What Happens to Your Body in a Car Crash? | Call 24/7 (2023)

What Happens to Your Body in a Car Crash? | Call 24/7 (1)

Getting into a car accident can take a severe toll on the human body. The physical force of a collision can violently shake your body, leading to injuries and damage. Victims commonly suffer from whiplash, head injuries, spinal cord trauma, and limb injuries.

When you get behind the steering wheel, you trust yourself and other motorists to drive carefully and defensively to prevent collisions. Unfortunately, car crashes still happen, and it’s important to understand their impact on the body.

How Kinetic Energy Can Cause Traumatic Injuries in a Crash

When you’re driving, your body and the vehicle both have what’s called kinetic energy. When you wish to stop and press on the brakes, that energy transfers into the brakes, and you can stop easily.

However, when you get into a sudden, unexpected crash, your body absorbs the kinetic energy, which can lead to injuries.

Modern cars have been designed to better protect us during a collision by absorbing kinetic energy during impact. However, in most crashes, especially high-speed ones, your body will inevitably absorb some kinetic energy and risk injury.

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What Are the Most Common Car Accident Injuries?

The following injuries occur due to kinetic energy transfer in a collision. Varying degrees of injury severity can occur. Common injuries include:

  • Head traumas
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal trauma
  • Upper body injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Sometimes, these injuries can lead to long-term disability and may even result in death. It is important to understand these injuries and to seek medical care and legal representation immediately following a collision.

Head Traumas

Right after impact, your head and body keep moving at the same speed as before the crash, even though the vehicle has stopped or slowed down.

That speed is only stopped when your head comes into contact with another object, such as an airbag, car door, dashboard, windshield, or other items in the car.

Survivors may experience the following head injuries:

Neck Injuries and Whiplash

If the vehicle is in a rear-end collision, your neck can get thrown backward from the impact before rebounding forward.

This is known as whiplash, a condition that stretches the tendons and muscles in the neck. Whiplash is a soft-tissue injury that causes minor to major damage to the neck, back, and spine.

Spinal Injuries and Trauma

The discs between your spine can also experience trauma and disc herniation from whiplash and the impact of the car crash. A blow to the spinal cord can lead to broken vertebrae or crushed sensitive tissue.

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While it is not common, some spinal cord injuries can lead to bleeding.

Upper Body Injuries

Your collarbone is one of the first parts of your upper body that can be harmed in a collision due to the seat belt in front of it.

The ribs can also break from the impact if it’s a high-speed crash. Since the ribs protect the lungs, the chances of a lung collapsing increase drastically.

Internal Injuries

Like your other organs, your stomach, intestines, and other contents of your abdomen will be forced forward at your vehicle’s speed during the crash, hitting the abdominal wall and absorbing the tension from the seat belt.

This can cause internal organs to rupture or bruise, possibly releasing waste products into the body or causing blood loss.

In addition, the heart is propelled forward with the rest of your torso and can hit the hall of the chest and ribs, bruising the heart. An injured heart can lead to large amounts of blood loss or even death.

Broken Bones and Fractures

Pelvic fractures are one of the most severe injuries you can sustain during a car crash, as treatment often requires surgery and extensive rehabilitation.

If you suffer a hip or pelvis fracture during a collision, you shouldn’t be left dealing with the financial costs associated with medical care. Injured Limbs

Arms and legs are typically less shielded from movement than other body parts during a crash. This means your limbs are likely to contact more interior surfaces, which can cause cuts, bruises, and fractures.

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Psychological Impact (PTSD)

The effects of a car crash on the human body are far-reaching. Besides the physical injuries your body can experience, your brain responds to the traumatic event.

The brain will release adrenaline and endorphins to elevate mood and increase physical alertness, helping the body and mind handle the accident. Some victims may seem calm after a collision because these hormones help block pain and stress.

The psychological impact of a car crash can also be significant, especially if the victim suffered a great amount of pain, damage, loss, or death of a loved one. Survivors can experience anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other disorders.

How Can an Attorney Help if You Were Injured in a Crash?

A lawyer can help you gather the necessary documentation to prove the severity of your injuries and how these impact your life. This includes medical documentation from your doctor and proof of the damage to your car.

Additionally, a lawyer can help you calculate all the damages you are entitled to ensure nothing gets left out. You may have future treatment costs or lost wages due to missing work while you recover. An experienced lawyer can help you pursue these things and ensure you receive a fair settlement.

Types of Damages You Can Include in Your Claim

When filing a car accident claim as the injured party, you can seek reimbursement for various damages. Understanding the different types of damages available is crucial to ensure your car accident claim is properly evaluated and accurately compensated.

Economic damages refer to out-of-pocket expenses incurred directly or indirectly due to the vehicle collision, such as medical expenses and lost wages. You may also be entitled to property damage if your car was damaged in the crash.

Non-economic damages can include pain and suffering, while punitive damages aim to punish a wrongdoer who acted with malicious intent or gross negligence.

Consult a car accident lawyer who can help you determine which types of damages apply to your situation.

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Dying on Impact in a Car Accident

In a collision during which a person dies on impact, the death is usually caused by severe trauma to vital organs, such as the brain and the heart. This impact is often caused when a car slams into an immovable object at high speed, like a wall or tree.

When cars collide, their impact force depends on their respective speeds, masses, and trajectories. Based on these factors, one may experience sudden and instant death due to massive impact energies, known as dying on impact.

If someone has died due to another person’s negligent, reckless, or intentional act in a crash, the deceased’s family may file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party.

Claimants can seek compensation for funeral costs, medical expenses related to the accident, and other damages, such as loss of financial support from the deceased.

For a free legal consultation, call 404-400-4000

A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Recover

At , we have 20-plus years of experience working with personal injury victims and helping them recover financial damages resulting from a car crash.

Our personal injury attorneys are here to listen and advocate for you during this overwhelming process. And we NEVER take the side of the insurance companies.

For a free consultation to discuss your case and how we can help, contact us today or complete the form to the right to get started.

Call or text 404-400-4000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form

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What happens to the human body in a car crash? ›

During a car accident, your body is violently shaken resulting in damages and injuries. Some of the most common injuries include broken bones, burns, head and neck trauma, brain injuries, and back and spinal cord trauma.

What is the main cause of death in a car crash? ›

What Is the Most Common Cause of Death in Car Accidents? Internal injuries are the most common injuries that cause death in car accidents. These injuries include traumatic brain injuries from head trauma or damage to internal organs.

What does it feel like to be in a car crash? ›

Immediately after a car accident, and for several days afterwards, people usually experience being in shock. Shock can feel different for everyone, but common symptoms include feeling numb, being in emotional distress, continuing to feel afraid even though the event is over, or having unpredictable mood swings.

Which body part is hit first in a car crash? ›

For people riding on the struck side of the car, severe injuries are most commonly delivered to person's neck, followed by the head, chest, legs, and abdomen/pelvis. For car occupants riding on the non-struck side of the car, head injuries are most common, followed by chest injuries.

Which organ is most likely to be damaged in a car accident? ›

Organ Damage

Kidneys and liver are the most commonly injured organs in car accidents, but any organ damaged during a crash can cause internal bleeding.

What kills people in car crash? ›

Dying on Impact in a Car Accident

In a collision during which a person dies on impact, the death is usually caused by severe trauma to vital organs, such as the brain and the heart. This impact is often caused when a car slams into an immovable object at high speed, like a wall or tree.

What is the most fatal type of car accident? ›

Off-Road Crash

The most deadly and dangerous type of car accident is when a car veers from the roadway and crashes into an object such as a concrete block or telephone pole. These are the deadliest types of car accidents, causing more than 30% of all traffic-related deaths.

What car causes the most deaths? ›

The 25 Vehicles That Have Been Involved in the Most Fatal Car Accidents
1Chevrolet Silverado8,777
2Ford F-1507,502
3Honda Accord5,368
4Toyota Camry5,023
21 more rows

What type of accident causes the most deaths? ›

Similar to head-on collisions, rollover crashes are some of the most dangerous car accidents in the United States. Nearly 11% of all automobile fatalities are due to rollover accidents. Some vehicles are more prone to rolling over in the event of a collision than others, such as SUVs and top-heavy trucks.

Is a car accident painful? ›

Following an automobile crash, you might face devastating repercussions, including significant injuries, excruciating pain, and ongoing medical care you may rely on for the rest of your life. As post-accident soreness lingers, most people begin to worry.

What do car crashes smell like? ›

The smell of burning rubber is a unique odor that most drivers notice right away. It's common after collisions in which the driver didn't think there was a need to take their vehicle to a repair shop. Unfortunately, this can cause major issues in the long run.

How fast can you survive a car crash? ›

According to research, the highest speed at which you are likely to survive a head on collision without serious injury is 43 mph, assuming the proper use of safety belts in a well-designed car with crash structures like crumple zones and airbags, (discussed above).

What hurts after a car accident? ›

Muscle pain after a car accident may be caused by severe sprains, strains, whiplash, or seat belt injuries that require medical attention. Immediate medical care can help alleviate muscle discomfort and treat underlying injuries before they get worse. Read on to learn what to do for muscle pain after a car accident.

What organ is least likely to be damaged in an automobile accident? ›

In an accident, the most affected internal organs are the spleen, kidneys, and liver. However, the urinary bladder (a hollow muscular organ used as a reservoir of urine) is one such organ that is usually the least affected in an automobile accident.

What is the best position to be in during a car crash? ›

What is the best position to be in a car accident? The safest position is to sit upright just like how you sit on a chair. Keep your back straight on the seat and your foot straight. The airbags are designed in a way assuming that everyone sits upright.

Do people feel pain in a car accident? ›

Following an automobile crash, you might face devastating repercussions, including significant injuries, excruciating pain, and ongoing medical care you may rely on for the rest of your life.

What happens to your head in a car crash? ›

During the impact of an accident, the brain crashes back and forth inside the skull causing bruising, bleeding, and tearing of nerve fibers (Fig. 1). Immediately after the accident the person may be confused, not remember what happened, have blurry vision and dizziness, or lose consciousness.

How does a body get ejected from a car? ›

In most cases, the victim was likely not wearing a seatbelt during the accident. Some of the most common causes of a potential car ejection include defective seat belts, malfunctioning door latches, weak car window glass and defective car roofs or sunroofs.

Can you survive being ejected from a car? ›

Being ejected from the vehicle often results in death. However, you could sustain life-threatening injuries, even if you remain secure in your seat. Common injuries associated with rollover accidents include: Brain damage.


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