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What Happens To The Human Body In A Car Crash?

Your body is a truly wondrous living machine. Hundreds of bones, muscles, ligaments and nerves work together with your organs to allow you to not only survive, but also to thrive in your day-to-day life.

Unfortunately, however, the injuries you sustain in a car crash can disrupt this effortless functionality of your body, either temporarily or permanently.

To better understand what your body can go through in a car crash, let’s take a look at exactly what happens.

Prior to Impact

At the point where you first realize that a crash is going to occur, your body releases massive amounts of adrenaline, a hormone that many call the “fight or flight” response. Your heart rate speeds up, as does your rate of breathing, and, since flight is impossible, your body prepares itself to fight what’s sure to come.

Your blood vessels and air passageways all dilate, sending extra oxygen throughout your body. Your eyes likewise dilate and you become hyper aware of everything that’s happening. You reflexively tense for impact.

Moment of Impact

When you drive or ride in a car, your body moves forward at the same rate of speed as your vehicle. In a normal driving situation, this forward motion gradually comes to a stop as you apply the brakes. In a crash, however, the stop caused by the crash is sudden, and your body continues to move forward.

In terms of the precise steps of the impact, this is what happens:

  1. Metal hits metal. Your car’s metal parts begin to crumple. Depending on whether you hit something or something hits you, the crumpling parts could be in the front, back or side of your vehicle.
  2. Your body hits metal. Once your car has absorbed all the crash shock possible, your body absorbs the remaining kinetic energy and continues to move forward.
  3. Your internal organs continue to move even after your body stops moving. Each of your internal organs “floats” in its own cavity. Even though your body stops moving, your internal organs don’t. They “slosh around,” hitting the bones or other hard surfaces that surround them.
  4. Parts of your vehicle intrude into the cabin area, hitting you even if you’re wearing a seatbelt and your air bag properly deploys


Wearing your seatbelt can prevent death, but it won’t necessarily prevent injury. Common seatbelt-caused injuries include the following:

  • Broken collar bone
  • Broken or cracked ribs
  • Collapsed lung
  • Internal organ damage, particularly to your stomach

Without a seatbelt on to restrain you, however, your body continues moving forward until it’s stopped by the steering wheel, dashboard or windshield. In a high-speed crash, you stand a good chance of being thrown through the windshield and completely ejected from your car.


Like a seatbelt, your air bag protects your body from slamming into whatever’s in front of it during a crash. Nevertheless, an airbag, too, can cause injury, such as one or more of the following:

  • Facial injuries, including cuts, abrasions and broken facial bones
  • Eye injuries, up to and including permanent blindness, if the air bag impacts your eye areas
  • Neck and spinal injuries resulting from the air bag forcing your head backward and forward
  • Chest injuries, particularly broken or cracked ribs

Adrenaline Crash

While your adrenaline rush gets you through the immediate accident stages, it doesn’t last forever. The inevitable adrenaline crash can cause any or all of the following:

  • Shaking hands
  • Feeling of weakness
  • Fainting
  • Sweating
  • Extreme coldness
  • Notice of pain for the first time
  • Release of intense emotion, particularly crying or screaming

Types of Crashes

Now let’s look at the types of crashes and the injuries they can produce.

Head-on Collision

A head-on collision, especially at highway speeds, can result in any of the following injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injury that could leave you disabled for life
  • Spinal cord injury that could leave you partially or completely paralyzed
  • Crush injury that could require amputation of one or more of your limbs
  • Soft tissue injury, such as whiplash, that causes immense pain and a decreased range of motion

Rear-end Collision

If yours is the vehicle being struck from behind, your head immediately snaps backward, possibly resulting in your sustaining a concussion, which could produce any of the following:

  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Impaired balance
  • Impaired cognitive abilities
  • Severe headache

Unfortunately, things get even worse if you rear-end a large truck or trailer with a higher-than-normal undercarriage. Here, there is nothing to protect you from sliding underneath it, resulting in the likely shearing off of your car’s roof and windshield. At that point, the bodies of you and your passengers take the full brunt of the collision, which could decapitate everyone riding in the vehicle.

T-bone Collision

If another vehicle strikes yours from the side, only your car doors stand between you and disaster, and offer little protection therefrom. Even if your car has side air bags, you likely will be thrown violently sideways, which could result in any of the following:

  • Broken bones
  • Crush injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Neck and spinal cord injuries
  • Upper body, thorax or pelvis injuries

Rollover Accident

A rollover accident bypasses virtually all of your car’s safety features. It therefore puts you at high risk of ejection from the vehicle and your body coming into contact with not only various parts of your car, but also with airborne debris. The consequences can be dire, including:

  • Severe head injury
  • Dismemberment
  • Severely broken bones
  • Severe cuts, lacerations and abrasions
  • Burst arteries or veins
  • Ruptured internal organs

Psychological Injuries

Not all car crash injuries are physical in nature. Your mind is just as susceptible to injury as your body. You may well suffer from PTSD after your accident, with symptoms such as the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Flashbacks

Obtaining Legal Help

Whatever type of injuries you sustain in your car crash, Jason Stone Injury Lawyers is here to help you get the money you need to pay your hospital and other medical expenses, cover your lost wages, and compensate you for your pain and suffering and other intangible injuries.

In addition, you will be glad to know that we give you the Stone Cole Guarantee®, our 10-point commitment to you that we will make your experience with us a positive one. For instance, we guarantee to respond to your initial call within 24 hours or treat you to a free lunch, compliments of Jason. We also guarantee that you will have 24/7 access to one of our representatives to keep you apprised of the status and progress of your case. Furthermore, we don’t get paid unless and until we successfully resolve your case through settlement or a full-fledged jury trial.

Jason Stone’s team of deeply experienced personal injury attorneys and other legal professionals knows the law inside and out. We are not afraid to take on the largest corporations and insurance companies. Whether sitting at the negotiation table or convincing a judge and jury of the merits of your case, you can rest assured that we will rigorously and aggressively pursue your claim.

So contact Jason Stone Injury Lawyers today. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. We guarantee you a free, no-obligation consultation. Just information.®

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