What are the Different Types of Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries?

Lori Smith

Common motor vehicle accident injuries include whiplash or other types of neck pain, back pain, facial lacerations, bruising, and broken bones. Trauma to the brain may also occur in the form of a concussion or swelling, and sometimes, permanent damage or death can result. Internal organs can rupture or sustain serious injury in a car wreck, and frequently require emergency surgery. Additionally, car accidents can cause emotional upset, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a fear of driving.

Car accidents are a common cause of hairline wrist fractures.
Car accidents are a common cause of hairline wrist fractures.

Depending on the type and location of impact a car sustains, motor vehicle accident injuries can be temporary and mild, or life-threatening and severe. It also frequently affects what parts of the body may be hurt. For example, head-on collisions will usually result in different types of injuries than driver-side or passenger-side impacts. Likewise, if a side impact does occur, the driver and passengers will probably be affected more severely, or at least differently, if the crash site is on one side of the vehicle versus the other.

Even for minor car accidents, there will be acute pain and several minor injuries.
Even for minor car accidents, there will be acute pain and several minor injuries.

The speed a car is traveling at, at the time of impact, may also affect the seriousness of motor vehicle accident injuries. For example, if one car is not moving at all and another vehicle crashes into the rear of it while traveling 15 miles per hour (MPH), the driver and passengers of either car will probably suffer minor, or at least temporary, repercussions. Whiplash, muscle or back pain, or even hitting one’s head or face on the steering wheel or dashboard might cause some discomfort or acute pain. Usually, however, this type of collision does not cause serious, long-term health consequences.

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Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of traumatic head injuries.
Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of traumatic head injuries.

Alternatively, if a vehicle traveling 40 MPH crashes into the same car, the result could be much more serious — or even fatal. The type and extent of damage may depend on the position of the resting car, nearby structures, and the point of impact. Severe injury to facial structures, brain trauma, neck and back injury, rupture of internal organs, or even death may result.

Blunt force trauma to the abdomen due to a car accident can cause injury to the internal organs or death.
Blunt force trauma to the abdomen due to a car accident can cause injury to the internal organs or death.

In addition to the type of impact a car, driver, and its passengers sustain, several other factors may determine the extent of motor vehicle accident injuries. Seatbelt use, airbag deployment, and even the type of car involved in the wreck can make a big difference. For example, a seatbelt may prevent an individual from being ejected from a car involved in a crash; an air bag may protect the face and head; and some cars are just better constructed for safety than others.

Neck braces are often worn to help treat whiplash.
Neck braces are often worn to help treat whiplash.

Financial implications of motor vehicle accident injuries can also cause long-term hardships on the people involved, including their families. When blunt force trauma occurs, an individual may be hospitalized for an extended period. He or she may even become permanently disabled and unable to maintain gainful employment due to a resulting disability.

Neck, back and head pain after an automobile accident could point to whiplash.
Neck, back and head pain after an automobile accident could point to whiplash.
A concussion may be the result of a motor vehicle accident.
A concussion may be the result of a motor vehicle accident.

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