Minor Accidents Sometimes Result in Major Damages
Insurance companies often make the argument that minor, low speed “no damage” automobile accidents can’t result in serious injuries, but this is not necessarily true. During a collision, passengers are subject to a variety of conflicting forces, including abrupt acceleration, deceleration, and rotation.
The Anatomy of a Car Accident
When driving an automobile, you use kinetic energy to move the vehicle forward; when you want to stop, you apply the brakes to get rid of that energy. However, when a motor vehicle crash causes your car to stop suddenly, the car and your body absorb the energy that would otherwise have been absorbed by the brakes. Because only so much can be absorbed, the force will likely cause injury to your car and, more important, to your body.
Every car accident is unique, and the injuries that result will depend on various factors, such as:
- The weight and size of the vehicles involved
- The type of collision — rear-ender, T-bone, or head-on, for example
- The speed of the vehicles
- Seatbelt use
- The age, weight, and gender of those involved
- Whether the injured parties had pre-existing medical conditions that were aggravated
- Airbag deployment
While a severe impact may cause catastrophic injuries, depending on these factors, a minor accident can lead to major injuries rather quickly as well.
Types of Injuries Common in Minor Accidents
Injuries that might appear minor immediately after a crash can quickly become serious. Some types of injuries common to “fender bender” collisions include:
- Spinal cord injuries that may result in a lack of sensation
- Whiplash, one of the most common injuries caused by minor collisions
- Soft tissue damage to a muscle, ligament, or tendon that is often not easy to see or diagnose
- Concussion symptoms, including severe headaches
- Sprains in the lumbar region due to excessive force on the back
- Disc herniation, pinched nerves, or slipped discs due to the trauma directed to the discs that separate the vertebrae
- Carpal tunnel syndrome from grasping or striking the steering wheel
- Shoulder injuries, including severe bruising, straining, or tearing of the shoulder ligaments
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) injuries resulting from intense trauma to the jaw
- Knee injuries that occur when someone is thrown forward and strikes their knees on the dashboard
- Discogenic back and neck pain
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can cause long-term damage to how the brain functions
While a car made of steel may sustain little or no damage in a minor collision with another vehicle, the human beings involved are often not so lucky. This is why even if the vehicle survived an accident with nary a scratch, those involved in the accident should always get medical attention as soon as they can, even if they don’t think they suffered an injury. Many latent injuries can take days, weeks, or even months to manifest, and prompt treatment to diagnose them and prevent further damage is vital.
If you sustained serious injuries in a seemingly minor accident, contact Colorado personal injury attorney Daniel R. Rosen to discuss your legal options.