Common Types of Injuries in Car Accidents

Car accidents happen in a multitude of ways, and the injuries suffered vary just as widely. While minor injuries are the most common, serious injuries often lead to emergency department visits, costly treatment, and rehabilitation. The costs of these serious injuries can add up quickly, and even leave you paying out of pocket for the expenses above and beyond your personal injury protection insurance coverage if you opted for no-fault insurance.

What are the most common car accident injuries?

Some of the most common serious injuries, based on the number of emergency department visits for treatment following a car accident, include:

  • Sprains and strains of the neck and back
  • Bruising
  • Spinal disorders
  • Sprains and strains other than back
  • Broken bones
  • Open wounds

According to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 24 percent of car accident injuries treated in 2010 and 2011 were sprains and strains of the neck and back. Bruising was the primary concern in 15.2 percent of visits.

Spinal disorders lead to 8 percent of visits, with other sprained or strained body parts bringing 6.5 percent of car accident victims to the emergency department. More than 6 percent of visits required doctors treat a broken bone, and open wounds that required treatment were the primary concern in 3.7 percent of emergency visits.

Sprains and Strains of Neck and Back

Injuries to the soft tissue of the neck and upper back — commonly known as whiplash — are not unusual in car accident, because this type of impact can whip the head forward and back beyond the limits of the normal range of motion. Whiplash and other strains and sprains of the neck and back are often extremely painful, leading to headaches, neckaches and even pain in the limbs.

While most people recover from whiplash with physical therapy in only a few weeks, other people take months to recover. Some people also suffer from chronic back pain after this type of injury. Even minor cases of whiplash can keep sufferers out of work for several weeks, and serious cases sometimes prevent victims from ever returning to their previous job.


Like most people, you probably think of bruising as a minor injury that heals fairly quickly on its own. This is true in most cases. However, some bruises can be more serious. Severe bruising can lead to deep tissue damage, ongoing pain and complications that prevent you from returning to work or other activities for months. Some bruises can also be a sign of a more serious injury, such as a broken bone or severe internal bleeding.

Spinal Disorders

Spinal injuries can be among the most costly sustained in a motor vehicle crash, both in quality of life and in the money it takes to pay for treatment and rehabilitation. Lower back injuries are the most common, although injuries can occur anywhere along the spine in a wreck. These injuries often lead to long lasting pain and disability. Some also involve the spinal cord and lead to loss of function or feeling, including paralysis.

Some of the most common spinal injuries include:

Sprains and Strains Unrelated to the Spine

Sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries can occur around almost any joint in the body, and cause painful, limiting injuries. Wrist, elbow or shoulder injuries prevent lifting, typing and a variety of other actions. Ankle, knee or hip injuries often require a period of non-weight bearing, so crutches or a wheelchair is necessary.

The knees are among the most commonly injured body parts in a car accident, because they are left vulnerable to impacts as well as unusual twisting in a crash. Sprains, strains, ligament tears and other soft tissue injuries can limit mobility and take several weeks or even months to heal.

Broken Bones

Most broken bones are treated with casting and physical therapy to regain strength. Some, however, are much more serious. Open fractures require surgery, as do closed breaks that doctors cannot otherwise align properly. Some fractures, such as crushed bones, may require extensive surgery or even amputation if other options do not work.

Even a minor break can limit your ability to work, but a serious break can lead to massive medical bills, months’ worth of lost wages and thousands in rehabilitation costs, in addition to all of the pain and suffering.

Open Wounds

Open wounds can be scary. Blood loss is often a concern, especially with large wounds or those that involve arteries or veins. Once at the hospital, though, doctors can usually take care of this quickly. They then use stitches, staples or other methods to close the wound. If the wound is on your face or neck, or involves delicate skin on your hands or in other areas, a plastic surgeon may be necessary. This consultation should help reduce scarring, but this type of disfiguration is always possible after a serious injury.

Another major concern after an open wound injury is infection. Before closing your wound, your doctor or other care providers should have thoroughly cleaned any debris from the wound. However, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other infections are still possible. These infections can lead to serious complications, and lead to hospitalization.

How can Cordisco & Saile LLC help me pay for treatment and related costs?

If you opted for no-fault coverage under Pennsylvania’s auto insurance laws, you need to file a claim with your own personal injury protection policy to cover any medical costs and lost wages associated with your wreck, no matter who caused the accident. However, if you carry only the required minimum and suffer serious injuries, your damages can quickly exceed your available coverage.

In some cases, Cordisco & Saile LLC can demonstrate that your injuries exceed the threshold of Pennsylvania’s no-fault laws, allowing you to file a liability claim or personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver who caused the crash. If you carry traditional auto insurance, you can take this route from the beginning.

Through this type of claim, you can collect compensation for your medical treatment, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related expenses. To learn more about your legal options for obtaining compensation for your injuries or to schedule a free case evaluation, call us today at 215-642-2335.