What to expect physically after a car accident?

Car accidents are extremely scary for everyone involved. In the U.S., an estimated 6 million car accidents happen per year.

When you find yourself in the unwelcome situation of being involved in a car crash, your immediate concern is how your health has been affected. Bodily injuries sustained from a car accident will depend on the severity of the crash.

We will outline different crash severities and what to expect below.

Fatal Injury Accidents

Car accidents resulting in fatalities only comprise 6% of crashes per year in the U.S. A fatal crash is described as a crash where at least one occupant of the vehicle dies within 30 days.

If you are involved in a car accident where someone in your vehicle has died, it was a severe crash. Rollovers, head-on collisions, and so forth are more likely to be fatal. Survivors can sustain serious injuries, like:

  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Brain bleeding and head trauma
  • Skin damage, such as major burns or punctures
  • Internal bleeding or organ injury
  • Torn ligaments and/or severed limbs
  • Coma and/or loss of regular brain function
  • And all the possible injuries associated with major and minor injury accidents.

Major Injury Accident

A major injury accident occurs when at least 1 person in the vehicle is injured and requires hospitalization but no fatalities occur. Typically, these crashes are impactful enough that all passengers walk away with some remaining side effects.

Typical physical effects of major injury accidents can include:

  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Acute concussions or head trauma
  • Injury to the eyes or mouth
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Depression, anxiety, and/or PTSD
  • New fear of driving or fear of cars
  • And all the possible injuries associated with minor injury accidents.

Minor Injury Accident

A minor injury accident is when at least one person in the vehicle requires medical attention but none are injured badly enough for hospitalization, and there are no fatalities. These crashes can cause varying injuries and symptoms.

Some common injuries from minor injury accidents are:

  • Scrapes, abrasions, cuts, bruising
  • Body stiffness and soreness
  • Non-complicated fractures in bones
  • Headaches
  • Neck/shoulder pain
  • Depression, anxiety, and/or newly developed fear of driving or cars

Minimal Injury Crash

A minimal injury crash is an accident like a “fender-bender”, where contact with another car happens, but causes no medically prominent injuries whatsoever.

Those involved in a minimal injury crash will be let go at the scene. Still, it is normal to experience a headache, body stiffness, anxiety, sadness, and other acute symptoms after a minimal injury crash.

Get Help

Car accidents are scary, regardless of their severity. You can expect different effects based on the severity of a crash, personal pain tolerance, age, and more. When in doubt, seek medical attention (even if it wasn’t deemed required at the scene).

Many car accident survivors will benefit from mental health counseling. If you’ve recently experienced a car crash, remember vehicles are replaceable, but you are not. 

Often times, it’s good to chat with professionals after an accident.  Psychologists, lawyers, and medical professionals are all good people to consult after a trauma experience like this. 

Use our accident settlement calculator to see what your settlement could be worth.

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