Common Types of Car Accident Injuries in California [2024 Updated]

In California, car accidents are, unfortunately, common, with over 250,000 accidents a year in the state. Sadly, many of these accidents lead to serious injuries. Car accidents can lead to a range of injuries, including head, neck, back, and chest injuries, among others. If you are searching for help after an accident, a California car accident attorney can assist you as you navigate the legal aftermath of your car crash.

Common Injury Types

Car accident injuries vary in severity, at times leading to long-lasting symptoms. Some car accidents result in minor scratching and bruising, while others can lead to life-altering injuries. Some of the most common injuries resulting from a car accident include the following:

  • Whiplash: Whiplash is a common injury in car accidents because it is caused by a sudden back-and-forth motion. Rear-end collisions often result in whiplash due to the sudden forceful motion that mimics a whip, hence the name. This rapid whipping movement can cause damage and strain to the soft tissues in the neck. Symptoms may not appear immediately after an accident; they can, at times, develop hours or days later.
  • Contusions and Bruises: Broken glass, sharp objects, airbag deployment, and contact with external surfaces during a collision can cause injury. The severity of cuts and lacerations can range from a deep wound to minor abrasions. It is important to seek medical attention for even seemingly minor injuries, as infection and long-term scarring can be avoided with proper care.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Soft tissue includes muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Injuries to soft tissue range from mild to severe, depending on the circumstances of the crash, leading to swelling, pain, and restricted movement. Strains and sprains can often happen due to a car crash but may go untreated, leading to permanent damage. A medical provider can take time to perform a physical examination or an X-ray to determine proper treatment methods.
  • Fractures: Fractures, more commonly referred to as broken bones, happen due to the extreme impact involved in car accidents. Fractures generally occur in the arms, legs, ribs, pelvis, spine, and skull bones. If you are having trouble moving a limb after a crash, medical care must be notified, as there is a high likelihood of fractures. Medical personnel can ensure proper rehabilitation steps are taken.
  • Head Injuries: Head injuries can range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The head is vulnerable during collisions, and consequences can vary widely.For example, TBIs can result in long-term cognitive impairments, coma, or even death. Symptoms are normally memory loss, mood changes, loss of consciousness, and impaired cognitive function.
  • Chest Injuries: Chest injuries include contusions and bruises to the chest, rib fractures, sternal fractures, and internal organ injuries within the chest cavity to the heart, lungs, or blood vessels. Chest injuries are serious, as they can impact breathing with pain during inhalation or exhalation.Treatment and recovery time vary due to the specifications of the injury. Minor fractures and contusions may heal in a matter of weeks, while more severe injuries may require a more extensive recovery period.
  • Back, Leg, and Knee Injuries: Back, leg, and knee injuries can include sprains and strains, fractures, herniated discs, and ligament tears. Symptoms of these injuries can include pain, swelling, limited range of motion, instability, numbness, or tingling. Physical therapy, medication, surgery, and immobilization are often treatments for back, leg, and knee injuries due to a car accident.
  • Psychological Injuries: Types of psychological injuries associated with car crashes include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, emotional distress, and anxiety. Symptoms of these injuries involve flashbacks to the accident, nightmares, difficulty concentrating, and more. Therapy, medication, or support groups may be forms of treatment recommended by health care professionals.


Q: How Much Will I Get From a Car Accident Settlement in California?

A: The amount you may receive from a car accident settlement in California is highly variable and depends on the specific factors of your accident. Settlement amounts can be influenced by the severity of injuries, property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, along with other related costs.

There is no fixed formula for calculating a settlement amount. To learn about the potential settlement amount in your case, consult an attorney for more insight into negotiation possibilities.

Q: Can I Claim for Personal Injury if the Accident Was My Fault in California?

A: California follows a comparative negligence system, which means that even if you were partially at fault for an accident, you may still be eligible to recover damages. The amount recovered can be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed by you. For example, if you were found to be 30% at fault in the accident, your potential compensation would be reduced by that percentage. If the accident was solely your fault, it can be challenging to pursue a personal injury claim.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Settle a Personal Injury Case in California?

A: In the state of California, the length of a personal injury case varies from a few months to several years due to several determining factors. These factors include the complexity of the case, the timely cooperation of all parties involved, and the extent of injuries endured in the accident.

Q: Do I Have to Pay Taxes on a Personal Injury Settlement in California?

A: In the state of California, the tax implications of a personal injury settlement are dependent on the unique details of each case. In general, compensatory damages for physical sickness or injuries are not considered taxable income at a federal level. However, punitive damages and compensation for non-physical injuries may be taxable.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

At Belgum, Fry & Van Allen, we strive to ensure that our clients can receive compensation so that their medical, financial, and psychological needs are thoroughly attended to after a crash. Reach out today for a consultation and to learn how our team can support you at this time. Your personal injury claim deserves the thoughtful care and attention that our California car accident attorneys can provide.