Affiliate Disclosure

Content on Jalopnik Advisor is commercial in nature and independent of Jalopnik Editorial and Advertising. Jalopnik Advisor content is free to consumers and always will be, however we and our partners may be compensated if you purchase a product or service through the links on this website.

More than 2 million people sustain car crash injuries every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), with nearly 100 people dying daily in car accidents nationally. Knowing the most-common car crash injury types and how you can proceed with your legal claims is key to recovering your losses after car-related injuries. Put yourself in the driver’s seat by learning how the legal recovery process works.

Were you or a loved one injured in a car accident?

Connect with an attorney in 60 seconds.

Common Car Accident Injuries

Knowing why and when to visit a doctor, chiropractor, or physical therapist for your accident injuries is essential self-care after a car accident. Car crash injuries fall into two categories:

  1. Blunt injuries—These occur when you strike a part of the car or another object.
  2. Penetrating injuries—These occur when an object goes deeper into the body.

Here are some injuries commonly experienced by drivers and passengers after an auto accident:

Soft Tissue Injuries

  • Bruising/contusions—These are the most common types of injuries in a car accident, involving trauma to muscles, tendons and ligaments, typically healing in 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Whiplash—If you feel pain or discomfort in your neck after a car crash, you might have experienced whiplash. Your neck muscles and ligaments have become strained from the impact of the accident and may take several weeks to heal.

Head Injuries

  • Concussion—This might occur if you hit your head during impact. If you experience memory loss or slower cognition, it is essential that you visit a doctor immediately to help restore your brain to its good health.
  • Traumatic brain injury—This is a more catastrophic injury to the brain that affects cognition, processing emotions, and memory. It may take a lifetime to heal from such damage, and physician visits are key to that process.

Back Injuries

  • Herniated disc—This can occur where the blow to your back causes displacement to the spinal disc. Because this can be very painful and limit your mobility, visit a physician for the best treatment.
  • Neck/back injuries—Neck or back pain after a car accident may not set in until a day or two after your accident. They are more serious and, although not always permanent, typically take plenty of time to heal. If you have a history with such previous injuries, it might also be best to consult with a specialist.

Internal Injuries

  • Broken bones—You might experience simple or compound fractures if the force of the impact was strong enough to injure you in this way. See a doctor immediately for treatment.
  • Internal bleeding—To prevent any greater life-threatening results from occurring, it is crucial that you see a doctor immediately if you suspect the impact of the collision caused this.

Mental And Emotional Injuries

  • These include anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD from a car accident can manifest as an aversion to driving or loud sounds, or sleep disturbances. It is best to consult a psychiatrist or psychologist for treatment.

The Legal Recovery Process After A Car Accident

While healing from your car crash injuries, you’ll need to begin the legal recovery process. There are many pathways to recovery, primarily depending on who was at fault and the amount of injuries sustained. Insurance policies are the most common means of recovering after a car accident.

The Other Driver’s Insurance

If the other driver was at fault, you can seek compensation from their insurance company for car crash injuries or damage to your property. Their insurance company will first investigate whether their driver was rightly to blame. If they do not find their driver at fault, they can reject your claim. Otherwise, they will compensate you for up to the value of the injury and damages within their policy limit.

Your Insurance

In the event that you were involved with an uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM), you can receive compensation from your own insurance up to the amount of your policy maximum. If you are injured or experienced pain and suffering, you might also be eligible to recover from your insurance policy if you elected such coverage.

The Other Driver’s Employer

If the other driver was on the job and they were at fault for the accident, you might be able to recover from their employer’s insurance policy. The insurance company will need to review the facts surrounding the accident and assess whether their driver was acting within the scope of employment (and at their employer’s direction) to determine who, in the insurance company’s view, was actually at fault when determining the payout amount.

Recovering Through a Lawsuit: Types Of Damages Available For Your Car Crash Injuries

One of the best ways to obtain the money you believe you’re owed is through a lawsuit. This legal recovery process, however, can be long and arduous but may be worth it if you feel you have a case.

Economic Damages

Central to the claim, economic or special damages are intended to recompense the plaintiff for all out-of-pocket expenses they incurred or expect to incur because of the accident. These include expenditures like:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning potential
  • Rehabilitation
  • Property damage

Non-Economic Damages

Subjective losses, or non-economic or general damages, are those that the plaintiff incurred as a consequence of the accident. Examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Punitive Damages

This type of damages, also known as exemplary damages, are given to a plaintiff who can prove that the defendant’s actions deserve punishment because they are so harmful and egregious. As such, punitive damages are especially rare.

What If The Other Driver Has No Car Insurance? Recovering From The Other Driver’s Personal Assets

If the other driver was at fault and has no insurance, you might be able to secure their personal assets. However, if your claim involves extensive injury or damages, you might be bleeding a stone. The best recourse might be through securing a lawsuit that can garnish their future wages.

Get Professional Help Recovering From Your Car Crash Injuries

If you are looking for a professional to help you determine how best to recover on your auto accident claim, consult with a knowledgeable expert today.

Legal Disclaimer: This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation and should not be interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions, you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

Injured in a car accident?

Connect with an attorney in 60 seconds or less and get a free consultation.

Get a Free Evaluation