What Kinds of Injuries Happen in Car Wrecks?

Car wreck injuries run the gamut from minor to catastrophic. Because New York is a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance, the insured’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage pays for his or her own medical treatment and lost wages no matter who was responsible for the collision. When someone suffers a serious injury with long-term limitations, and another party was at fault for the crash, the victim has other options.

The experienced New York City car accident lawyers at Douglas and London can help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries.

Common car accident injuries

Motor vehicle injuries fall into two broad categories. The first is an impact injury, resulting from the person hitting something inside the car after the crash, such as the head striking the side mirror. Penetration injuries occur when shattered glass, torn metal, or items within the car harm the person. Anything unsecured within the automobile can instantly become a projectile. Common car accident injuries include:

  • Burns
  • Crush
  • Fractures
  • Herniated
  • Internal
  • Loss
    of limbs
  • Spinal
    cord injuries
  • Traumatic
    brain injury

Some of these injuries are catastrophic, meaning the victim will never return to full physical or mental health and cannot work or perform the normal functions of daily life.

Car accident injuries may cause psychological as well as physical trauma. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) often strikes those involved in a serious car accident. PTSD causes emotional and mental distress, accompanied by symptoms such as:

  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Flashbacks
  • Insomnia

Always seek immediate medical attention after a car crash, even if you do not think you were hurt. Some injuries, especially those involving the soft tissues, may not appear for 48 hours or more after the wreck. Failing to go to the emergency room or see a doctor promptly harms a claim, as the insurance company may either downplay the severity of the injuries due to the delay in treatment, or allege the injuries were either pre-existing or unrelated to the accident.


While whiplash is among the most frequent types of car accident injuries, especially in those hit from behind in low-speed crashes, it is sometimes not taken as seriously as other motor vehicle injuries. While most people recover from whiplash within a few weeks, for others, the pain and physical limitations can persist for a long time.

Like the cracking of a whip, a person’s head and neck are jerked about during the impact, damaging the soft tissues. Because whiplash has become a pejorative term in some instances, equated with phony injury claims, it is usually referred to in court documents as a hyperextension or cervical injury.  

Factors affecting injuries

Every injury is unique. Two people may experience similar car wrecks but come away with totally different injuries. Much depends on the vehicle, size, and age of the person, and the circumstances regarding the crash, but factors determining how badly someone is hurt may include:

  • Seat
    belt usage
  • Airbag
  • Collision
  • Whether
    the individual was in the front or rear of the car
  • Rear,
    side, or front impact
  • Vehicle
    maintenance and condition.

New York law and the definition of “serious injury”

Those suffering a serious injury in a New York car wreck may step outside of the state’s no-fault system and file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver or other entities involved in the crash. Under New York law, an injury qualifies as serious if the following circumstances result:

  • Full
    disability for at least 90 days
  • Permanent
    loss of a bodily part
  • Bone
  • Substantial
    loss of a bodily function
  • “Significant”

Contact a New York car accident attorney

If you or someone who know suffered serious injuries in a car crash, you need the services of the dedicated personal injury lawyer at Douglas and London. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We will review your case and see if you have a claim for a personal injury lawsuit. Over the past two decades, our New York City personal injury lawyers have secured millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for clients. Because we work on a contingency basis, there is never a fee unless we win your case. Hablamos Espanol.