Types of Car Accident Injuries

In 2021 alone, nearly 43,000 people in the U.S. suffered fatal injuries in car accidents. Between 2.5 and 5 million people sustained minor to serious or disabling injuries in crashes. Even at low speeds, a collision can cause a wide range of injuries. Here are some of the most common types of car accident injuries. 


Broken bones or fractures are incredibly common in a crash. Fractures can happen due to striking a hard surface in the car, like the steering wheel, or being crushed or pinned. Ejection from the car and even the rapid deceleration of a crash can cause a fracture. 

Bones commonly broken in an accident include: 

  • Sternum
  • Clavicle or collarbone
  • Ribs
  • Vertebrae
  • Skull
  • Facial bones 
  • Pelvis
  • Wrist
  • Femur
  • Humerus

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of vertebral fractures, especially in younger people. About 75% of all femur fractures happen in car accidents. 

Back Injuries

Back pain is one of the most commonly reported symptoms after a crash. An accident is most likely to cause minor soft tissue back injuries like sprains or strains. More serious injuries can include compressed nerves, herniated discs, and injuries caused by significant blunt force or penetrating trauma. 


Whiplash is a very common neck injury that usually happens in a rear-end collision. Whiplash is not well understood, but it seems to be caused by rapid acceleration and deceleration. This forcefully snaps the head forward and backward, overextending muscles and tendons in the neck. 

It’s believed whiplash occurs in up to 83% of people in a car accident. 

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Car accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Brain injuries are involved in nearly one-third of injury-related deaths. Every year, more than 230,000 people are hospitalized for TBI and 85,000 suffer a disabling brain injury. Motor vehicle accidents are the cause of about 20% of brain injuries. 

A concussion is the most common type of brain injury. Also known as mild TBI, a concussion can be caused by a blow to the head or rapid acceleration and deceleration. 

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries in a car accident may be as minor as contusions or bruises, but serious injuries are also common. A crash can also cause fractured ribs, cardiac issues, a bruised or fractured sternum, or punctured lungs. 

Crush Injuries

Crushing injuries happen when the body or a body part is caught between two objects. Crush injuries are deceptive; damage may appear isolated to just an arm, for example, but it can quickly become life-threatening. Crush injuries can result in a cascade of complications. 

These injuries may happen in a crash when someone is pinned by a crumpled car or crushed between two vehicles. Crushing can fracture bones and cause extensive damage to blood vessels, muscles, and nerves

Eye Injuries

Every year, about 9,000 to 11,500 Americans suffer eye injuries in car accidents. Broken glass and airbag deployment are two common causes of injuries to the eyes in a crash. 

Corneal abrasion, or damage to the surface of the eye, accounts for about 61% of crash-related eye injuries. Accident victims can also suffer chemical burns from airbag deployment, lacerations of the eye, vitreous hemorrhage, and retinal detachment. 

Internal Injuries

The risk of organ damage and other internal injuries is why it’s crucial to seek medical treatment after a crash, no matter how minor the accident seems. These injuries may not be noticed right away, but blood clots can happen days or weeks later. 

Seat belts save lives but are associated with damage to the kidneys, liver, spleen, and pancreas.

Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are common in a crash. 

Types of knee injuries you may suffer in a car accident include: 

  • Fractured patella or kneecap 
  • ACL tear 
  • PCL tear or “dashboard knee”
  • MCL tear 
  • Knee dislocation of the tibia, femur, or patella
  • Torn meniscus 

Knee injuries have the potential to cause long-term pain, reduced mobility, and disability.

Spinal Cord Injuries

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is one of the most devastating injuries that often results in partial or total loss of sensation and function below the site of injury. Car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. 

Lacerations and Other Soft Tissue Injuries

Finally, cuts, bruises, sprains, and other soft tissue injuries are very typical in a crash. While these injuries are often dismissed as minor, soft tissue damage can have permanent effects, including limited range of motion, disfigurement, and chronic pain. 

Injuries from a car accident should always be taken seriously, even if they seem minor at first. Make sure you seek medical attention after an accident to make sure any hidden injuries are diagnosed and treated promptly. 

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, a car accident lawyer can help. Please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 995-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963