Accidents are the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States. A high percentage of these are car crashes. Apart from the roughly 30,000 yearly car accident fatalities, another 1.6 million people suffer injuries. Some of the most common injuries from car crashes can be devastating and life-changing.

Common Injuries From a Car Accident

The most common injuries from a car accident include head trauma and injuries to the neck and back. Chest wounds are also frequent. Additionally, many people in car accidents suffer scrapes, bruises, and cuts all over the body.

Head Trauma

The last injury you ever want is to the head. It’s almost always the most severe type of injury from a car accident. It is also, unfortunately, one of the most common injuries.

Head injuries happen when your brain smashes against its supporting structure, your skull. In a car accident, three types of impacts occur. The first is your vehicle colliding with the other object. The second is your body impacting the interior of your car. But the third impact is one that’s most devastating: your internal organs colliding against the inside of your body. This impact is responsible for head injuries.

The problem with head injuries is this: brain tissue does not regenerate itself the way tissue elsewhere does. As a result, trauma to the head tends to have lasting effects.

Sometimes, head trauma can be minor. You can usually bounce back quickly from a mild concussion, and it doesn’t cause permanent damage. But a traumatic brain injury can lead to a host of problems that range from vision impairment to death.

Neck and Back Injuries

Trauma to the neck and back is another of the most common injuries from car accidents. The sudden contorting of the body in a car accident can wreak havoc on the spinal cord. The neck and back take the brunt of some of the most common injuries from car accidents.

You’re probably familiar with whiplash. This condition results from your head suddenly jerking forward in a rear-end collision. Rapid movement of your head and neck beyond their normal range of motion leads to ligament and muscle damage that is sometimes severe.

As with head trauma, neck and back injuries range from relatively mild to devastating. If the trauma to your spine in a car accident is bad enough, permanent paralysis can result.

Chest Wounds

When you lurch forward in a car accident, your chest often takes the brunt of the impact. Broken ribs and fractured sternums represent common injuries to the chest that can be somewhat minor. But a severe collision can collapse your lungs or damage your internal organs.

A hard impact to your chest can even bring about cardiac arrest. This situation is even more common if you have an existing heart condition.

Scrapes, Bruises, and Cuts

When your car is going 55 miles per hour and comes to a sudden stop, the objects inside your car don’t stop in tandem. They keep moving until something stops them. Often, that something is your body. Your purse, electronic equipment, or anything else you’re carrying can become a potentially deadly projectile in a car accident.

These moving objects inside your vehicle can scrape, bruise, or cut your skin in a car accident. If they’re heavy enough or moving fast enough, they can even break your bones or cause a head injury. Some of the most common injuries in car accidents come not from the vehicle itself, but from things inside the vehicle.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you think you’re fine after a car accident, you should always seek medical attention. Some common injuries don’t manifest right away. It might take days or even weeks for symptoms to appear. Certain head injuries, for instance, don’t show up right away. You go home and feel fine. Perhaps you have a bit of a headache, but don’t feel you need medical attention. But what’s slowly happening inside your skull is that your brain is swelling. If you wait to treat this, symptoms or no symptoms, you risk long-term damage.

There’s another reason to seek medical attention whether you think you need it or not. You want your injuries documented by a hospital or medical provider as soon after the crash as possible. Failing to do so can hurt your case in the event you decide to seek damages against the other driver. If you wait weeks until symptoms appear to see a doctor, the other driver might call into question that your injuries resulted from the accident. It’s in your best interest to have a doctor examine you thoroughly the day of the crash.

A car accident is a traumatic experience. And unfortunately, some of the most common injuries are the worst ones. Therefore, you should always seek medical attention right away if you’re involved in a crash. It can save your life as well as bolster your case if you seek damages.