Even a relatively insignificant fender bender can leave you rattled and result in minor injuries. Being involved in a major accident, such as a high-speed crash, could leave you with significant injuries, and some may not be apparent in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
For this reason, it’s always best to seek medical attention following an accident, whether you have visible injuries or not. Here are just a few of the most common injuries sustained in car accidents.
Whiplash and Other Soft Tissue Injury
When your car is moving and stops abruptly during a collision, or when you’re at a stop (or slow speeds) and you are hit by a faster-moving vehicle, your body may be whipped back and forth. This can cause soft tissues, like muscles, ligaments, and tendons, to stretch, strain, and even tear. The most commonly results in whiplash, which affects the neck and upper back, although it may also cause incidental pain to the shoulders and the middle and lower back.
Bruises, Cuts, and Scrapes
During an auto accident, your body can be tossed around. Even though your seatbelt and other safety features like airbags and an active headrest help to minimize movement and reduce injuries like whiplash, you may still be jerked forward and back or side to side, possibly hitting hard surfaces in the vehicle.
In addition, glass and other parts of the car could break or be smashed in during the crash. All of these factors could lead to a variety of bruises, cuts, and scrapes, or even more significant gashes that require treatment like bandages or stitches following the accident.
Safety features in your car do a lot to minimize damage to your body during an accident, but they can only do so much. A frontal impact will definitely cause your airbag to inflate, protecting your head from hitting the steering wheel or dashboard, but this may not occur if you’re rear-ended or hit from the side.
In such cases, your head may make contact with the steering wheel, dashboard, or side windows, depending on where you’re seated and where the car is hit. This could result in cuts, scrapes, serious lacerations, bruising, and of course, concussion or other brain injuries.
While not the most common injury seen in car accidents, broken bones certainly aren’t unheard of, and they can occur even in low-speed crashes. When legs or arms flail out during an impact, they could hit hard surfaces in the car, resulting in breaks. Broken ribs or other chest injuries are not uncommon, especially for drivers, who may connect with the steering column during an accident.