It can be helpful to think of three degrees of injury – from minor, to serious, and even a critical degree of injury. Each of the following five common injuries sustained in an auto accident can occur to any of these degrees.
One of the most common types is called a soft tissue injury, because it typically refers to the soft parts of the body such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Symptoms often include localized pain at the site of the injury. Another common, but more serious type is herniation of a spinal disk. Symptoms of a herniated disk can sometimes be displaced to another part of the body, leading sufferers to not realize its true nature as a back injury.
Broken bones are a good example of a collision-related injury that can be anything from relatively minor to life-threatening. The traumatic movement that breaks the bone can also dislodge it, causing the bone to tear internal organs, muscles, or even through the skin.
Another type of common injury in any auto collision is brain injury. At its most minor, it may be nothing more than a concussion, which, like many related injuries, may not present themselves at the time of the crash. More severe brain injuries are generally associated with frontal or side-impact collisions. Injuries to the neck and back (i.e. "whiplash") are far more common.
If you've recently been rear-ended, remember that injuries may not present immediately after the collision. Minor soft-tissue injuries, in particular, may take a day or two to develop, even if they are only minor.