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Understanding Car Accident Injuries: Common Types and Severity

Motor vehicle collisions are consistently a leading cause of accidental injuries in our state. According to data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), there were 244,092 people hurt in automobile accidents in 2022 alone. Car crashes can lead to devastating, even life-altering injuries. Within this article, our Houston car accident lawyer highlights the most common types of motor vehicle collision injuries in Texas.

An Overview of the Most Common Car Crash Injuries (From Mild to Catastrophic)
Bumps and Bruises

Car crashes can result in bumps and bruises. Bruising—also referred to as contusions—are common in even low-speed collisions. Despite their seeming innocuousness, they can be painful and lead to more severe health problems. Most often, contusions occur from the sudden impact causing the body to hit hard surfaces within the vehicle—such as the steering wheel or dashboard.

Cuts (Lacerations)

Cuts (lacerations) are another relatively common car crash injury in Houston. Broken glass, metal from damaged car parts, or other debris can easily cut skin, leading to immediate and sometimes even excessive bleeding. A serious laceration requires prompt medical attention. In some cases, the victim may even need stitches to prevent further bleeding.

Sprains and Strains

Broadly explained, sprains and strains are injuries to the ligaments and muscles. They can occur during a car crash due to the sudden force and movement. Both sprains and strains are forms of soft tissue damage. Whiplash is a notorious example of a strain, predominantly affecting the neck muscles when a car is hit from behind. The severity of sprains, strains, and other forms of soft tissue damage can vary widely. Early treatment and physical therapy can help prevent long-term disability and pain related to these types of injuries.

Fractured/Broken Bones

Fractured or broken bones are a common injury in car accidents in Houston. The force of impact can cause occupants to hit hard surfaces or be thrown around inside the vehicle, thereby leading to fractures. A broken bone is always a serious issue. Broken arms, legs, ribs, and pelvic bones are typical, often requiring extensive medical intervention and prolonged recovery periods. If you or your loved one suffered a broken bone in a car crash in Houston, proper medical care is a must.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) are among the most serious injuries resulting from car crashes. Even with the use of airbags and seatbelts, the sudden impact can cause the brain to collide against the skull, leading to a concussion, a brain contusion, or even an open skull injury. Immediate medical attention is paramount to mitigate potential long-term cognitive and physical impairments. Once again, the severity of a TBI can vary widely. In some cases, a concussion may heal within a few weeks. In other cases, a TBI could result in permanent physical and mental impairments.

Burn Injuries

In the event of a car accident involving a fire or explosion, occupants can suffer burn injuries. These are painful and can result in long-lasting damage to the skin and underlying tissues. The severity of burn injuries can range from minor superficial burns to serious third-degree burns requiring extensive medical treatment. If you suffered a burn in a car crash in Houston, it is imperative that you are able to get the proper medical attention.

Internal Injuries

Internal injuries are among the most severe and life-threatening injuries resulting from car accidents. They occur when the force of the collision causes internal organs to be bruised, torn, or otherwise damaged. Examples include injuries to the liver, spleen, or kidneys. Because internal injuries are not always immediately apparent following a collision, seeking prompt medical attention is crucial to prevent further complications or fatalities


While they are (thankfully) relatively uncommon in motor vehicle collisions, amputations are catastrophic injuries. High-impact crashes can cause such severe trauma to limbs that amputation becomes necessary. Indeed, an amputation could be a necessary medical intervention to save the individual’s life. These catastrophic injuries have life-altering consequences.

Spinal Cord Damage

Spinal cord damage is another catastrophic injury. Spinal cord injuries are devastating and have a significant impact on individuals' lives. The sudden jolt from a car crash can damage the spinal cord, leading to partial or complete paralysis. Immediate, comprehensive, and ongoing medical care is critical to help injured car accident victims manage these injuries. There is no such thing as “minor” spinal cord damage. Any harm to the spinal cord is likely to leave the victim dealing with some form of permanent physical impairment.

Psychological Trauma

Car accidents do not just cause physical injuries—a crash can also lead to significant psychological trauma. Accident victims may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions as a result of the accident's emotional and mental impact. A car accident victim in Houston may need comprehensive mental health support after a serious crash.

All Car Accident Injuries Require Immediate Medical Attention

Every car accident injury, regardless of its apparent severity, necessitates immediate medical attention. The rush of adrenaline and shock following a collision can often mask the symptoms of serious injuries, delaying crucial treatment and potentially exacerbating the damage. Timely medical assessment ensures the early detection and treatment of injuries, significantly enhancing the chances of a full and swift recovery. Notably, there are legal reasons to seek professional medical care after a crash as well. You need medical documentation to bring a personal injury claim in Texas.

Schedule a Free Case Review With a Top Houston, TX Auto Accident Attorney

At Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, our Houston car crash lawyer puts the time, resources, and attention to the small details into every case. If you or your loved one sustained a serious injury in a crash, please do not hesitate to call us at (888) 378-1784 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation initial consultation. From our Huston law office, we represent injured victims and their families in Harris County, Brazoria County, Montgomery County, and throughout Southeast Texas.

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Selecting an attorney can be one of the most difficult decisions a person has to make. In what seems like an overwhelming sea of attorneys who do you choose? Are they qualified, compassionate, and are they willing to fight for you without compromising their integrity? When faced with this decision in 2016 I received this and more when I retained Rahlita Thornton as my attorney. Since 2016 she has represented me on several court cases and I've never been disappointed. She is well versed and very knowledgeable on many aspects of the law. Attorney Thornton and her staff work diligently to ensure no stone is left unturned and justice is served. When I was crippled with fear, bullied, and felt like giving up she was my voice. She is highly recommend and I'm truly blessed to have her in my life. TTW
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