What are the Most Common Car Wreck Injuries?

Car Wreck Injuries

No one likes to think about being in a car wreck, but thousands of them happen every single day in Maryland and across the United States. No matter the type of vehicle, there are specific common personal injuries in car wrecks. Some of these injuries can cause medical issues that last for months or even years. Others may not show up until days or weeks after the accident. That is why it is important to seek medical care after an accident, even if injuries are not obvious.

Some of the Most Common Car Wreck Injuries

The types of injuries suffered by drivers and passengers in a car wreck depend on various factors, including the following:

  • Seat belt use, child restraint use.
  • Location of impact: side, rear, front, head-on.
  • Position of the victims’ head and body at the time of impact.
  • Speed the at-fault driver was going at the time of the collision. A high-speed crash will often be more serious than a low-speed collision.
  • Airbag location and deployment.

Injuries in a car wreck generally fall into two categories: impact injuries and penetrating injuries. Impact injuries are when a body hits a part of the car, such as the steering wheel or dashboard, and cause internal, bone, or soft tissue injury. Penetrating injuries are typically on the outside of the body, such as bruises, cuts, and scrapes. They are caused by shattering glass or other objects.

Following are common car wreck injuries to both drivers and passengers. It is not an exhaustive list.

Whiplash: This common injury affects the neck and upper back. It is considered a type of soft tissue injury. Whiplash can occur when there is a sudden uncontrolled moment of the head and neck, similar to what happens in a collision. The muscles and ligaments in the upper body are severely stretched from the impact, causing extreme pain and a long healing process.

Head injuries: Head injuries are common in a car wreck because of where the head is positioned while driving. The victim’s head can hit the car’s roof or windows or be thrust into the steering wheel and front of the vehicle. An injury to the head, from concussion to skull fracture to traumatic brain injury, is severe and must be treated immediately. Traumatic brain injuries may require long-time treatment and may also dramatically impact a person’s ability to work and perform activities of daily living.

Broken ribs: A person cannot control their body’s movements in an accident. Sudden stopping or impact will often force a person’s ribs into a steering wheel or other part of the car, breaking one or several ribs. Even light or moderate impact can cause rib damage that requires a long period of rest to heal.

In addition to ribs, every other bone in the body is vulnerable in a car accident. Accidents often throw the victim forward, backward, and sideways, making bones in the shoulders, arms, legs, and pelvis particularly susceptible to injury.

Scrapes, cuts, and bruising:  The force of impact in an accident can cause a person to sustain severe scrapes, cuts, and bruising in an accident. Broken glass and shards of metal can contribute to the trauma, which is often on the face, hands, arms, and legs. Scrapes and cuts, particularly, are prone to infection, so they must be treated by a medical professional.

Internal bleeding: Blunt force trauma can cause bleeding and other problems with internal organs that may not be readily noticeable. It is essential to get thoroughly checked out after an accident and any time unexpected pain arises after an accident. Internal bleeding and organ damage are very serious injuries.

Disk and spinal cord problems: Injuries to the spine and its disks and other parts are common in an injury. They happen from the force of impact, blunt force trauma, and from the body being violently thrown about in an accident. Common conditions stemming from a car accident include herniated and bulging disks. These conditions can cause pain and movement problems for many years.

Paralysis: The most serious of spinal cord accidents can result in partial or total paralysis. When the spinal cord is severed or otherwise severely injured, the victim may be affected temporarily or for the rest of their life.

Knee problems: It is not uncommon for a person’s knees to be violently thrust into the dashboard in an accident. The result is often damage to the kneecaps and surrounding ligaments and other soft tissue that requires surgery and many months of rehabilitation. A person’s knee injuries could affect them for years.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD is common after an accident. Often, victims do not realize that the anxiety, depression, or stress they feel is related to the trauma they experienced in the accident. PTSD is just as serious as a physical ailment and needs to be treated by a professional. It can affect a person’s life for many years.

What to Do after a Car Wreck

A person can take steps after a car wreck to help them prove the other driver was at fault should they ever need that proof. These steps should be taken only if the person is medically able.

Call 911: Everyone should stay calm, and someone should call 911 if a cellphone is accessible. Luckily, there is a good chance that a bystander or other witness has already called.

Check for injuries: First, the driver should check themselves and then passengers. Someone should help stop bleeding and other apparent injuries if possible, but no further harm should be done.

Move the car out of harm’s way: If the vehicle is blocking traffic or is otherwise in the path of oncoming traffic, it should be moved off the roadway if it is drivable. It is a good idea to take some pictures of the vehicle’s location in relation to other vehicles before doing so. Everyone should stay in the vehicle if it is safe to do so.

Take pictures and video of the accident scene: Documentation in the form of photographs and videos can be quite valuable. It is important to show the damage to all vehicles involved, especially the driver’s own. Also important to record are the position of vehicles after the accident, road conditions, strewn car parts, weather conditions, bodily injuries, and the general surrounding location.

Talk with witnesses and bystanders: People will often stop to help or gawk after an accident. The driver can talk with them and record their statements either by cell phone or by hand. It is important to get the bystanders’ names and contact information.

Accept medical help: Emergency medical technicians will often arrive, even after a minor accident. Drivers and passengers must always accept help from first responders, even if injuries are not obvious. Help must be sought after an accident, whether later that day or even weeks or months afterward.  Injuries can sometimes surface later and may not be readily diagnosed just after an accident. Victims should not assume that an ache or pain that arises unexpectedly is minor after an accident. Everything should be checked out.

Cooperate with law enforcement officers: Drivers must be factual and honest about what happened. Drivers should not admit guilt or fault, nor should they apologize to other drivers or passengers.

Do not accept a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company: Insurance companies are in the business of making money. They are not looking out for an accident victim’s welfare. They will always offer a settlement amount that is substantially below the actual costs incurred by the victim for medical bills, property damage, loss of wages, and pain and suffering. Victims should not accept their offer, no matter how tempting.

Contact a seasoned car accident lawyer: An experienced lawyer can help document the facts of the accident and calculate the victim’s actual current and future financial damages. Through negotiation or litigation, a lawyer can help ensure the victim’s actual costs are compensated.

Baltimore Car Wreck Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Fight for the Rights of Accident Victims


Car wrecks in Maryland happen hundreds of times a day. Some may be minor, others may be serious, but all can cause bodily injury and financial devastation. The Baltimore car wreck lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton have helped thousands of Maryland car accident victims recover the compensation for which they are entitled for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. We can help you or your loved one, too. We are ready to get to work today. Call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreColumbiaGlen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.