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Common Vehicular Injuries

Common Vehicular Injuries - NPI

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than three million people are injured each year in vehicle accidents across the country. The different injuries resulting from a car, truck, or motorcycle accident can be as varied as the individual circumstances of each collision. Read on for an overview of some of the most common injury types, as well as surrounding conditions.


There are two broad categories of injuries caused by vehicular accidents: (1) impact injuries, and (2) penetrating injuries. Impact injuries are typically caused when part of the person’s body hits some part of the interior of the vehicle (or, in the case of a motorcycle, the surrounding environment). Penetrating injuries are typically cuts and scrapes.

Soft Tissue Injuries

A soft tissue injury is damage to the body’s connective tissue–muscles, ligaments and tendons. This is the most common type of injury resulting from a car accident, and can take many forms; for example, “whiplash” to the neck and upper back. In this type of injury, the muscles and ligaments are stretched due to sudden movements during the collision.

Head Injuries

Impact with a side window or steering wheel can cause scrapes and bruising to the head, or deeper lacerations. More severe collision impacts can cause a closed head injury, whereby the fluid and tissue inside the skull are damaged because of the sudden movement or impact of the head. Less severe closed head injuries often result in concussions, while the most severe impacts can cause brain damage.

Scrapes and Cuts

In a car collision any loose objects inside the car (cell phones, purses, etc.) immediately become projectiles thrown about the car’s interior. More serious injuries can result in loss of blood, and may require stitches. Cuts or scrapes can also occur from a deployed airbag or broken windows.

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries typically take the form of contusions or bruises, but can be severe like broken ribs or internal injuries. Drivers often experience chest injuries because of their position behind the steering wheel.

Arm and Leg Injuries

The same sudden forces discussed above can also affect the extremities, with the legs in particular often having very little room for movement. Injuries to the arms and legs can range from scrapes and bruises to sprains and breaks.

Additional Factors

  • Were the individuals involved wearing seatbelts?
  • Where was the point of collision (front/side/rear of vehicle, etc.)?
  • Was the vehicle’s occupant facing in a certain direction?
  • Was it a low-speed collision or a high-speed crash?
  • Did the car have airbags?

Keep in mind that some injuries are not readily apparent following a car accident. Therefore, it may take days, weeks, or even months for symptoms to appear. Some car accident injuries may resolve within a matter of days without any medical treatment at all. More serious injuries might become permanent and result in some level of physical disability.


If you are in a car accident, it is best to seek medical treatment for even the slightest discomfort. After contacting emergency services and/or a healthcare professional, remember that Nelson Personal Injury will also be ready to assist you. We know that you will have many questions about your rights and the claim process. Visit our car, truck, or motorcycle accident pages at the links below to receive a free case evaluation, or call us today at (320)-252-1200. All consultations with our experienced Personal Injury attorneys are confidential and without obligation.

Note: This article uses information adapted from an article featured on, originally authored by David Landers. The full article may be accessed at the link below.

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