According to the WHO (World Health Organization), more than three million people are injured every year in road accidents across the United States, causing considerable economic losses to victims and their families.

The severity of the injuries will depend on each circumstance at the time of the accident, some will resolve within days without medical treatment, but more severe injuries might become permanent. Here are the most common types of injuries:

Soft Tissue Injuries

One of the most common types of injury, a soft tissue injury, is damage to the body’s connective tissue. Some examples are injuries in the neck or upper body, where muscles and ligaments are stretched due to sudden movements imposed on the head and neck. Other parts of the body like middle and lower back can be affected by muscle sprains, and sometimes cause more serious back injuries because of the impact force against the spine.

Cuts or Scrapes

Any loose items inside the vehicle immediately become projectiles thrown about the car’s interior when a car accident happens. A purse, eyeglasses, cell phone, laptop, a mug, loose change, etc. can easily cut your skin or cause other injuries if not properly secured. More severe injuries can result in loss of blood and may require stitches.

Head Injuries

When a road traffic injury occurs, the heads of the car occupants usually experience sudden and unnatural movements. This change can cause muscle strains in the neck and back, but also, the head itself can be injured by the impact. In extreme cases, the effect can cause a closed head injury, where the fluid and tissue inside the skull are damaged. Less severe closed head injuries often result in concussions, while the most severe impacts can cause brain damage.

Chest Injuries

These type of lesions often cause contusions or bruises, but they can be more severe, and cause broken ribs or internal injuries. Drivers often experience these kinds of injuries because of their position, which allows very little freedom of movement before the chest collides with the steering wheel. If a person’s body is thrown forward in a collision, even though it might not impact the steering wheel or dashboard, the chest area will still experience a high level of force against the shoulder harness or seat belt, which can cause severe bruising.

Arm and Leg Injuries

If your vehicle suffers a side impact, your arms and legs might be thrown hard against the door. While positioned as a passenger in a car, your legs typically have little room for movement. Car accidents can also cause an occupant’s knees to hit the dashboard or seats in front of them. Depending on the nature of the collision, injuries to your arms and legs might be minor bruises or scrapes, but sprains and even breaks can occur.

Prevent a severe injury by always wearing a seatbelt, and by respecting the speed limits. If you are in a road traffic accident, injury symptoms can take days or weeks to show. Look for medical treatment right away if you are feeling discomfort.