Updated May 2, 2022

What Are the Most Common Injuries Sustained in a Vehicle Collision?


What Are the Most Common Injuries Sustained in a Vehicle Collision?

Unfortunately, injuries are common after car accidents. Whether a crash is caused by a head-on collision or a failure to yield the right of way, victims rarely leave the accident scene entirely unscathed.

If you were injured in a car crash that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, car repairs, and more.

An experienced auto accident attorney from Wilson Kehoe Winingham can help you navigate your legal options.

Broken Bones

Car accidents can inflict extreme amounts of force to your body. When that force is more than your bones can handle, they break. Broken legs, arms, hips, ankles, wrists, and ribs are common in car accidents.

Broken bones are usually very painful and can take a long time to heal. Recovery from this type of injury depends on which bones are broken. There are two categories of breaks: simple fractures and compound fractures.

Simple Fractures

Simple bone fractures refer to injuries where bones break but do not penetrate the skin. These fractures typically require a cast. Fractures can occur all across the body, including legs, arms, wrists, clavicles, hips, ribs, and the skull. Fractures of the skull and neck often occur from whiplash resulting from head-on and rear-end collisions.

Compound Fractures

Compound bone fractures penetrate the skin and may require surgery to correct. In those cases, surgery is most often required within 24 hours of the break. You will also likely be treated with antibiotics to fight bacterial infections that can form around the skin or inside the body itself. And you may need to update your Tetanus shot.

Scrapes and Cuts

In car crashes, glass, sheet metal, and loose objects (cell phones, glasses, coffee cups, bags, books, GPS devices, food containers, tools, etc.) can cause scrapes and cuts if they are thrown against your skin. While these injuries are often mild, more serious lacerations may require stitches, resulting in blood loss, or pose a risk of infection.

Internal Bleeding

This type of auto accident injury occurs when the blood vessels in the body are damaged or severed by blunt force or flying debris. A ruptured blood vessel may lead to internal bleeding that doesn’t stop on its own. Alternatively, clots could form that prevents blood from circulating.

Internal bleeding can be life-threatening, which is why any suspicion of organ damage or internal bleeding requires emergency medical attention.

Soft Tissue Damage

Soft tissue damage involves injury to the body’s connective tissue. When muscles, tendons, or ligaments are stretched or torn, injuries—such as sprains, bruising, and strains—can follow. Damage to the connective tissue can take many forms, and it is the most common type of car accident injury.

Knee Injuries

Knees are complicated, and so are knee injuries. Depending on where you are sitting during a car accident, you may hit your knees against the dashboard or the front seats. That sudden impact can injure the ligaments in your knees as well as the kneecap. In severe cases, surgical correction may be necessary.

Back or Neck Injuries

Back or neck injuries can be caused by the impact of force against the spine during a vehicle crash. Mid-back and low-back strains, as well as neck injuries, are common after an accident. Two types of back and neck injuries—spinal cord injuries and whiplash—can especially lead to serious complications.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Mild spinal cord damage can result in a herniated disc, which occurs when the spinal vertebrae shift out of place or rupture. Severe spinal cord injuries can result in body paralysis.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc is created when at least one of the vertebrae in your spine breaks into pieces or moves out of place. This can be incredibly painful.


Whiplash is a popular name for soft tissue injuries to the neck caused by sudden movements during car accidents, especially in a rear collision. The pain associated with whiplash may not appear immediately after the crash, but when it sets in, it can be debilitating. Recovery from whiplash may involve physical therapy, a neck brace, ice, and/or medication.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Head injuries of all types are cause for concern. On the less severe side of the spectrum are concussions; while still dangerous, these injuries are usually treatable. However, more extreme impacts can lead to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). If not treated properly, TBIs can cause long-term issues with brain function.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

You may experience more than physical injuries after a motor vehicle crash. Mental and emotional trauma is more common than you might think. Signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include feelings of depression or hopelessness, social anxiety, hyper-vigilance, paranoia, and flashbacks.


Should a vehicle catch fire after a crash, burns may occur. Other burn causes include skin coming into contact with fluids, a hot surface, steam, or chemicals. Sometimes a very severe burn may require surgery or skin grafting.

Disfiguring Facial Injuries and Scars

Broken glass and/or impact by a steering wheel, dashboard, windshield, airbag, side window, car seat, or other hard surfaces can result in a facial injury during a car crash. Disfigurement can potentially be corrected with surgery, but a scar might be permanent.

Limb Loss and Amputation

An arm, finger, toe, or other appendages may be severed in a crash, or so severely injured that it needs to be surgically removed. This can disable a victim for life.

Foot and Ankle Injuries

Toe, feet, and ankle injuries frequently occur in car accidents. Sadly, they can even be ripped off in a crash.

Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries can result from force absorption when hands are held up against the steering wheel or dashboard during a crash. In these circumstances, shoulders become locked into position and the excessive force causes strain.

Wrist and Hand Injuries

Depending on the intensity of impact during a car accident, broken wrists may require surgery. And during a crash, fingers can easily move in ways that cause fractures, snaps, or breaks.

Lacerations, Bruises, and “Road Rash”

Lacerations may be caused by broken glass, torn sheet metal, or flying objects. Bruises may result from the same causes. Road rash may result from the friction between skin and the road.

Crush Injuries

Two objects converging together can create great pressure if a human body is stuck between them. Injuries can range from minor bruising to serious organ, muscle, and bone damage.


Hitting your head against any part of your car can result in a concussion. You may experience memory problems, including not even remembering the collision itself. It may feel as though your brain isn’t functioning properly. Proper medical treatment can help with concussion-related headaches and also bring your brain back to a healthier state.

What Steps Should I Take Following a Car Accident Injury?

After a car accident, it’s important to stay calm and follow these steps:

  • Ensure you are safe, then check on others involved to ensure their safety.
  • Check for injuries.
  • Call 911.
  • If possible, gather evidence and contact information, including photographs of the scene and contact info from witnesses.
  • Contact your insurance company.
  • Reach out to the experienced auto accident attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham.

Contact an Automobile Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, contact the Indianapolis Car Accident Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you and your family fight for the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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Let WKW put our experience to work for you. Contact us for your free case evaluation.


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