Car Accidents

Common Car Accident Injuries

We explore the most common car accident injuries and how even a minor car accident can cause big physical and financial problems.

Car accidents are scary. Your adrenaline starts pumping, everything seems like a blur, and your brain starts working overtime to figure out next steps.

It may not be until the next day – when the stress of the accident is gone – that you realize you're in pain and have suffered injuries. Whether the accident was just a fender bender or resulted in your car being totaled, there is a chance you'll suffer one of the most common car accident injuries.


Whiplash is one of the most common car crash injuries; every year there are approximately 6 million low-speed rear end collisions, and about half of them result in whiplash injuries.

Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when there is a rapid back-and-forth movement in the neck, like when your car is struck suddenly from behind. Even a tiny amount of force in an accident can cause whiplash, so even the smallest amount of pain can be serious: approximately 10% of car accident victims with whiplash become permanently disabled.

The most common symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Loss of range of motion in your neck
  • Headaches
  • Tenderness in your shoulder, upper back, or arms
  • Tingling or numbness in your arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Some people with severe whiplash also experience blurred vision, ringing in their ears, and memory problems.

Shoulder Injury

Shoulder pain and stiffness is another one of the most common car crash injuries.  Like your neck in a case of whiplash, your shoulder may be jerked quickly and uncontrollably during a car accident or may hit the interior of the car, causing injury.  

There are many different shoulder injuries you can have after a car accident, but the most common are:

  • Torn rotator cuff
  • Clavicle or humerus fracture
  • Dislocated or separated shoulder joint
  • Soft tissue damage

Treatment and recovery can be expensive and drawn-out. It can take up to 5 months of treatment and rehabilitation before a shoulder injury is healed. And unfortunately, the shoulder damage you suffer in a motor vehicle accident can cause life-long pain and discomfort. One study found that 7 years post-accident, 95% of people who were in rear-end collisions who suffered a shoulder injury and whiplash still reported shoulder pain to their doctor.

Concussion or Other Traumatic Brain Injury

The sudden impact of a collision can cause head injuries, like a concussion or even traumatic brain injury. One study suggests that 1 in 61 people in a car accident will have a concussion, but that number is misleading.  

One of the scariest things about concussions and traumatic brain injuries is that you may not know you have one: approximately 99% of people who suffer a concussion don't realize it and never seek treatment for it–either because the symptoms are so generic or because they attribute their symptoms to another injury.  Normally, people don’t start to notice the effects of a concussion until 24 to 48 hours after the head injury.  If you go to the emergency room or your doctor's office immediately after your accident, you may not receive the proper diagnosis and will continue to suffer.  

Be on the lookout for the most common signs of a concussion:

  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Loss of consciousness that lasted longer than 30 seconds
  • Headaches that get worse over time
  • Vision disturbance
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Confusion or disorientation 
  • Increased clumsiness 
  • Changes in behavior  

If you're experiencing any of the signs listed above, it is better to tell your doctor and ask them to check for a concussion than ignore them and hope they go away.

Internal Bleeding

Your internal organs are delicate and can easily be damaged.  Internal bleeding likely isn't what first comes to mind when you think of common car accident injuries. But depending on the force of the collision and what your body hits in the car when moving around, there is a chance you'll suffer internal bleeding.  

It isn't easy to diagnose internal bleeding, but there are some common signs you can look out for after an accident:

  • Dizziness
  • Severe weakness (often on one side of the body)
  • Passing out
  • Low blood pressure
  • Numbness
  • Severe headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Chest pain

Internal bleeding is one of the most common car accident injuries that can turn out to be fatal, so if you're experiencing any of the above symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Emotional Distress

Emotional injuries are some of the least talked about, but most common car accident injuries.  Car accidents are scary and often cause emotional distress and trauma.  

Approximately 39% of people in a car accident suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  The psychological injuries from a car accident can have a major impact on your daily life, preventing you from engaging in daily activities, require time off work and result in sleep disturbances and nightmares. You may also experience depression after a car accident.  

The emotional injuries caused by car accidents are often so serious that the average person may need at least 3 years of treatment before they return to their pre-accident mental health level.  

If you're experiencing any sort of emotional distress related to your car accident, seek professional help.


Every year 4.4 million Americans are injured in car accidents.  

Repairing your car, getting medical treatment for your injuries, taking time off work, and being unable to take care of daily tasks – like bathing by yourself – just add to the stress of your accident. Even worse, insurance companies often low-ball their settlement offers, leaving you to pay for the majority of the cost yourself.

At, we understand that any of these injuries can have a devastating ripple effect on your life. Our innovative service takes the stress and guesswork out of filing a personal injury lawsuit. In 3 minutes or less, we can tell you whether you have a case. And, real-time updates and full transparency mean you are never left guessing about the status of your case.