In a retrospective study, 376 paragliding accidents have been analysed. Leg injuries were most common, but a large number of spinal injuries also occurred. The causes were either misjudgement by the pilot or the influence of weather and terrain. Improvements in the instructor's knowledge and the pilot's training could have prevented most of the accidents. Analysis of the mechanisms of the crashes and the pattern of trauma help to produce an efficient approach to diagnosis and treatment.