What Are the Most Common Vehicle Accident Injuries?

If you have been involved in a car accident in North Carolina, you may be facing injuries ranging from minor cuts and bruises to life-changing injuries that require adaptation to a new lifestyle. Car accident injuries can require surgery, rehabilitation and ongoing therapy and weeks or months off work after serious injuries. Loss of income while you are unable to work can cause financial stress and add to your overall losses from the accident.

If you have suffered an injury in a car crash caused by someone else in Raleigh or anywhere in North Carolina, it is crucial that you understand your legal options. Let us answer your questions about car accident injuries and compensation. You may be entitled to seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses. Contact a car accident lawyer at Hardison & Cochran who will review the details of your injury and discuss your legal rights to pursue compensation.

Our attorneys handle cases on a contingency fee basis. You will not be expected to pay any legal fee unless we obtain compensation for you. Hardison & Cochran has been serving clients for more than 30 years. Our car accident lawyers have years of experience handling car accident injury cases in North Carolina. Call or contact us online to receive a free consultation about your case.

The following is a listing of some of the most common injuries that people sustain in car accidents in North Carolina. They include:

Neck and Whiplash Injuries

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury that is also referred to as a neck sprain or strain. The forceful impact of a car accident can cause the neck muscles and tendons to stretch beyond their normal range of motion. While a neck injury may occur in any type of motor vehicle accident, the force of a rear-end collision can cause a car occupant’s torso to move forward and the unsupported head to be thrown backward, then violently forward.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), whiplash can involve:

  • Nerve damage
  • Disk ruptures
  • Damage to ligaments in the neck
  • Fractures of the cervical vertebrae
  • Injury to the shoulder muscle.

A car accident victim may experience neck pain and stiffness immediately after a collision. However, the onset of the neck pain and other symptoms may be delayed for several days. If you are in a crash and experience any signs of whiplash, you should visit a doctor for a medical assessment. You should tell the doctor that you have been in a collision. While injuries to soft tissue will not typically show up on an x-ray, it is important to rule out the possibility of a neck fracture.

Back and Spinal Cord Injuries

Motor vehicles accidents including car wrecks, truck accidents and motorcycle crashes are a leading cause of spinal cord injuries, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center.

Serious back and spinal cord injuries can affect a person’s ability to work for a living and in the most serious cases cause paralysis and loss of function in areas of the body.

A back injury may involve any type of damage to muscles, tendons, vertebrae or disks between the vertebrae. This includes:

  • Strains (torn or stretched muscles or tendons)
  • Sprains (torn or stretched ligaments)
  • Herniated or ruptured disks
  • Fractured vertebrae.

An injury that damages the spinal cord or disks of the spinal column may require surgery. These injuries can cause paralysis. The paralysis occurs below the level of the spinal cord where the injury occurred.

Spinal cord injuries are referred to as either:

  • Complete—There is no function or sensation below the point of injury.
  • Incomplete—There is some function.

Paralysis is described as:

  • Paraplegia – Affecting all or part of the legs and pelvic organs
  • Tetraplegia or quadriplegia – Affecting the arms, hands, truck, legs and pelvic organs.

The cost of caring for a paralyzed person can easily run into millions of dollars. The victim of a spinal cord injury may have a right to file an injury lawsuit and demand compensation if the back injury was caused by another driver’s carelessness or negligence. Our personal injury attorneys at Hardison & Cochran pursue compensation on behalf of back and spinal cord injury victims throughout North Carolina.

If your life has been changed by an injury to the back or spinal cord, the injury lawyers at Hardison & Cochran may be able to assist.


Broken bones are a common type of injury in car accidents and require a lengthy recovery depending on the type of break. They include:

  • Greenstick fractures – The bone is bent and cracked but not snapped.
  • Stress fractures – They are caused by the overuse of muscles and soft tissue around the injured bone.
  • Stable fractures – The broken ends of the bone line up almost in place.
  • Compound fracture/Open fracture – The broken bone pierces the skin.
  • Impacted or Buckle fractures – The bones are driven into each other.
  • Comminuted fractures – The bone shatters into three or more pieces.

The most severe fractures require surgery to insert pins, screws, or rods to set and immobilize the broken bone. Traction may be needed to realign multiple broken bones or a severe fracture. This can require a patient to stay in bed for several weeks.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Motor vehicles accidents are a leading cause of brain injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, 28 percent of people who suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) sustained their injury in a motor vehicle crash.

A TBI in a car accident can range from a mild concussion that clears up with rest to severe brain damage that causes lasting disability or premature death. You can sustain a brain injury from your head hitting the windshield, the steering wheel or any part of the car with great force. Both open head injuries and closed-head injuries can be extremely serious and require surgical intervention.

A moderate to severe brain injury will require a costly and lengthy recovery. If another driver caused the crash that led to your brain injury, you should seek legal guidance about your legal options.

Air Bag Injuries

Airbags that deploy with force can cause serious injuries to drivers and passengers if the person is positioned too close when the rapidly inflating airbag deploys. Children and small adults are more likely to be injured by an inflating airbag. They can cause head injuries and fatal injuries.

When airbags fail to deploy or cause injury during inflation, this may represent a fault in the design or production of the airbag by the car manufacturer or an automotive parts supplier.

Manufacturers have a legal obligation to ensure that the products they sell are safe and manufactured properly. If they fail to meet this legal obligation, they may be liable for the harm that the automotive product causes.

Faulty airbag lawsuits have been successful and may provide compensation for medical bills, lost income and money for pain and suffering of those who are unjustly injured.

Internal Injuries

The blunt force trauma from a car crash such as being thrown against a dashboard or steering wheel can cause secondary impacts that result in internal injuries.

Serious internal injuries such as a fractured sternum, abdominal injuries, injuries to organs, or punctured diaphragm may cause internal bleeding and require emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, surgery and rehabilitation.

If you have sustained internal injuries in a car accident that was caused by another motorist, you may have a legal right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver. You should seek legal help immediately to demand compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses.

Do I Need An Injury Lawyer After A Raleigh Car Accident?

If another driver caused a car accident and you have been diagnosed with a serious injury, you should have an experienced personal injury lawyer represent you in dealings with the other driver’s insurance company.

An insurance company will try to discount or deny your injury claim if possible. An insurance adjuster may try to use your own words against you if you make the mistake of talking with the adjuster without the guidance of a lawyer. You should not give a statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or sign anything without having an attorney review it.

Insurance adjusters will try to exploit your unfamiliarity with the claims process if you do not have a lawyer standing up for your rights. They may use the stress you are feeling to pressure you to accept a low settlement.

The experienced injury lawyers at Hardison & Cochran can review your medical records and give you an informed perspective on what your car accident injury claim is worth. Our attorneys will talk with your doctors and develop a solid estimate of the costs of your medical treatment as well as other related losses such as lost income from missed work. We will seek a settlement that reflects the severity of your injury and the full extent of your losses.

We will keep you updated on the progress of our negotiations to reach an injury settlement. Our attorneys will be available to answer your questions.

Do I Have To Go Through A Trial If I File A Whiplash Injury Lawsuit?

In most cases, our skilled attorneys can resolve injury claims without a trial. An out-of-court settlement will provide you the money to pay your medical bills and settle your debts more quickly and avoid the uncertain outcome of a trial. Most clients we represent prefer not to go to court if possible. They simply want to move forward with their lives without the burden of medical debt created by a serious injury that was someone else’s fault. Our dedicated injury attorneys seek to negotiate a just settlement with the insurance company so that you can move beyond your injury.

If the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement, our attorneys are experienced trial attorneys and will be ready to pursue justice for you in court. At Hardison & Cochran, we can investigate your accident and pursue maximum compensation. We serve clients throughout Raleigh and North Carolina. The initial consultations are usually handled by phone. Talking with an attorney will give you a clearer understanding of your options and there is no obligation. Call us today to get started.