Auto accident injuries are wide-ranging, but some are more common than others. They can be influenced by seatbelt usage (or lack thereof), airbags, the direction the impact came from, the speed of impact, or the position of the occupant’s body when impact occurred (facing straight ahead or turned).
Soft-tissue injuries—those involving ligaments, muscle, or tendons—are the most common car accident injuries. Whiplash is a notable one. Muscles and ligaments of the neck and shoulders are unnaturally stretched due to sudden, high-energy movements caused by impact. These forces are responsible for many back injuries as well, including serious ones involving the spine.
Scrapes and lacerations can result through contact with something solid inside the car; loose, flying objects, such as a cell phone, eyeglasses, or a bag of groceries; or getting smacked in the face by an airbag.
A blow to the head can cause a concussion, as the brain is slammed against the interior of the skull. A severe impact might cause permanent brain damage. Arms and legs may be thrown against the door or get rammed into the dashboard or front seat. Cuts, scrapes, sprains, and fractures are all possible.
And don’t forget about chest injuries, which can range from bruising to broken ribs and internal injuries caused by impact with the steering wheel or dashboard. Seatbelts may be responsible for severe chest bruising in high-impact crashes—but it still beats the alternative.
Some auto accident injuries aren’t readily apparent. It may take days, weeks, or even months for them to become evident. Always seek medical treatment for even the slightest discomfort or early indication of injury.