The 5 Most Common Car Accident Injuries - and How to Recover From Them

Wednesday, January 03, 2018 • American Fork, UT 84003

The 5 Most Common Car Accident Injuries—and How to Recover From Them


Getting into a car accident is never a pleasant experience, but as long as you emerge alive, you’ll have a path to recovery. Unfortunately, even if you’ve never been in a car accident and you always drive safely, chances are good that you’ll someday be involved in an accident; the average consumer flies a claim for a collision about once every 17.9 years. If you got your license at 16, you’ll probably be in at least one crash by the time you’re 34.

So what are the most likely injuries you could suffer in a car accident, and how can you recover from them?

What to Do First

Before you worry about what injuries you’ve sustained, there are some practices you should follow immediately after being involved in a car accident. First, try to get to a point of safety as quickly as possible; this may involve moving your car to the side of the road and getting out of the vehicle. Then, check to see if anyone else involved in the crash needs immediate assistance, and call an ambulance if necessary. You’ll also want to file a police report for your records, especially if you weren’t at fault for the accident; eventually, you may want to follow up with legal action if the at-fault driver’s insurance policy doesn’t cover you completely.

If you’re injured in any way, it’s a good idea to be evaluated by a medical professional; sometimes, your body sustains damage that isn’t easily seen or detected.

Most Common Injuries

These are some of the most common injuries you can expect after being involved in a car accident:

1. Brain and head injuries. Brain and head injuries are an umbrella category of different injuries, including small cuts, bruises, and fractures. In severe cases, you may suffer a concussion or an internal brain injury. If you suspect you may have sustained damage to the brain, you will require an emergency evaluation to prevent any further damage—even if there aren’t any external signs of injury.

2. Neck and back injuries. Neck and back injuries can also be devastating. Because of how you sit in a typical vehicle, it’s common to experience neck strain or whiplash injuries, contusions, or strains and sprains to the back. In many cases, this damage is reversible, and will naturally heal with time. In other cases, you may deal with chronic pain for many years, or even the rest of your life. In severe cases, a spine fracture or spinal cord injury can leave you disabled if not treated immediately.  

3. Extremity and joint damage. Car accidents might also affect your extremities and joints, depending on how you were hit. It’s not uncommon to see broken bones, fractures, strains, sprains, bruises, and cuts on victims. Fortunately, most of these injuries will heal on their own in time, in a period of weeks to months after the accident, but are often accompanied by pain. A medical professional can examine and classify the damage you’ve sustained, and help you with next steps, including pain management.

4. Internal organ damage. Damage to your internal organs is one of the most serious, yet hardest to recognize injuries you can sustain in a car accident. If you taste blood or suffer a hit to the chest or abdomen, it’s a good idea to be evaluated by a medical professional immediately. Torn spleens and punctured lungs (especially if the ribs were fractured) are common, though the symptoms of other internal organ damages aren’t always easy to recognize.

5. Psychological pain. Don’t underestimate the potential for long-term psychological damage as a result of your car accident. Many people involved in an accident, especially one that was highly damaging or fatal to another person, leave the scene with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that persist for years. Others are left with feelings of depression, especially if there was a significant physical injury or loss. There’s no cure for either of these developments, but ongoing therapy and some types of medication can help.

With any luck, you’ll avoid car accidents for as long as possible, and any crashes you’re involved in will be minor—more of an annoyance than a life-changing event. Equipped with the knowledge of what injuries you can expect and how to deal with them, you can now set yourself up for a faster and fuller recovery.