Car crashes claim the lives of thousands of Americans every year, leaving many people to believe that the worst accidents are fatal. Obviously, any crash that claims life is a tragedy, but that doesn’t mean that non-fatal accidents are less concerning. In fact, far more people suffer life-altering injuries than fatal ones in car crashes every year.

Crashes can leave people with injuries that prevent them from ever going back to work and may leave them dependent on the care of other people for the rest of their lives. The following five injuries are among the most severe that someone could suffer in a car crash.

Spinal cord injury

Most people innately fear spinal cord injuries. The idea of losing function and feeling in part of their body is frightening. Spinal cord injuries vary in severity. The higher on the spine the injury site is, the more of the body that is affected.

Many people with spinal cord injuries will require ongoing medical care, accessibility accommodations and possibly even skilled nursing support. Recovery is possible in cases with partial injuries, but fully severed spinal cords will never heal.

Traumatic brain injury

Your brain manages everything, from the rate at which you breathe to how you process different smells and what memories they recall. Severe brain injuries can affect your motor function, cognition, memory and even your personality. Brain injuries may necessitate round-the-clock care or even life support.

Amputation

Violent collisions, especially those involving high speeds or large commercial vehicles, could easily result in injuries that remove a limb or extremity. Other times, cutting, tearing or crushing injuries from a crash force doctors to remove a body part later. Amputations have a host of medical consequences and can impact everything from someone’s quality of life to their earning potential.

Severe fracture

Not all broken bones are easy to heal. Compound fractures could lead to severe blood loss and infections, while spiral fractures may require surgery and continued pain management. Fractures can take months for someone to heal from and can sometimes lead to permanent debilitating conditions.

Internal bleeding

Internal bleeding isn’t always obvious when it first happened. Whether you have bleeding on the brain or bleeding into your abdominal cavity, those who suffered blunt-force trauma and experience internal bleeding after a car crash could require hospitalization, blood transfusions and additional care to recover.

Anyone dealing with a severe medical condition after a crash will have to navigate insurance claims and possibly consider taking legal action against the driver who caused the crash and therefore the injury.