Most Common Car Accident Injuries
Apr 9, 2023
Unfortunately, many drivers in the state of Texas are no strangers to common car accident injuries. Whether it’s bumper-to-bumper traffic on the interstate or nerve-wracking inner-city driving, we see a lot of distracted driving injuries here at Complete Care. This is why we are bringing awareness to the most common car accident injuries in observance of Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Although defensive driving can help prevent most accidents, some may be unavoidable. No matter the situation, collisions are frightening and potentially harmful. Though you may not feel any pain in the immediate moments following an accident, the adrenaline will eventually wear off and you may realize you actually did suffer an injury during the collision.
It can be helpful to be able to identify which injuries you believe you may have sustained in order to get the proper medical care as soon as possible.
What are the most common injuries from a car crash?
1. Head and neck injuries
The sudden force of being hit by another vehicle can cause your head to move in unnatural ways, straining the neck muscles. When the tissues of the neck are stretched suddenly, they may tear or suffer other damage. Pain in the neck following a collision could be a symptom of soft tissue injuries like whiplash or a ligament tear.
In fact, whiplash is recorded as one of the most common car accident injuries as drivers are often thrust forward very suddenly in a majority of collisions.
Similarly, when the force of an impact sends your head ricocheting around the cabin, you could suffer minor to severe head injuries. For example, if your head hits the window or steering wheel, you may experience bruising or lacerations.
However, the most common head injury in a car accident is a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI) in which there are no open wounds, but the brain has suffered damage by an outside force.
Here are some clear signs of when to go to the ER for a concussion following a car accident:
- Headache (it doesn’t matter how minor as concussion symptoms can be delayed)
- Slurring your words
- Nausea or vomiting
- Losing consciousness
- Having a seizure
Seek medical care immediately if you believe you have suffered a head or neck injury in a car accident. These types of injuries can be hard to self-diagnosis and may result in lasting complications without the proper care.
2. Hand and wrist injuries
A car accident can bring on many painful hand and wrist injuries including sprains, fractures, and dislocations to the bones and soft tissue — the most common being a broken wrist. When we drive, our arms are outstretched in front of us with our hands on the steering wheel, making it easy for our hands to end up crushed against surfaces in the car or to get wounds from glass, metal, or debris. People will often use their hands and arms to shield their faces in the event of an accident which can also lead to painful injuries.
If left untreated, your hand could suffer permanent muscle or nerve damage, so be sure to get any hand and wrist injuries checked out following an accident.
3. Broken bones
Broken bones following a car accident are an injury we see quite often, specifically broken pelvic bones, and can happen in a number of ways. Your body can suffer from broken bones in the following car accident scenarios depending on the severity:
- Protecting your face or body with your limbs as the accident occurs
- Being ejected from the car
- Slamming your body against a car surface like a windshield, window, or steering wheel
- Body parts being crushed by heavy forces (other vehicles, for example)
- Being struck by an airbag
- Broken ribs caused by your seat belt
What happens if you break a bone? Seek medical help at an emergency room as soon as you can. It’s important that any surgeries or other procedures are performed in a timely manner to prevent lasting complications.
4. Soft tissue injuries
Soft tissue injuries refer to any injuries that are not breaks, lacerations, or open wounds but damage the body’s ligaments or connective tissues. Bruises, sprains, strains, and whiplash are very common car accident injuries that fall into the soft tissue injury category.
Although these injuries may not seem very severe in the moments following an accident, soft tissue injuries are not to be dismissed. Ignoring these injuries and not seeking treatment can lead to disfigurements, deformities, or malunions that can make daily use of certain body parts very difficult.
5. Cuts and scrapes
In a more forceful collision, glass from windshields and windows can break or other car parts made from sharp materials can puncture or graze the skin making cuts and scrapes a common occurrence. It’s very easy to spot these injuries as you typically will feel them as they happen and the aftermath — blood, an open wound, etc. — isn’t hard to notice.
Not all cuts and scrapes need emergency medical attention, but if you notice the following symptoms, it’s best to head to your nearest ER:
- Bleeding lasting longer than 10 minutes
- The sides of the cut are gaping open
- Muscles, tendons, and/or tissues are exposed
- The cut is located on a sensitive area (the face or a joint)
Leaving a serious cut or laceration untreated can increase the risk of infection or excessive blood loss and will delay the healing process. It’s best to see a medical professional even if you’re unsure if the wound is truly severe just to be cautious.
Complete Care knows how to treat car accident injuries
Our medical staff has seen the most minor and severe common car accident injuries across the board and knows how to treat them properly. We understand that car accidents can be incredibly scary and your body’s adrenaline is working overtime to delay any pain — but it is safer to be proactive and seek help rather than wait it out. Don’t forget to care for yourself! Your health is every bit as important as calling a tow truck.
Complete Care has fully-equipped stand-alone emergency rooms in both Texas and Colorado Springs that are open 24/7 and have low wait times so you can be treated promptly for your car accident injuries.
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