Can a Low-Speed Car Accident Lead to Serious Injuries?

Can a Low-Speed Car Accident Lead to Serious Injuries?When people think of car accidents, they often imagine the worst-possible scenarios. Some may envision trucks rolled over or set on fire. Others may envision the front of motor vehicles totally destroyed and smashed into pieces. Very rarely do we think about the small, annoying car accidents that may not be as dire, but still cause a significant amount of damage to our vehicles and our bodies.

A “fender bender” accident is not as sensational as, say, a car flipped upside down. However, the very term “fender bender” means the impact was severe enough to crush part of the car. The physical impact that a driver and a passenger can experience in a car accident, whether the accident is a high-speed or low-speed car accident, is serious. A low-speed car accident can cause as much physical harm to drivers as a high-speed car accident.

What are some examples of low-speed car accidents?

Many experts characterize a low-speed car accident as an accident that occurs when the vehicles involved are traveling at a rate of 25 miles per hour or lower. A majority of low-speed car accidents occur in places like parking lots, churches, school zones, or residential streets.

Even though the vehicles are traveling at a slower rate, it does not diminish the life-altering impact that car accidents create for victims. Victims of low-speed car accidents are still at risk of suffering from severe injuries. After all, this is how fast 25mph actually is.

Do low-speed car accidents create serious injuries?

Absolutely. Low-speed car accidents can still cause serious injuries for drivers and passengers. A car accident that results from a driver striking another driver as they exit out of a parking spot, for example, can cause the driver and passenger to experience a severe neck injury. In fact, some of the more common injuries that stem from low-speed car accidents involve the neck, back, and cervical injuries.

In some cases, drivers and passengers may experience neck and back injuries that require surgery. Do not be fooled by the limited amount of physical damage that the car sustained. Drivers and passengers are capable of suffering severe injuries from low-speed car accidents.

Why do low-speed car accidents cause serious injuries for drivers and passengers?

Although the amount of physical damage done to a vehicle is minimal in a low-speed car accident, the way a person’s body reacts to the sudden acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle results in a significant amount of pain. During a low-speed car accident, a person’s head accelerates at a faster rate than the vehicle. This is because once the vehicle is struck, a person’s neck enters a state of hyperextension. The impact from the vehicle causes the seat to push the person’s midsection forward while their head and neck fall back. As a result, the head and neck enter hyperflexion in an attempt to recover.

Why are low-speed accident injuries difficult to diagnose?

What makes injuries sustained from low-speed car accidents more difficult for drivers and passengers is that the injuries may not present with symptoms right away. In some situations, drivers and passengers may not recognize the symptoms of their injuries until weeks after the accident.

When it comes to neck injuries, for example, a driver or passenger can experience more than just soreness. The neck injury can cause a herniated disk in the cervical area, which can graduate into arm pain and numbness. Even a mild form of whiplash can cause severe pain for a driver or passenger.

Other injuries caused by low-speed car accidents

Drivers and passengers may experience injuries in the lumbar spine area. Individuals can experience swelling and limited mobility in the lumbar spine area when the muscles and tendons are strained. Other common injuries that drivers and passengers experience is herniated disks and nerve damage. The tendons, ligaments, and nerves in the neck, back, and shoulders are at risk of becoming torn. In some extreme cases, drivers and passengers can experience permanent paralysis.

How to fight the claims made by insurance companies

Because drivers or passengers do not immediately experience the severity of their injuries from a low-speed car accident, insurance companies will try to argue that the person’s injuries are not as serious as they claim. To argue this claim, insurance agencies will use the lack of physical damage to the vehicle as justification that the accident was not as severe as the claimant is alleging. If a claimant failed to seek immediate medical attention, insurance agencies will use that fact against the claimant as well.

The best action that a victim of a low-speed car accident can take is to seek immediate medical attention, whether the person believes medical treatment is necessary or not, and to keep following up with doctors in the weeks after the wreck. The best way to prove the claims of the insurance agencies wrong is with undeniable proof of an injury, and these appointments show that you are taking the doctor’s order seriously.

You should also document what injuries you have through video and photos. Bruising and lacerations will fade, so you want to have photo evidence. It may help to keep a journal, too, of what you are experiencing, because memories fade over time.

Victims of low-speed car accidents also want to avoid accepting the insurance agency’s settlement offer. Agreeing to the insurance agency’s offer absolves the insurance agency of any liability in the future. This can present a problem if a victim’s injuries become worse over time. This is why working with a St. Louis car accident lawyer from the start is so important. You want someone who knows how to negotiate a settlement so you don’t end up with less than you need or deserve.

At The Hayden Law Firm, we pair big-firm resources with small-firm personalized attention to meet your needs and concerns. We take on the insurance companies so you don’t have to, working to secure fair and just compensation for your injuries. Please call our offices at 314-480-3100 or fill out our contact form for a free, no-risk consultation. We proudly serve clients in St. Louis, and throughout Missouri and Illinois.