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Neck Injuries in Auto Accidents, Part I

Millions of people are severely injured in car accidents every year in the United States. The most recent data from NHSTA ( 2021 reports roughly 4.8 million medically consulted injuries in that year, alone. This accounts for injuries that resulted in consulting a medical professional and doesn’t account for more minor injuries suffered in accidents.

Car accident injuries can vary widely depending on the individual involved and the specific circumstances of the crash, and some injuries are more common than others. Keep reading to learn more about the five most common types of car accident injuries and how a car accident attorney could help you get back on your feet.

Varying Severity for Car Accident Injuries

Despite it being a very vulnerable part of the body, the neck is not well-protected during a car crash. While your body is held in place by a seatbelt, your head and neck are unrestrained at the moment of impact. During a collision, your neck may jerk back and forth, jerk to one side, or be hit by flying debris. Sudden, rapid movement can cause serious injury to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and nerves in the spine.

Additionally, if you sense a collision before it happens, your neck muscles will tense in anticipation. They’ll have less give than relaxed muscles, which can cause increased muscle strain during impact.

Some injuries will resolve themselves without a trip to the hospital, while others could change your life forever. The severity of injuries can vary even within the same car as passengers and drivers may suffer completely different types of injuries. Adults and children may also be affected differently, and the appropriate safety seats or restraints must be used for children based on their height and weight.

Factors that can influence the severity of car accident injuries:

  • Whether or not the individuals were wearing their seat belts
  • Which side of the vehicle was impacted (side, front, or rear)
  • How each person in the car was positioned at the time of impact (straight ahead versus turned around or to the side)
  • Whether or not the vehicle had functioning airbags
  • How fast each involved vehicle was traveling at the time of impact


In addition to severity, these factors will also affect the type of injury after a car accident. Two general types of injuries exist: impact injuries and penetrating injuries. Impact injuries occur when something on the inside of the car hits your body, such as your head hitting the steering wheel. Penetrating injuries are usually scrapes and cuts that are often caused by shattering glass or loose objects in the vehicle.

Car accidents are a primary cause of neck injuries, with more than 80,000 car crashes with neck injuries reported in the U.S. annually. All too often, accident-related neck injuries are mistreated or untreated, leading to long-term pain, suffering and disability. Keep reading to learn more about the types of neck and cervical spine injuries that occur during car crashes and the signs to be aware of if you’re involved in an accident.

Get the Settlement You Deserve

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident, contact our experienced California car accident attorneys at 909-793-6261 to discuss your case today.