What bones are most likely to be broken in a car crash?
The answer to that question depends on the type of vehicle you’re traveling in, how fast you’re going and what type of crash you’re involved in – but generally, the most common bones broken in a car accident include:
- Arms, wrists, hands and fingers. These bones can break if you instinctively throw your arms out to protect yourself during a crash. The bones of the wrists and hands are small and fragile, which increases their likelihood of breaking during a car accident.
- Legs. Your femur, tibia or fibula – the large bones that make up your legs (the femur is your thigh bone) – can break when the leg area of your vehicle crumples in a crash.
- Hips and pelvis. You can fracture your hips and pelvis in any type of accident. Sometimes these bones break when your seatbelt stops you from going through the windshield (and suffering much more severe injuries), and sometimes they occur when you’re thrown from a car. They can also occur in motorcycle accidents.
- Ribs. Rib fractures are very common in car crashes, and like other injuries, they can be caused by a seatbelt or an airbag.
- Vertebrae in the neck and back. The small disks in your neck and back are fragile, and they can break during a head-on or rear-end collision (or any other type of car crash).
- Clavicle. Your collarbone may break when the seatbelt holds you in place during a crash – or it can break as the result of a sudden impact with something else in the car.
- Facial bones and skulls. Often, facial bones and skulls fracture when they hit windshields with great force.
Related: Should you get a lawyer after a car accident?
What Bones Are Most Likely to Be Broken in a Car Crash – and How?
Bone fractures are common injuries in car accidents, as well as truck accidents and motorcycle crashes. The severity of a break depends on several factors, as does the type of bone fracture.
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Types of Bone Fractures
In any car accident, you risk one (or more) of several types of bone breaks. Doctors call breaks fractures – whether a bone is broken all the way through or it’s simply cracked. The most common types of bone fractures after car crashes include:
- Greenstick. These breaks are incomplete, so the bone is not completely separated.
- Transverse. These fractures go in a straight line, right across the bone.
- Spiral. Common in twisting injuries, these breaks spiral around the bone.
- Oblique. Oblique fractures are diagonal breaks across a bone.
- Compression. Crushed bones are compression fractures.
- Comminuted. When a break shatters a bone into three or more pieces and the fragments are present, it’s a comminuted fracture.
- Segmental. Segmental fractures occur when a bone is broken in two places and there’s a “floating” piece of bone between two others.
Related: Could you file a catastrophic injury lawsuit?
How Bones Are Broken in Car Accidents
Speed has a lot to do with the severity of a person’s injuries during a crash; that’s because the body often keeps moving forward with momentum when the car comes to a stop. But even at low speeds, sudden deceleration or impact can cause serious injuries (and broken bones). The bones most likely to be broken in a car crash are typically injured in one of these ways:
- Bones can be crushed in any type of impact, but these types of injuries are most common when semi-trucks or large vehicles are involved in accidents with smaller vehicles.
- Several types of fractures occur when someone is thrown from a vehicle during a collision. If the victim isn’t wearing a seatbelt, the risk is so much higher – and then there’s also a secondary risk for damage to internal organs from broken bones. For example, broken ribs can puncture the organs they protect.
- Being thrown from a motorcycle and hitting the ground can cause serious bone breaks. Bones can shatter in motorcycle crashes, too, and they can be crushed when a body part gets caught between two objects (like a bike and the ground, or two vehicles).
- Striking an object in the vehicle during the crash can cause breaks, too. If you unconsciously throw your hands out to protect yourself, for example, or if your head hits the steering wheel or the door, you can break bones.
This list isn’t comprehensive, either. There are many other ways to break bones in car accidents, too, such as through the force of a seatbelt – but they’re not as common as these.
Related: The 10 most common truck accident injuries
You Know What Bones Are Most Likely to Be Broken in a Car Crash… But Do You Need Legal Advice?
If you’ve been in a car accident, you could benefit from talking to an attorney about your case. Call us at 818-230-8380 or fill out the form below to tell us what happened. We’ll be happy to visit you at home, in the hospital or in our office – and if you’re entitled to compensation, we can help you get what you deserve.