When you hear the term “car accident”, you picture a collision in your head. One car smashing into another, bits of glass and metal being thrown up. We can all conjure a car crash in our mind’s eye, but we often get them wrong because we only see the one collision.

Car accidents involve not one but three collisions. That isn’t to say that every car accident involves three separate crashes or vehicles. Even a single-car accident involves these three collisions. If you haven’t heard of the three collisions before then this article could change the way you think about car accidents going forward.

We’re going to be exploring the three collisions in order: vehicle, human, and internal. Every crash involves these three collisions to a degree. They represent an example of the basics of physics put into action. How serious each is going to be will depend on the speed and violence of the crash in question, so keep in mind that not all three collisions will be noticeable in every crash.

What Is the First Collision?

The first collision is that of the vehicle itself. Whether you strike another car, a telephone pole, or the ditch, the result is going to be the same on a physical level.

The first thing that is going to happen is that the vehicle suddenly decelerates as impact occurs. All that energy moving forward can’t just stop, however. It has to go somewhere. The most visual release of that energy is the destruction, the flipping of the vehicle, and all of the thetical elements that we consider to be part of a car crash.

This collision can cause serious damage to the vehicle, but the individual inside is not entirely protected. Despite the fact that modern car designs do have quite a few safety features, they are as of yet incapable of completely absorbing this energy and protecting those inside the vehicle.

Many people think that this first collision is the entire experience. However, a better way to think about it is to say that the first collision is what is happening outside of the vehicle.

What Is the Second Collision?

If the first collision is what happens on the outside of the vehicle then the second collision is what happens on the inside. This is the human collision. It is also where the most obvious injuries occur. However, to be absolutely clear, that is not to say that these are the worst injuries. Those are often reserved for the third collision, though the human collision can result in life-threatening injuries or even death.

Say you’re driving along at 50mph and get into an accident. We all understand that the car was moving 50mph but it’s easy to forget that means that we ourselves are also moving at that same speed. When the first collision happens, the vehicle is forced to stop. The same thing happens for us but it actually comes a second later because the second collision is a consequence of the first.

Injuries are extremely common at this point because the human body is tossed around by the kinetic energy. While a seatbelt will help to reduce the damage suffered this way, it is still easy to smash your head on the window or the steering wheel, to suffer from neck injuries like whiplash, or worse.

Those who get into an accident while not wearing a seatbelt can be thrown from the vehicle or tossed around inside of it. This increases the risk of damage but also the range of damage that could be expected.

In addition to the way that the human body reacts to the collision, there is also a danger presented by whatever objects were in the vehicle. While these objects are not human, they go through the same physical reaction that we do during the second collision. Tossed objects can strike and injure passengers, causing bruising, broken bones, lacerations, or worse.

What Is the Third Collision?

The third collision is what happens inside of the human body. When the vehicle comes to a stop it triggers the second collision. When the human body comes to a stop, the internal organs can then collide because the energy rockets through them. Thankfully, however, this is the last collision because there is nothing else deeper than our insides.

Yet this doesn’t mean this isn’t serious. In fact, the damage done here can often be truly brutal. Organs can slam into the skeleton or into each other. They can be moved with such force that they even tear and cause internal bleeding. The brain can slam against the skull to cause a concussion or even long-term brain damage. There is just far too much that can happen inside of us that is extremely deadly.

The worst part of this is that we often don’t recognize the damage we’ve suffered because it happened inside of us. It’s easy to discount the pain you feel as just the result of being tossed around. Yet doing so could mean you’re on your way to a preventable death.

Rather than try to ‘walk it off” following an accident, you should seek medical assistance. Moving around after an accident can make any internal damage much worse and what may have been treatable can easily become fatal. If you’ve ever seen a race car driver get into an accident, you’ll notice they stay in their seat until the medical team removes them. This is for this exact reason.

Following an accident, try to limit how much movement you make. Sit off to the side of the road and wait for an ambulance.

Should I Work With an Attorney After My Accident?

If you are the victim of a car accident then you may be able to recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit. Whether or not this is a viable option will depend on the circumstances of your accident. To learn if a personal injury lawsuit is a good idea, it’s recommended that you consult with an attorney.

They can advise you on the best course of action and help with the investigation. The only way to win a personal injury lawsuit is to present compelling evidence tied together with a clear argument that accounts for the unique elements of your case. An attorney can help you with each and every step of that process.