Types Of Injury As A Result Of A Car Accident


According to the UK’s leading road safety charity, “Brake” there were sadly some 1,730 people killed on the UK’s roads during 2015, with a further 22,144 people seriously injured and a staggering number of 186,189 “other” casualties.

During the same period, the highest percentage of casualties were car users – whether drivers or passengers – and, in fact, these accounted for 44% of road deaths in the UK. Suffice it to say; there can be little doubt that a huge number of injuries are caused by car accidents each and every year.

So, what are the types of injury sustained by car accidents?

In this article, we take a closer look at the five types of injury which occur as the result of car accidents across the UK.

How are accidents recorded?

Approximately half of all police forces across the UK have adopted the relatively new reporting system “CRASH” (the “Collision Recording And Sharing” system) since the end of 2015; although Surrey has in fact been using it since November 2012, with very positive results. Read more.

CRASH is basically an advanced centralised system used by some police forces to record traffic collisions and ultimately provide vital statistical information which can then be used by Government bodies such as the Department for Transport.

In September 2016, the Metropolitan Police switched to a new reporting system – Case Overview Preparation Application (“COPA”) – and together, both reporting mechanisms now have the ability to record the types of injuries suffered by casualties, as opposed to just the severity (which are generally classified as being either “slight” or “serious”).

Of course, simply attempting to categorise injuries resulting from a road traffic incident can, at best, become quite ambiguous and certainly open to much interpretation from those attempting to analyse the data. For this reason, both the CRASH and COPA systems automatically convert the injury type into a severity classification; thus eliminating the need for an individual police officer – or another professional who might attend the scene – to make their own personal judgment as to which category it should fall into. This also helps when it comes to claiming for an accident in a vehicle.

In terms of consistency then, this can only be a very positive step forwards and, overall, should certainly result in much more accurate data being made available to both Government agencies and the public alike. If you have been knocked over while crossing the road by a vehicle and would like advice on whether you can claim, then contact us today.

What are the classification types?

Under the two reporting systems there are essentially five different categories, namely:

  1. Fatalities
  2. Very serious
  3. Moderately serious
  4. Less serious
  5. Slight

We will now explore each category in more detail.


As we’ve already seen, the statistics from Brake show that there were 1,730 people killed on the UK’s roads during 2015. This number doesn’t seem to be reducing. Evidenced by the Statistical Release published by the Department for Transport on 8 February 2018 shows this figure fell to 1,720 in the year ending September 2017; which, in essence, wasn’t statistically different from the previous year.

Very serious injuries

This particular category deals with injuries which include the following:

  • Broken neck or back
  • Severe head injury and/or unconsciousness
  • Severe chest injury and/or difficulty breathing
  • Internal injuries
  • Multiple severe injuries with unconsciousness

Suffice it to say, any injuries sustained within this category certainly have the potential to be either life-threatening or life-changing.

Moderately serious injuries

As with “very serious injuries”, moderately serious injuries also fall within the overall severity classification of being a serious injury. Injuries of this nature include:

  • Loss of arm or leg (or part)
  • Fractured pelvis or upper leg
  • Another chest injury (excluding bruising to the chest area)
  • Deep penetrating wound
  • Multiple severe injuries, albeit whilst remaining conscious

Of these injuries then, some certainly have the potential to be life changing – particularly the ones which involve the loss of limbs.

Less serious injuries

Whilst “less serious injuries” still fall under the overall severity classification of being a serious injury, they are (as the name suggests) much less serious and certainly not life changing. Indeed, the publication on Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain reports these as being:

  • Fractured lower leg, ankle or foot
  • Fractured arm, collarbone or hand
  • Deep cuts and/or lacerations
  • Another head injury

Consequently, these tend to be much less serious in nature and with much shorter recovery periods; often not necessitating any length of stay in the hospital beyond the initial treatment in A&E or at the roadside by attending paramedics.

Slight injuries

Slight injuries are fairly common in any type of road traffic collision and typically include some or all of the following:

  • Whiplash or neck pain
  • Shallow cuts, lacerations or abrasions
  • Sprains and strains
  • Bruising
  • Shock

Most slight injuries are capable of being treated at the scene, without the need to attend hospital. Shock usually occurs when the body’s organs and tissues don’t receive enough blood, thus causing an imbalance of oxygen and a build-up of waste products which can then cause damage to the organs.

What happens after a car accident?

If the emergency services have been called to the scene of your car accident, then you’ll usually be given an immediate medical assessment in the ambulance (or in your vehicle if the accident is particularly serious).

Whether you’re admitted to hospital or not depends on your condition and whether you’ve gone into shock. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to identify psychological shock and this may take some time to manifest itself. If this happens, then you’re well advised to either see your own GP or attend your local A&E department for further advice.

As can be seen from this article, there are numerous types of injury which can be caused as a result of a car accident and these vary quite significantly in terms of their ultimate impact on the person concerned.

Of course, any car accident will also encompass certain other concerns – such as damage to the vehicle itself, potential claims against the person responsible for the accident and any specific loss or damage suffered as a direct result of it. For this reason, anyone involved in a car accident – no matter how minor it might seem at the time – is certainly well advised to seek independent legal advice and ultimately claim back any associated losses.