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What Body Parts Are Hit First in a Collision?

Car crashes can cause severe injury due to the simple laws of physics—during an accident, energy is transferred from the vehicle to anything it hits, and the transfer of energy can injure people and damage property. Here are the first body parts that are affected by collisions, and what you should do to recover from any injuries you’ve sustained in a car accident.


The collarbone is one of the first body parts injured in a collision, mostly due to the seatbelt that (should be) snugly wrapped in front of it. Upon impact, the weight of your body can quickly press against the shoulder belt, resulting in collarbone injuries. The more severe the impact, the more likely you are to experience a rib injury, too. Ribs can break from the impact, especially during a high-speed crash. Remember that the ribs protect the lungs, so when the ribs break, the chances of a lung collapsing increase dramatically.

Head Trauma

Immediately after a car crash, the head and body keep moving at the same speed as they were before impact, even though the vehicle has come to an immediate stop. The movement of your head only stops when it contacts another object, like an airbag, dashboard, windshield, or anything else in the car. The following head injuries are common after a collision:

  • Concussion
  • Contusions
  • Intracranial hemorrhages
  • Skull fractures
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Whiplash and Neck Injuries

Whiplash and other neck injuries are some of the most common injuries, even in minor collisions. If you’re in a rear-end collision you’re especially at risk of whiplash from the back-and-forth movement of your neck. 

Broken Bones and Fractures

Arms and legs are typically less protected from movement than most other parts of the body during a car accident. Your limbs are more likely to contact more interior surfaces, which can cause anything from bruises to broken bones, cuts to fractures. While the pain and recovery from these injuries varies depending on the severity of the break and the location, pelvic fractures are among the most severe, often requiring surgery and rehabilitation.

Internal Organ Injuries

Like your head and neck, your internal organs continue in their path of travel immediately after an impact, and your abdomen will be forced forward at your vehicle’s speed during the collision. The impact can bruise or rupture internal organs, including those in the abdomen and the heart.


In many cases, the full weight of a collision is felt long after the physical symptoms have healed. Many people who’ve been injured in a car accident experience some form of PTSD, a mental health condition that can impact your overall quality of life.

Your Partners in Accident Recovery

Impact Medical Group of St. Petersburg treats all of the injuries you can experience after a car accident, including providing emotional support to help you deal with the trauma. If you’ve been in a car accident, don’t wait to seek medical treatment—even if the collision is minor. The sooner you’re treated for any injury, the sooner you can make a full recovery. Call us today at (727) 722-8103 to schedule your free consultation.