According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than three million people suffer some type of injury in motor vehicle accidents across the United States every year. One study found that the average person can expect to be involved in at least four accidents during his or her lifetime. With the combination of the speed and size of most motor vehicles, even low-impact crashes can cause serious injury. Here are some of the most common types of injuries sustained in auto accidents:
- Whiplash—This may be the most common injury caused by car accidents, affecting two of every three people involved in car crashes. Whiplash is caused by the sudden snapping of your head and neck after the impact of a collision. This type of soft-tissue injury can be among the most debilitating and long-lasting.
- Head injury—It’s not unusual for your head to strike some part of the vehicle during a crash—the windshield, the dashboard, the steering wheel. Even though your skull provides significant protection, you can experience swelling and other traumatic brain injury from even slight impact.
- Broken bones—Broken ribs are fairly common in motor vehicle accidents. Ankles and legs also may fracture when your body is thrown forward during impact.
- Internal bleeding— After any car crash, it’s imperative that you have a thorough checkup to determine whether you have internal bleeding; it can be one of the most dangerous injuries, simply because it’s unseen. You don’t need internal cuts to experience internal bleeding.
- Spinal cord injury—The impact of a collision can twist or strain your spinal cord, leading to disc damage, nerve trauma, or inflammation.
- Connective tissue injury—The sudden impact of a car accident can strain or tear ligaments, tendons, muscles, cartilage, and other connective tissue in your knees, shoulders, arms, and legs.