A Car Accident

The Most Common Car Accident Injuries in California

Authored by:

Attorney William Green from Delfino Green & Green Law


William Green
Mr. Green has made a career of championing the rights of the most vulnerable members of society against the most powerful corporations, government entities, and insurance companies. Where most attorneys take on “a case,” Mr. Green takes on clients and their cause.

Reviewed by:


Delfino Green & Green
For over 30 years, the highly skilled and experienced attorneys at Delfino Green & Green have been protecting the rights of individuals throughout California. We work hard to hold negligent parties accountable for their actions that caused injuries, insurance companies responsible for their promises to pay disability benefits, and employers accountable for their commitment to protecting their employees in the workplace.


At premier car accident attorneys in San Francisco, we know how devastating serious wrecks can be. Car accident victims not only face physical injuries, but also emotional and financial losses. Luckily, we may be able to help. Contact us online to schedule a free consultation Do you know what you would do in the event of a car accident? Would you know what common injuries to look out for or the best steps to take moving forward? If you’re a driver in California, you need to know the answers to these questions. The reality is that no one gets into their car expecting to be involved in an accident. However, with more than 31 million motor vehicles in California, it’s no surprise that wrecks are common, especially in densely populated areas. Although some accidents only amount to fender-benders, others result in serious injuries and even fatalities. As top car accident lawyers in the Bay Area, we’ve seen more than our fair share of devastating accidents. Although collisions can cause an array of different injuries, some are more common than others. Keep reading to learn about the most common injuries in a car accident, what causes them and the best way to protect yourself in the aftermath of a wreck. At Delfino, Green & Green, we specialize in protecting the rights of injury victims. If you’re unsure of where to turn after suffering serious injuries in a wreck, we can help you explore your options. Give us a call at (415) 442-4646 to schedule a free case evaluation today.

What Causes Car Accidents in California?

Many different situations and events contribute to motor vehicle accidents. However, the majority of them involve negligence in one way or another. The following reckless driving behaviors are among the most common causes of car accidents in California:
  • Distracted driving. It’s essential for drivers to avoid any activity that may distract them from operating their vehicle responsibly, such as using a cell phone, eating or drinking, searching for music, interacting with other passengers, etc.
  • Driving while intoxicated. Driving under the influence doesn’t just refer to alcohol; it includes any substance—legal or illegal—that impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
  • Failing to control speed. This could mean driving too far above or below the posted speed limit. 
  • Flouting traffic laws. Examples include following traffic too closely, disregarding stop signs or lights, making improper stops, turning left without yielding, etc. 
This list is by no means exhaustive; there are many other reasons people get into car accidents, such as construction zones, defective car parts, inclement weather and poorly maintained roads. Regardless of the catalyst, negligence plays a role in the majority of wrecks.

Car Accident Injuries in California

It’s easy to forget that cars are essentially two-ton death machines, careening down the highway in narrow lanes, capable of causing tremendous destruction. However, when you look at the statistics, the reality is sobering. Data from the California Highway Patrol’s 2019 report suggests that nearly 270,000 Californians suffered significant injuries in motor vehicle accidents that year. Even more tragic, 3,737 people died on California roadways in 2019.

Contributing Factors

A serious car accident typically involves sudden movements and high-impact force, as well as broken glass and debris. As a result, the severity of an accident victim’s injuries depends on numerous factors, including the following:
  • Whether the car accident victim was wearing a seatbelt
  • Where their vehicle was hit
  • How the person was positioned in their seat at the time of the wreck
  • How fast the involved vehicles were traveling
  • Whether or not the airbags deployed
By simply wearing a seatbelt, sitting in the proper seat position and following traffic laws and speed limits, vehicle passengers can reduce their risk of serious injury and death. Unfortunately, some car passengers can do everything right and still end up facing life-altering injuries because of another party’s negligence.

Common Car Accident Injuries

Although car accidents can result in many different types of injuries, they all fall into two categories: impact injuries and penetrating injuries. Whereas impact injuries include things like hitting your head or being thrown against the side of your vehicle, penetrating injuries refer to when an object or debris breaks the skin and enters the body. Examples include lacerations, cuts and puncture wounds. The following are among the most common injuries in a car accident:
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can range in severity from a minor concussion to debilitating brain damage
  • Spinal injuries, which can cause tremendous pain, limit mobility and cause paralysis
  • Broken bones, such as arm, femur, wrist, clavicle, rib, pelvic, face and skull fractures
  • Soft tissue injuries, such as sprained or strained muscles, ligaments and tendons
  • Whiplash, a violent jerking back and forth of the driver’s neck caused by an abrupt stop or collision
  • Internal injuries, such as bruised, damaged organs and internal bleeding 
  • Burns, which can be caused by a variety of things, such as contact with hot metal, water or escaping steam, toxic cargo and fire
  • Facial injuries, such as broken bones, swelling, bruising, scratches, cuts and lacerations (some of which may cause scars and disfigurement)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an often debilitating mental condition caused by an extremely stressful, traumatic event
With the exception of PTSD, everything in this list is considered a physical injury. However, their effects stretch far beyond physical pain and recovery. These physical injuries may start with the body, but they can end up causing a variety of intangible losses.

Recoverable Damages in Car Accidents

If you noticed your injury among our list of the most common injuries in a car accident, you may be wondering if you should seek out legal help. As a general rule of thumb, if you suffered significant injuries in an accident caused by someone else and have amassed other losses as a result, you may want to file a lawsuit. An experienced San Francisco personal injury attorney may be able to help you pursue compensation for the following economic and non-economic losses:
  • Medical expenses, including your current hospital bills, accident-related debt, physical therapies, future treatments, care assistance, etc.
  • Property damage, such as a totalled car or personal items ruined in the wreck
  • Lost wages, such as the paychecks you missed when you were in the hospital or initially recovering
  • Loss of future income, the inability to earn the same amount of income you did before the accident
  • Lost quality of life, dissatisfaction or depression that stems from accident-related, negative life changes
  • Scarring or disfigurement that affects your self-esteem, social connections, work opportunities or another key aspect of your life
  • Permanent disability that leaves you unable to work at all
These are just some of the many losses you may be able to include in your settlement. Unsure how to calculate it? Don’t sweat it—your lawyer will explain exactly which losses should be included and help you add it all up.

Talk to One of Our California Car Accident Lawyers Today!

When they’re just small fender-benders, car accidents remind us how dangerous vehicles can be when driven irresponsibly. Unfortunately, many car accidents are anything but minor and result in life-altering consequences for those involved. If you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t be paying the price. Luckily, you may not have to. As top car accident lawyers in San Francisco, the team at Delfino, Green & Green is eager to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Ready to get started? It’s as simple as dialing (415) 442-4646 to schedule a free consultation with one of our legal experts. Before you start worrying about the cost, remember: We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid until—and unless—you do.
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