37 Types of Car Accident Injuries and How to Get Help

Car accident injuries are a far too common reality of our fast-paced world. Car accidents often leave behind not just damaged vehicles and property but also a myriad of physical injuries and emotional trauma. The aftermath can be a whirlwind of stress, pain, and confusion. In this comprehensive guide, we aim to shed light on the most common injuries that can occur after a car accident, from immediate physical harm to the less visible but equally impactful emotional distress.

Beyond the most common car accident injuries, we will also discuss how to get help after an accident. It might come as a surprise that your primary care provider won’t be able to see you as a covered patient if the injuries stem from a car accident.

Whether you’ve been in an accident yourself or know someone who has, understanding these potential injuries can be a crucial part of the recovery process.

Abdominal Injuries

Abdominal injuries in car accidents

Abdominal injuries are a serious concern following a car accident. They can involve damage to organs such as the liver, spleen, kidneys, or intestines. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and internal bleeding. It’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any discomfort or pain in the abdominal area after an accident, as internal injuries may not be immediately apparent. Treatment can range from medication and rest to surgery, depending on the severity of the injury. It’s also important to follow all medical advice and take time to heal, as rushing recovery can lead to complications.

Amputations

Amputations resulting from car accidents

Car accidents can sometimes result in traumatic amputations, where a limb is severed during the accident itself, or surgical amputations, where a limb is so severely damaged that it must be surgically removed. This is a life-changing event that requires immediate medical attention, followed by a period of physical and psychological rehabilitation. Prosthetic limbs and physical therapy can help amputees regain mobility and independence. Support groups and mental health professionals can also provide emotional support during this challenging time.

Ankle Injuries

Ankle sprain from car accident

Ankle injuries can occur in car accidents due to the force of the impact or the twisting motion during the crash. These injuries can range from sprains and strains to fractures. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and difficulty walking. Immediate medical attention is necessary to properly diagnose and treat the injury. Treatment may include rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE), physical therapy, or in severe cases, surgery. It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for recovery to prevent long-term damage.

Arm Injuries

Arm injury from car accident

Arm injuries in car accidents can include fractures, dislocations, sprains, and cuts. These injuries can result from the impact of the crash or from being hit by debris. Immediate medical attention is necessary to treat these injuries and prevent further complications. Treatment may involve setting the bone, wearing a cast or splint, taking pain medication, and undergoing physical therapy. It’s important to rest the injured arm and follow all medical advice to ensure a full recovery.

Back Injuries

Minor back strain from car accident

Back injuries are common in car accidents and can range from minor strains to severe spinal damage. Symptoms can include pain, stiffness, muscle spasms, and in severe cases, loss of mobility or sensation. It’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you experience back pain after an accident. Treatment can include medication, physical therapy, and in severe cases, surgery. Long-term rehabilitation may be necessary for serious injuries. It’s also important to take it easy and avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity while recovering from a back injury.

Bone Fractures

Wrist fracture from car accident

 

Bone fractures are common in car accidents due to the force of the impact. These can occur in any part of the body, but are especially common in the arms, legs, ribs, and collarbone. Symptoms include intense pain, swelling, and inability to move the affected area. Immediate medical attention is necessary to set the bone and prevent further injury. Treatment often involves immobilizing the bone with a cast or splint, and in severe cases, surgery may be required. Physical therapy can help restore strength and mobility during recovery.

Brain Injuries

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) resulting from car accident

 

Brain injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), can occur during a car accident if the head is hit or jolted violently. Symptoms can include headaches, confusion, dizziness, nausea, and changes in mood or behavior. These injuries can be serious and require immediate medical attention. Treatment may involve rest, medication, and in severe cases, surgery. Long-term rehabilitation may be necessary, and it’s important to take time to recover and follow all medical advice.

Bruises

Minor bruising from car accident

 

Bruises are common after a car accident and occur when blood vessels under the skin are damaged. While most bruises are minor and heal on their own, large or painful bruises, or bruises that don’t improve after a few days, should be evaluated by a healthcare provider. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) can help reduce pain and swelling.

Burns

Burn from contact with hot surfaces in car accident

 

Burns can occur in car accidents due to explosions, fires, or contact with hot surfaces or fluids. They can cause pain, blistering, and damage to the skin and underlying tissues. Severe burns require immediate medical attention and can lead to complications like infection, scarring, and in severe cases, shock. Treatment involves cleaning the burn, applying dressings, and in severe cases, skin grafts or other surgical procedures.

Chest Injuries

Chest pain from Car Seat Belt

 

Chest injuries can occur due to the force of the impact or from the seatbelt during a car accident. These can include bruising, fractures, or internal injuries to the lungs or heart. Symptoms can include pain, difficulty breathing, and in severe cases, shock. These injuries can be serious and require immediate medical attention. Treatment may involve pain management, surgery, and in severe cases, emergency life-saving procedures.

Coma

Coma after severe car accident

 

A coma, a prolonged state of unconsciousness, can occur after a severe car accident, particularly in cases of significant brain injury. This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Treatment focuses on ensuring the patient’s survival, preventing further injury, and restoring function as much as possible. This can involve a range of medical interventions, including medication, surgery, and long-term rehabilitative therapy.

Concussions

Suspected concussion after car accident

 

Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head and body. Symptoms can include headaches, confusion, dizziness, ringing in the ears, nausea, and fatigue. It’s crucial to seek medical attention if a concussion is suspected, as complications can occur if it’s not properly treated. Rest and avoiding activities that may worsen symptoms are key parts of recovery.

Contusions

Leg contusion from car accident

 

Contusions, or bruises, are caused by blunt force trauma that damages blood vessels beneath the skin. While minor contusions are common and typically heal on their own, severe contusions can cause significant pain and may indicate more serious underlying injuries. If a contusion is large, extremely painful, or doesn’t start to improve after a few days, it’s important to seek medical attention.

Crush Injuries

Car trapped under tree limb

 

Crush injuries occur when a part of the body, such as a limb, is trapped between two objects. In a car accident, this can happen if a part of the car is crushed in the impact. These injuries can be severe and can cause significant damage to muscles, bones, and other tissues. Immediate medical attention is necessary to treat these injuries and prevent complications such as infection or compartment syndrome, a dangerous condition caused by increased pressure in a muscle compartment.

Cuts and Lacerations

Lacerations on arm and neck from car windshield debris

 

Cuts and lacerations are common in car accidents due to broken glass and metal debris. These injuries can range from minor cuts that require only simple first aid to severe lacerations that may require stitches or even surgery. It’s important to clean and dress any wounds to prevent infection. If a cut is deep, won’t stop bleeding, or is located near the eye or other sensitive area, it’s important to seek medical attention.

Dislocated Joints

Physical therapy for dislocated joint

 

Dislocated joints occur when the bones in a joint are forced out of their normal positions due to a high-impact collision. This can cause severe pain, swelling, and inability to move the joint. Commonly dislocated joints in car accidents include the shoulders, knees, and elbows. Immediate medical attention is necessary to realign the joint and prevent further damage. Treatment may also include immobilization, pain medication, and physical therapy to restore function and strength.

Ear Injuries

Tinnitus after car accident

 

Ear injuries can occur due to the loud noise of a car crash or from airbag deployment. These injuries can result in temporary or permanent hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and balance issues. If you experience any changes in hearing or balance after a car accident, it’s important to seek medical attention. Treatment may involve medication, surgery, or hearing aids, depending on the severity of the injury.

Elbow Injuries

Elbow swelling after car accident

 

Elbow injuries are one of the most common car accident injuries and can occur from the impact of a car accident, especially if the elbow hits a hard surface like a window or door. These injuries can include fractures, dislocations, and sprains. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the elbow. Immediate medical attention is necessary to diagnose and treat these injuries. Treatment may involve immobilization, pain medication, physical therapy, or in severe cases, surgery.

Eye Injuries

Eye injury from car debris

 

Eye injuries can occur from debris, broken glass, or the force of airbags. These injuries can range from minor scratches to serious conditions that can threaten vision, such as retinal detachment or globe rupture. If you experience any changes in vision, pain, or redness in the eye after a car accident, seek immediate medical attention. Treatment can range from medication to surgery, depending on the severity of the injury.

Facial Injuries

Forehead cut from Car Accident

 

Facial injuries are common in car accidents due to the proximity of the face to the steering wheel, dashboard, windows, and airbags. These injuries can include cuts, bruises, fractures, and injuries to the teeth or jaw. In severe cases, facial injuries can lead to disfigurement and require reconstructive surgery. If you experience a facial injury in a car accident, it’s important to seek medical attention to prevent complications and ensure proper healing.

Foot Injuries

Foot injury from car accident

 

Foot injuries can occur in car accidents due to the force of the impact, especially in frontal collisions. These injuries can include fractures, sprains, and dislocations. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and difficulty walking or bearing weight on the foot. Immediate medical attention is necessary to diagnose and treat these injuries. Treatment may involve immobilization, pain medication, physical therapy, or in severe cases, surgery.

Fractured Ribs

Fractured rib from car seat belt

 

Fractured ribs are one of the most painful car accident injuries and are common in car accidents due to the force of the impact and the position of the seatbelt. These injuries can cause severe pain and can potentially lead to complications such as punctured lungs. If you experience chest pain or difficulty breathing after a car accident, seek immediate medical attention. Treatment typically involves pain management and rest to allow the bone to heal.

Hand Injuries

Hands on car steering wheel

 

Hand injuries can occur in car accidents from the impact or from gripping the steering wheel during the crash. These injuries can include fractures, dislocations, and cuts. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the hand or fingers. Immediate medical attention is necessary to diagnose and treat these injuries. Treatment may involve immobilization, pain medication, physical therapy, or in severe cases, surgery.

Head Injuries

Minor concussion from car accident

 

Head injuries are common in car accidents and can range from minor concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries. Symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, confusion, and changes in behavior or consciousness. These injuries can be serious and require immediate medical attention. Treatment may involve rest, medication, and in severe cases, surgery. Long-term rehabilitation may be necessary, and it’s important to take time to recover and follow all medical advice.

Heart Trauma

Heart Trauma is possible from a car accident

 

Heart trauma, or cardiac contusion, can occur in a car accident due to the force of the impact. This injury involves bruising of the heart muscle, which can affect the heart’s function. Symptoms can include chest pain, irregular heartbeat, and shortness of breath. This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Treatment typically involves monitoring the heart and managing any complications that arise.

Herniated Discs

Pain from Herniated disc

 

Herniated discs can occur in car accidents when the force of the crash causes the soft material inside a spinal disc to push out through a tear in the disc’s exterior. This can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the arm or leg. If you experience back pain, numbness, or weakness after a car accident, seek medical attention. Treatment can involve medication, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery.

Hip Injuries

Hip dislocation from car accident

 

Hip injuries can occur in car accidents due to the force of the impact. These injuries can include fractures, dislocations, and sprains. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and difficulty walking or bearing weight on the hip. Immediate medical attention is necessary to diagnose and treat these injuries. Treatment may involve immobilization, pain medication, physical therapy, or in severe cases, surgery.

Internal Bleeding

Internal Bleeding possible from car accident

 

Internal bleeding can occur after a car accident due to damage to blood vessels or organs. This is a serious condition that can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Symptoms can include pain, dizziness, fainting, and shock. If you experience these symptoms after a car accident, seek immediate medical attention. Treatment typically involves surgery to stop the bleeding and repair the damage.

Knee Injuries

Knee injury from car accident

Knee injuries can occur in car accidents due to the force of the impact or the twisting motion during the crash. These injuries can range from sprains and strains to fractures and dislocations. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and difficulty walking. Immediate medical attention is necessary to properly diagnose and treat the injury. Treatment may include rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE), physical therapy, or in severe cases, surgery.

Leg Injuries

Broken leg from car accident

 

Leg injuries in car accidents can include fractures, dislocations, and soft tissue injuries. These injuries can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty walking or bearing weight on the leg. Immediate medical attention is necessary to diagnose and treat these injuries. Treatment may involve immobilization, pain medication, physical therapy, or in severe cases, surgery.

Ligament Injuries

Ligament injury from car accident

 

Ligament injuries, such as sprains, can occur in car accidents due to the force of the impact or the twisting motion during the crash. These injuries can cause pain, swelling, and instability in the affected joint. Immediate medical attention is necessary to properly diagnose and treat the injury. Treatment may include rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE), physical therapy, or in severe cases, surgery.

Neck Injuries

Whiplash from car accident

 

Neck injuries, including whiplash, are common in car accidents. These injuries occur when the neck is suddenly jerked back and forth, causing damage to the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Symptoms can include neck pain, stiffness, and headaches. Immediate medical attention is necessary to diagnose and treat these injuries. Treatment may involve pain medication, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage possible from car accident

 

Nerve damage can occur in car accidents due to the force of the impact or from cuts and lacerations. This can result in pain, numbness, and weakness in the affected area. If you experience these symptoms after a car accident, seek medical attention. Treatment can involve medication, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery.

Pelvic Injuries

Pelvic injuries from impact of cars

 

Pelvic injuries can occur in car accidents due to the force of the impact, especially in frontal collisions. These injuries can include fractures and dislocations. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and difficulty walking or bearing weight on the hip. Immediate medical attention is necessary to diagnose and treat these injuries. Treatment may involve immobilization, pain medication, physical therapy, or in severe cases, surgery.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD after traumatic car accident

 

PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur after a traumatic event like a car accident. Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. If you experience these symptoms after a car accident, seek help from a mental health professional. Treatment can involve psychotherapy, medication, or both.

Psychological Trauma

Anxiety following a car accident

 

Psychological trauma can occur after a car accident and can result in conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Symptoms can include persistent feelings of distress, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, and difficulty functioning in daily life. If you experience these symptoms after a car accident, seek help from a mental health professional. Treatment can involve psychotherapy, medication, or both.

Puncture Wounds

Puncture wound on the face from car accident

 

Puncture wounds can occur in car accidents due to broken glass and metal debris. These injuries can cause pain and bleeding, and can potentially lead to infection if not properly treated. If you have a puncture wound after a car accident, seek medical attention. Treatment typically involves cleaning the wound, applying a dressing, and possibly a tetanus shot.

Scarring and Disfigurement

Scarring possible in a car accident

 

Scarring and disfigurement can occur as a result of severe cuts, burns,

or other injuries sustained in a car accident. These injuries can have significant physical and psychological impacts. Treatment may involve surgery to repair the damage and reduce the appearance of scars. In addition, psychological counseling may be beneficial to help cope with the emotional impact of these injuries. It’s important to seek immediate medical attention following a car accident to minimize the risk of severe scarring and disfigurement.

Paralysis

Paraplegia resulting from car accident

 

Paralysis is a severe outcome that can occur after a car accident, particularly in cases involving spinal cord injuries. Paralysis can be partial or complete, affecting one side of the body (hemiplegia), both legs (paraplegia), or both arms and legs (quadriplegia). This condition requires immediate medical attention and long-term care. Treatment involves physical and occupational therapy, assistive devices, and potentially surgery. It’s also important to address mental and emotional health, as the sudden life changes associated with paralysis can be challenging.

Why Doctors May Refuse to Treat Accident Victims

doctor won't treat you after an accident

Did you know that your doctor or primary care physician may turn you down for treatment after an accident? Most people don’t until they find themselves in this situation. So what do you do?

Insurance and Payment Complications

Doctors often refuse to treat accident victims due to the complexities associated with insurance and payment. Health insurers sometimes reject payment for accident-related treatment, leading to uncertainties about how and when doctors will be paid. This is particularly true when the payment involves automobile insurance or personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which many medical offices are not accustomed to handling.

Legal System Involvement

Some doctors are also reluctant to get involved in the legal system. Treating accident victims may require them to provide extensive paperwork, statements about injuries and prognosis, and even testify in personal injury cases. This additional burden can deter doctors from treating accident victims.

Lack of Expertise

Some injuries resulting from accidents may fall outside a primary physician’s area of expertise. In such cases, they may feel uncomfortable offering treatment and thus refuse to see the patient.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help if You’ve Been Injured in an Accident

Finding Medical Help

First and foremost, our personal injury attorneys can help you find medical help. We have built a reputation that allows us to put our name down as a reason doctors can trust they are going to be paid even if an adverse insurance company. This keeps you from being denied by a medical provider or having to pay out of pocket.

Navigating Insurance and Legal Challenges

Our attorneys are experienced in navigating the complexities of insurance claims and legal processes associated with accidents. We will make sure you get the help you need. We know how to get you treatment, get you on the road to recovery, and make sure you are compensated for your losses.

Securing Compensation

Our personal injury attorneys can help accident victims secure compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We will negotiate with insurance companies and, if they aren’t reasonable, we will take them to trial to get you the compensation you deserve.

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About the Author

Benson VargheseBenson Varghese is the managing partner of Varghese Summersett. He is a seasoned trial attorney, highly esteemed for his comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the field. He has been to trial throughout state and federal courts in Texas. 

As a former insurance adjuster himself, Benson has insights into how insurance companies evaluate claims – and why without the proper encouragement, they are likely to undervalue a claim. Benson uses these insights combined with his clout in the courtroom to obtain justice for his clients – in and outside of the courtroom.

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