Over three million Americans are injured in car accidents every year. Each collision is a little different, as is each resulting injury. Some injuries resolve themselves without medical treatment while others lead to lifelong physical disabilities.

It’s difficult to make generalizations about the types and severity of injuries resulting from car crashes because factors such as seat belt use, point of impact, speed, and the types of safety features in the vehicle can all play a role. There are, however, some types of car accident injuries that are more common than others. Read on to find out about the most common of them.

Wrist and Hand Injuries

Many people who have been injured in a car accident suffer from wrist and hand injuries. Distal radius fractures are one of the most common types of injuries experienced by drivers, who often firmly grip the steering wheel prior to impact. Since people use their wrists and hands for almost everything, these common car accident injuries can have a dramatic negative impact on victims’ lives even in the absence of other forms of physical harm.

Head and Neck Trauma

The most common form of neck injury sustained during car accidents is whiplash. This form of soft tissue injury occurs when the muscles and ligaments in a driver or passenger’s neck get stretched due to sudden, rapid, back-and-forth movements. People who suffer from whiplash as a result of an accident may also struggle with head trauma such as concussions and brain injuries.

Back and Spinal Cord Injuries

Common types of back and spinal cord injuries sustained during car accidents include:

  •  Lumbar spine injuries
  • Ruptured discs
  • Fractures
  • Sprains
  • Thoracic spine injuries

Unfortunately, some of these injuries can be quite serious, and their symptoms don’t always appear right away. Sometimes, accident victims don’t start experiencing pain, stiffness, or lost range of motion associated with these forms of damage for one or more days following the collision. Experts recommend that all accident victims undergo medical exams as soon as possible following the crash to diagnose potential back and spinal cord injuries and prevent further damage.

Burns and Lacerations

Car accidents are messy, and in many cases, they can create extremely dangerous environments for those involved. If the vehicle or anything in it catches fire, burns are likely. Even in the absence of burns, road rash, lacerations, and bruises are almost inevitable in a serious accident as broken glass, flying objects, and torn sheet metal create additional hazards.

Internal Injuries

When someone’s body crashes into another object or is hit by flying debris, it can cause internal organ damage. Internal bleeding needs to be diagnosed quickly, and it may not be obvious immediately after the crash. Since internal bleeding requires emergency medical treatment, it’s always best to head to a hospital after a serious crash to check for signs of internal injuries.

Limb Loss or Amputation

Sometimes, the driver’s or passengers’ limbs are severed in a crash. In other circumstances, crush injuries or other forms of severe damage lead to surgical amputations as the only effective treatment. Limb loss and amputations lead to permanent disabilities.

When to Seek Help

Some people assume they should go to the hospital after an accident only if they’ve sustained obvious, severe injuries. In fact, everyone who has been in a crash should seek medical attention as soon as possible to diagnose hidden injuries and rule out issues like internal bleeding.

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