Common Car Accident Injuries You Might Not Have Noticed

Many people involved in car accidents fail to recognize their own injuries. Check out this guide to learn about the most common car accident injuries.

After a car accident, most people first check themselves to see if anything’s broken or bleeding. It’s so instinctive that we don’t always realize we’re doing it.

If someone is shaken up but seems physically OK at the scene of the crash, then they’re fine, right?

Not necessarily. Many common car accident injuries don’t reveal themselves until hours or even days after the collision. It’s best to keep a close eye on your health for a few days to be safe.

Read on to find out how to detect and respond to common car accident injuries.


Whiplash is the quintessential car accident injury. It’s a unique ailment that requires the neck to go forwards and then backward (or vice versa) quickly and with force. If a driver or passenger is rear-ended by another car, that can be enough to cause whiplash.

Someone with whiplash may tell police and paramedics who respond to the scene that they aren’t hurting. That can be true at the moment, especially when you consider the protective effects of adrenaline.

Adrenaline is your body’s response to a threat. The threat may or not be real. Either way, your nervous system is still going to kick into overdrive to block you from feeling pain.

Have you ever seen an athlete go down with a grotesque injury, one that was so bad it made the TV announcers cringe? A few hours later, the same athletes often tell reporters that they couldn’t even feel anything at the moment. That’s because of adrenaline.

Adrenaline only lasts so long, though. If someone goes to sleep and wakes up the next day with a stiff, sore neck, that’s a telltale symptom of whiplash. They may also not be able to move their neck as much as they could the day before. Pain in the upper back and shoulder area is common too.

See a doctor as soon as such symptoms pop up. Medical professionals won’t be surprised that it took a day or so for you to recognize your car wreck injuries, so don’t let embarrassment stop you. You need medical intervention to make sure something more serious isn’t happening.


When the accident happened, did your head slam against the steering wheel or some other part of your vehicle? If so, then you’re a prime candidate for a concussion.

Concussions are a full-blown crisis in violent sports like football, but they can happen anytime your head receives a major jolt. The human brain is well-designed; it has a built-in helmet of its own thanks to your skull and the fluid around it. However, that doesn’t make the brain invincible.

When you think back to the car accident, are there gaps in your memory, moments where you can’t say for sure what happened? Traumatic memories can and do appear fragmented, but that can also be a sign that you got knocked unconscious.

It doesn’t matter if you only went out for a couple seconds; that’s still enough time for you to sustain a traumatic head injury. If you feel nauseated, that’s another sign of a concussion, as are headaches, dizziness, irritability, and sudden sensitivity to light.

There’s also something called the fencing response that can occur after a concussion. It’s been observed in athletes who go down after a hard hit, they reflexively hold one arm out in front of them while bending the other arm inward. Experts believe something in the brain stem triggers the response.

Concussion sufferers need immediate medical attention from a doctor with experience treating head injuries. Some unlucky patients who suffer concussions won’t have their symptoms clear up in a few days. Post-concussion syndrome occurs when symptoms persist for weeks and months after the incident.

Brain injuries can be among the most expensive car crash injuries to treat. If you suffer from post-concussion syndrome, think about a consultation with a local car accident injury attorney.

Bruises From Your Seat Belt

A seat belt can save your life, but it can also injure you at the same time. Among doctors, it’s something known as “seat belt syndrome.”

To understand seat belt injuries, think about how a seat belt is supposed to fit over the body. It crosses over the front of your body diagonally, right?

When something hits your car, the force tries to send your body flying, but the seat belt is there to stop it. You may still end up in the emergency room with a visible seat belt imprint across your body, but all things considered, that’s a better outcome than ending up in the morgue.

Unfortunately, the marks left on your body can also be indicative of internal injuries. Internal bleeding is especially worrisome because it’s not visible to the naked eye.

Bruises on your abdominal area typically mean doctors will want to be extra diligent before they release you. Tell them if you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, and abdominal pain, as those are all signs of internal bleeding. Blood in your urine is another symptom.

In a best-case scenario, the bruises for your seat belt will fade with time. Until they do, you’ll have a reminder of just how much worse it could have been if not for that surprisingly sturdy nylon strap.

Recovering Fully From Common Car Accident Injuries

It’s possible to be grateful that the car accident wasn’t worse while still reserving some anger for the other driver who crashed into you and changed your life. In fact, such a response is perfectly natural.

Common car accident injuries like whiplash and car accidents can be painful, and the American health system is set up to put much of the financial burden on the injured person. That’s true even if they have good to great health insurance.

A therapist can help you process the accident in full. A car accident attorney can tell you whether or not you have a personal injury case against the other driver.

We’ve got years of experiencing representing those dealing with injuries from car accidents. We’ll work with you if you have a case, but we won’t waste your time if you don’t, so contact us today for a free evaluation.

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