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What Injuries Commonly Cause Death in Car Accidents?

Published on Nov 28, 2023 by Thomas Law Offices.

What Injuries Commonly Cause Death in Car Accidents
Car accidents have the potential to cause serious, lasting injuries to drivers and passengers alike. Unfortunately, we know that not every accident victim will survive a crash.

Many serious injuries commonly cause death in car accidents, leaving surviving family members to deal with the emotional and financial losses. Whether driving on the Dan Ryan Expressway or on I-57, we want everyone in Illinois to be safe when traveling through The Prairie State. Having a more thorough understanding of the types of fatal car accident injuries and how to prevent them is key to staying safe.

Common Fatal Car Accident Injuries

Broken bones, whiplash, and bruises are all common types of car accident injuries. These types of injuries are typically minor and unlikely to end in fatality, though. Injuries that result in death tend to be much more severe, impacting important body parts, such as the brain or spine.

Head Injuries

A head injury is a broad umbrella term that refers to any number of injuries that affect the brain, skull, or scalp. Depending on the severity of the injury, a head injury might also be categorized as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Head injuries can also be categorized as closed or open, depending on whether the skull was breached.

Head injuries and TBIs are medical emergencies. Any failure to seek prompt medical attention could have fatal results, although undergoing treatment is no guarantee of survival—a head injury does not have to be severe to cause death.

Pain in the head after a car accident can indicate:

  • Intracranial hematoma
  • Skull fractures
  • Concussions
  • Contusions

Never try to downplay or explain away symptoms of a head injury. If you’ve been in a car accident and have a headache that won’t go away, severe nausea, confusion, or clear fluid leaking from your nostrils or ears, go to the emergency room right away.

Chest and Neck Injuries

In a car accident, injuries that occur to the chest and neck can be deadly. Pain in any of these locations can indicate a serious medical condition that requires prompt medical care or that could result in death.

Pain in the chest after a car accident can indicate:

  • A broken sternum (breastbone)
  • A punctured or collapsed lung
  • Fractured ribs

The sternum is an important bone protecting your heart. Any damage or injury to the breastbone could result in harm to your heart, leading to a cardiac contusion.

Pain in the neck after a car accident can indicate:

  • Cervical fracture (broken neck)
  • Cervical spondylolisthesis
  • Severe lacerations
  • Spinal cord injuries

Never ignore pain or stiffness in your neck after an auto accident. These could be signs of a severe neck injury for which you require immediate medical attention.

Internal Injuries

An internal injury is one that is not visible on the body’s exterior. Symptoms of an internal injury or internal organ damage include pain in the affected area, swelling, bruising, nausea, and vomiting. Blood in your urine or stool following a collision is another indication of significant internal trauma.

Internal injuries that can occur after a car accident include:

  • Organ damage
  • Ruptured abdominal aorta
  • Internal bleeding

Internal organ damage may be caused by an impact against the vehicle’s steering wheel, dashboard, airbags, or windshield during a collision. If worn improperly, seat belts can also cause severe internal trauma in a car crash.

To limit your risk of suffering a preventable internal injury, always wear your seat belt correctly. The lap belt should sit low on your hips, not your stomach. The shoulder harness should fit comfortably across the center of your chest, resting against your shoulder rather than your neck.

What Is a Catastrophic Injury?

A catastrophic injury is a category of physical injury that is exceptionally severe or traumatic. Catastrophic injuries often come on suddenly and with little to no warning, typically affecting the brain, spine, or spinal cord.

Catastrophic injuries have a high risk of fatality.

The most common types of catastrophic injuries that cause death in car accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken ribs
  • Internal bleeding

Types of Car Accidents That Cause the Most Fatalities

According to the National Safety Council, crashes between two motor vehicles are the most likely to result in fatalities, followed by collisions with fixed objects and collisions with pedestrians. The four types of crashes that cause the greatest number of vehicular deaths are:

  • Angle collisions
  • Head-on collisions
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Sideswipe collisions

Lowering Your Risk for Fatal Car Crash Injuries

It is impossible to control how other drivers behave on Illinois’ roadways. This means that even if you are a safe and cautious driver, you will still have to share the road with aggressive, distracted, or negligent drivers. This puts you at risk of being involved in a serious car crash.

Although you cannot control how other people choose to drive, you can lower your risk of suffering a fatal injury by always wearing your seat belt, driving the speed limit, and paying careful attention to your surroundings. Being a defensive driver is one of the most effective ways to lower your risk of being involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident.

Compensation for Injuries That Commonly Cause Death in Car Accidents

If you lost a loved one in a car accident, your family may be owed compensation from the at-fault driver. This compensation is intended to cover both economic and non-economic damages, which refer to the monetary and non-monetary ways in which you’ve suffered.

Your wrongful death attorney will advise you of what compensation your family is entitled to in your claim, which may include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost source of income
  • Medical expenses incurred during attempts at life-saving care
  • Loss of companionship and consortium
  • Loss of guidance
  • Loss of inheritance

We know that the idea of assigning a monetary value to a wrongful death claim can feel uncomfortable. However, we want to assure you that the compensation secured through this legal process is in no way trying to place a dollar value on your loved one’s life. Their life mattered, and no amount of money could ever undo the loss your family has suffered. Instead, this compensation is intended to help your family address the ways in which your lives have been altered since their death.

Life After a Fatal Car Accident

Your loved one should be here with you today. While Thomas Law Offices cannot undo the irreversible loss that your family has already suffered, we want to be part of the solution moving forward. Our wrongful death attorneys are compassionate and knowledgeable experts who have dedicated their careers to helping families grieving unimaginable losses.

We invite you to contact our offices to schedule a no-cost case evaluation. These consultations are always free, and there is never any obligation to continue working with our law firm.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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