Some people believe that a minor car accident that results in minimal property damage could not produce a serious injury. But both medical and scientific studies disprove this theory, and in many cases, even if the vehicles were traveling at a very low rate of speed and the vehicles sustained little or no damage, this sort of low impact can still cause significant injury and pain.
Speed and Its Effect on Motor Vehicle Accidents
It may seem logical that the greater the speed and impact, the more serious the injuries sustained. But while this is sometimes true, it is not always the case. Even fender benders can produce extremely serious injuries, and should not be ignored.
When a crash involves vehicles that are traveling very slowly and little or no property damage occurs, victims can still suffer a variety of injuries, particularly whiplash and other neck injuries. Although automobile bumpers may be built to withstand up to a five mile-per-hour crash without damage, the reality is that when the bumper doesn’t crumble and absorb the force of the impact, the brunt of the crash is felt by the occupants, who are thrown forward with a violent jerking motion that causes crash victims’ necks to snap and backs to twist.
Injuries Often Show Up After the Fact
Injuries that seem minor in the first few days and weeks after an accident can turn out to be serious damages down the road. Some grave injuries that can occur after car crashes involving major as well as minor impact include:
- Whiplash, a neck injury arising from rapid back and forth movement of the neck
- Herniated discs, also known as slipped or ruptured disks
- Lower back and neck pain, from minor soft tissue injuries to serious nerve and spine complications
- Concussions, including closed head injuries
- Fractures of the spine occurring in the thoracic (midback) and lumbar spine (lower back)
- Lumbar radiculopathy, often secondary to compression or inflammation of a spinal nerve
- Carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes numbness, tingling, weakness or pain in the hands
- Traumatic brain injuries, the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S.
- Headaches ranging from mild to more severe, producing chronic or constant pain
- Facial injuries caused by impact with the steering wheel, dashboard, airbag, windshield, side window, car seats, or jagged, shattered glass
- TMJ disorder, including problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles
- Serious dental injuries, which are often overlooked in automobile accident compensation claims
- Short- and long-term emotional distress or post-traumatic stress disorder
Never Underestimate Your Injuries
If you’ve been in an auto accident, you need to focus on your body and how you feel, and seek medical attention as soon as possible. It’s very important that an individual exposed to impact as a result of a motor vehicle accident — no matter how insignificant the impact may seem to have been — be examined by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Image by Paul Sullivan