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The Seven Most Common Injuries from a Car Crash

Car accident victims are often left to deal with physical injuries that last for years or possibly even the rest of their lives. When serious injuries take place, seeking prompt medical attention is a critical step to avoiding additional health problems, and might even save victims’ lives.

At Local Accident Reports, our nationwide car accident attorneys know how profoundly damaging motor vehicle accident injuries can be. Our goal is to support personal injury victims and protect their right to compensation by providing compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance as we help them recover physically and financially. 

We offer a free initial case review, and our attorneys operate on a contingency fee schedule, so you pay nothing out of pocket unless we deliver a win. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you after a serious vehicle accident. 

National Car Accident Statistics

The Seven Most Common Injuries from a Car Crash

  • In 2020, more than five million reported motor vehicle accidents took place in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that this is a 22% decline from the previous year.
  • 38,824 fatalities arose from 35,766 car accidents in 2020. The fatal accident rate has not been this high in the U.S. since 2007.   
  • 43% of all car accidents nationwide resulted in injuries to at least one person. This is the equivalent of four car accident-related injuries every minute.
  • In 2020, Mississippi was the state with the highest fatal car accident rate, with statistics showing 25 deadly accidents for every 100,000 residents.
  • Seat belt misuse, speeding, and driving under the influence are the three leading causes of fatal car accidents in the United States. 

Car Accidents Per Year

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2020, 5,250,873 car accidents took place. This equals 14,386 car accidents every day or one car accident every six minutes.

Fatal Car Accidents Per Year 

In that same year, there were 35,766 fatal car accidents in the U.S. Those car accidents caused 38,824 fatalities which is 106 fatal car accidents every day.While the overall number of accidents per mile driven dropped in 2020, the rate of fatal car accidents was at its highest since 2007, when 36,355 people were killed in car accidents. 

Injury-Causing Car Accidents Per Year

43% of car accidents cause injuries to at least one vehicle occupant. 2,282,015 people were injured in 2020. That is 6,252 injuries every day, or four injuries every minute.

The Seven Most Common Car Accident Injuries

Injuries sustained by drivers, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, and anyone else involved in a car accident can vary from trivial to fatal. By and large, car accident injuries come under one of two types:  

  • Penetrating injuries
  • Impact injuries

A penetrating injury is the result of an object piercing a victim’s body. An impact injury occurs when the victim’s body hit or is hit by part of a vehicle. A car accident can also cause severe injury to any area of the body. Some car accident injuries are able to heal with a minimal amount of medical intervention, while others will require numerous expensive surgeries and other medical procedures. Sadly, there are also many car accident injuries victims will not survive or from which they will never fully recover. There are, however, some injuries that occur much more frequently than others, such as: 

Soft Tissue Injuries

A soft tissue injury is a trauma to any muscle, skin, ligament, or tendon in the body. They are the number one injury experienced by victims of both serious and minor traffic accidents. Whiplash, an injury caused by the overstretching of neck and head muscles and ligaments, is the most predominant soft tissue injury associated with motor vehicle accidents.  Other common soft tissue injuries involve avulsions,  lacerations, contusions, abrasions, and muscle sprains.Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Restricted or no range of motion
  • A snapping or popping sensation

Cuts and Scrapes

Abrasions and scrapes are wounds in which layers of skin are scraped or torn, whereas a cut is an incision in the skin. These types of injuries are often caused by loose objects inside a vehicle’s cabin that turn into projectiles during an accident. Car parts, airbags, broken glass, or everyday items such as a cellphone or groceries can all lead to serious cuts and scrapes.Even though cuts and scrapes, even those requiring stitches, are often considered minor injuries, they are extremely prone to infection. Some symptoms to keep an eye out for are: 

  • Increased swelling and/or pain in the 48 hours following the accident 
  • The wound is increasing in size
  • The area around the injury is turning redder or even purple or black 
  • Pus seeping from the wound
  • Fever

Head and Brain Injuries

Injuries to the head and brain are the leading fatal car accident injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 155 people in the United States die from head and brain injuries every single day.  In a minor car accident, a victim could sustain lacerations, scrapes, and bruises when their head strikes the side window, steering wheel, windscreen, or any other object inside the car or part of the vehicle.   In more serious collisions, a victim could sustain a concussion, closed head injury, permanent brain damage, or a traumatic brain injury.   Symptoms to be aware of include: 

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Bleeding
  • Fainting
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Being distracted or confused
  • Sudden behavior and attitude changes
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Loss of coordination or balance
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Difficulty speaking

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries are the leading type of car accident injuries that require surgery. Chest injuries caused by a car crash range from minor injuries such as bruising to moderate injuries like lacerations to serious injuries like broken ribs, collapsed lungs, internal bleeding, and organ perforation. Drivers are at the greatest risk for chest injuries because there is very little space between the steering wheel and their chest. Seatbelts and deployed airbags are also responsible for a large percentage of chest injuries.  Some common chest injury symptoms to be aware of are: 

  • Difficulty breathing/Shortness of breath
  • Swelling and bruising 
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Discoloration
  • Drastic changes in heart rate
  • Coughing
  • Fast or shallow breathing
  • Crackling sound when breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Low blood pressure

Leg and Arm Injuries

Sudden and violent impacts or changes in a vehicle’s direction during an accident can crush extremities or force them into unnatural angles, resulting in injuries.While scrapes and bruises to the legs and arms are the most frequent extremity injuries in a car accident, broken bones, and traumatic amputation are also common.Symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Swelling
  • Decreased or no range of motion
  • A popping or snapping sound when using the limb
  • Deformity

Back and Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord and back injuries are another type of common car accident injury. Your spinal cord is not designed to withstand a large amount of force or a heavy impact. This is why your back is so vulnerable to injuries during an accident. It is important to understand that back injuries caused by car accidents do not always display immediate symptoms. It can sometimes take days or even a week before the victim starts to suspect that something may be wrong.  Symptoms of back and spine injuries often involve:

  • Tenderness
  • Pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Paralysis
  • Stiffness
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • An inability to hold a normal posture

Internal Injuries

Internal injuries are another car accident injury that usually demands surgery. Internal organ damage can be the result of flying objects or debris or the victim’s body being smashed against or hitting an object.Internal bleeding can quickly turn fatal if the victim fails to seek medical care immediately following the accident.Symptoms to be aware of include: 

  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Light-headedness
  • Headache
  • Discoloration
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

Why You Need a Car Accident Attorney

In most cases, injuries that are caused by a car accident are not immediately obvious or apparent. Symptoms might not manifest for several days or even a few weeks after a serious car accident, which is why you should always get medical attention after being involved in a crash, no matter how you feel at the time.  If you sustained an injury in an accident that was not your fault, you could be entitled to recover damages for your hospital bills, lost wages, and more. The nationwide car accident attorneys at Local Accident Reports can help you ensure that you obtain fair and just financial compensation that covers your physical and emotional losses. Our team of qualified personal injury lawyers will thoroughly review all the evidence and facts surrounding your accident, work with investigators and accident reconstruction experts to prove the other party’s liability, and consult with medical professionals to understand the full scope of your injury and to accurately calculate your current and projected medical expenses.Give us a call at (888) 657-1460 to schedule your free case evaluation and learn what legal course of action the attorneys at Local Accident Reports recommend for your situation.

Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this accident.

If you or a loved one were injured in this incident, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Having your case evaluated by a lawyer immediately will ensure your rights are protected. The first step is to request a police report, and we can do that for you. 

Contact us today at


to get the help you deserve. 

Local Accident Reports is here to provide you with valuable resources after you have been injured in an accident. In addition to your free police report, you can also schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys right now to find out more about pursuing compensation. If you any have questions at all about your legal rights following an accident, please don't hesitate to call. 

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Note: These posts are created solely for the use of Local Accident Reports. We have not verified the information in these posts as the information is gathered from secondary sources. If you have personal knowledge that the information contained in these posts is inaccurate, please contact Local Accident Reports immediately so we can make the necessary corrections or remove the story.

Disclaimer: We are providing this information to the general public as a resource to use in the event you or a family member are injured in a similar incident. Every effort is put forth to honor the victims of accidents, and hope the information presented helps others avoid the same type of accidents in the future. The photos depicted in these posts are not representative of the actual accident scene. Please contact Local Accident Reports at (888) 657-1460 to be connected with an attorney in your area who will answer any legal questions you may have.

Harvey Barbee is our chief content writer who also has nearly 15 years of experience as a practicing attorney. Combining his skillset as a strong writer along with his in-depth knowledge of the legal system, Harvey uses his talents to write informative pieces for law firms about a variety of topics that affect individuals. He enjoys helping people find creative solutions to their legal problems. When he is not writing or practicing law, Harvey enjoys golf, gardening, and spending time with his family in North Carolina.

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