can affect any function of the body. Types of nerve damage can cause spinal nerve damage (body movement), sensory nerve damage (body sensation), or digital nerve damage (cuts toward hand trauma).

How to Prevent a Car Accident Injury From Occurring

As most car accidents are caused by human error, there are ways to prevent an injury from occurring:

  1. Drive the speed limit or under driving conditions. For instance, when it’s raining one would slow down when driving at least 5 to 10 mph below the regulatory speed limit.
  2. Drive defensively. Avoid hazardous or unpredictable drivers and stay alert of one’s surroundings to grant enough distance between you and potential hazards.
  3. Maintain a safe distance between you and other cars. Follow the three-second rule and avoid dangerous habits like tailgating other vehicles.
  4. Signal every turn or whenever you attempt a lane change. Using turn signals can drastically reduce the chances of a car accident. The NHTSA reports that almost 2% of all car accidents are caused by turn signal neglect.
  5. Do a complete stop at red lights and stop signs. Check-in all directions and make a drive when it’s safe to do so.
  6. Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  7. Practice defensive driving. Don’t be distracted and pay attention to the road. Keep your speed down and don’t rely on other drivers.

Even though proper driving habits may reduce the chances of a car accident, sometimes a crash may be unavoidable. In the event of an accident, recording the losses you sustained is key to subsequent legal action.

What Damages May You Receive After a Car Accident?

Some damages you may receive after a car accident may be economic and non-economic in nature.

Economic Damages

  • Hospital bills
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of income
  • Property damage

Non-Economic Damages

Economic damages are the tangible losses the victim suffers, whereas non-economic damages are the intangible losses the victim felt emotionally.

Other than these damages, the at-fault party may be charged under punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for gross negligence or reckless conduct.

Contact LegalASAP to help you connect with an auto accident attorney that can analyze your case. A car accident injury may involve severe medical complications, requiring expert legal counsel guiding you through the settlement process.

We understand the monumental loss an auto accident can cause. This is why finding an auto attorney is crucial for you to seek further compensation for your necessary expenses.

To start your legal journey, you can fill out this free quick consultation form to see if you qualify for your auto accident claim. You may call us at 888-927-3080 for questions or inquiries.

Cassandra Nguy

Cassandra Tran Nguy is a legal writer living in Los Angeles, California. She graduated cum laude from California State University, Northridge with a B.A. in English Creative Writing and a minor in Marketing. Visit her online profile at