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Common Types of Car Accident Injuries

The Most Common Physical and Mental Injuries Car Accidents Cause

Millions of people are injured every year due to vehicle accidents across California. There are various types of injuries resulting from car accidents, while some are more common than others. Some car accident injuries can be resolved days after the incident without any need for medical treatment. Severe injuries may become permanent and can result in potential physical disability.

There are several factors that may determine the impact an individual could experience including: 

  • Whether you were wearing a seatbelt
  • Whether you were hit from the side, rear, or fron
  • Whether your body was faced forward or turned in a specific direction
  • Whether a collision was caused by a low or high speed crash
  • Airbags or lack thereof

There are two types of injuries that are caused by car accidents: impact injuries and penetrating injuries

Impact injuries are caused when an individual’s body hits a certain part of the interior of the car. An example could be when someone’s head clashes with the side window or when a knee slams on the dashboard. 

Penetrating injuries normally cause a range of injuries, from cuts and scrapes all the way up to more serious internal injuries. These injuries can be caused by shattering glass, along with loose objects flying out of the car after the collision. Additional injuries resulting from vehicle collisions may include:

  • Brain damage
  • Broken ribs
  • Chest injuries
  • Arm & leg injuries 
  • Internal bleeding
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Head Injuries

There are various types of head injuries that may result from a vehicle collision. Some are minor while others can become severe. When a vehicle moves in an unexpected way -- such as when it comes to an immediate stop or changes direction suddenly -- the driver may shift their body in an unnatural way. This may inflict muscle strains in the neck and back area. 

A victim’s head also has the potential of being impacted. If the head hits the side window or steering wheel, it could result in scrapes or bruising. More severe collisions may lead to a closed head injury, which can affect the brain by causing fluid and tissue inside the skull to become damaged. 

Overall, less mild closed head injuries are expected to at the very least cause a concussion, while more severe injuries can inflict brain damage.

Broken Ribs

Ribs are a fragile part of the body. Even after a moderate collision, they have a high chance of breaking or cracking. A victim may potentially suffer broken ribs during a car accident when their body is slammed forward, backward, or sideways due to the impact. Damage to the ribs can be painful and victims are expected to undergo self-healing for up to two months.

Chest Injuries

Along with head injuries, chest injuries are very common in car accidents. This type of injury takes on the form of either contusions or bruises. Severe chest injuries include broken ribs and internal bleeding. The severity of a chest injury depends on the position the driver was sitting in. If the individual’s body is pushed forward, the chest area could experience a strong level of force against the shoulder, which will result in severe bruising or even internal bleeding.

Arm & Leg Injuries

If an individual experiences a side impact collision, they could have their arms or legs struck aggressively against their car door. Since a driver typically has limited space for movement, knee injuries from hitting the dashboard are common.

Depending on the circumstances of the collision, injuries to an individual’s arms or legs may vary from scrapes to bruises to broken bones. Injury symptoms may become noticeable days after an accident rather than immediately. It may take days, weeks, or even months for symptoms to appear. It is highly recommended to seek medical treatment for all injuries after an incident takes place.

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding is a dangerous form of injury. If not treated in a timely manner, there could be serious, life-threatening circumstances. It is recommended that an individual seek medical attention immediately after noticing this type of injury. Failure to do so will result in more serious symptoms or even death.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Getting into a vehicle accident may also result in mental injury. Fear of driving or development of guilt are common symptoms that could cause an individual to have a difficult time performing their day-to-day activities. It is highly advised for individuals going through PTSD to get medical treatment for mental and emotional suffering.

Available Damages

Economic Damages

Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out of pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out of pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain And Suffering
  • Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life
  • More

Punitive Damages

The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5% of all verdicts.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

Our personal injury attorneys will not charge you for a consultation. Our clients are represented on a contingency fee basis. If we do not win, you owe us nothing. There is no financial risk to prevent you from reaching out. Our qualified personal injury lawyers are highly-trained and have extensive experience with cases that are similar to yours. We are committed to helping you resolve your legal issues as quickly as possible while receiving the best results.
If you or someone you know has been injured, reach out to our legal team 24 hours a day by calling West Coast Trial Lawyers. at (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected].

Read More About Car Accidents

Our excellent team of car accident attorneys has created several other resources for you to read through concerning car accidents. Feel free to browse these other topics and read the ones you would like to learn about more.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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