A car accident is a disaster that can give a victim injuries that may never fully heal, such as a traumatic brain injury or paralysis. While it is obvious that a high-speed or high-impact car accident can cause serious injuries, many people don’t realize that low-impact accidents can, as well. Even a collision referred to as a “fender bender” can give drivers and their passengers severe injuries. This is why it is critical not to talk about your injuries with an insurance company until you’ve seen a doctor.
If a car accident of any caliber exerts gravitational forces against a driver or vehicle passenger, the human body may not be able to withstand them – resulting in hard-tissue or soft-tissue injuries. A common example is a whiplash injury in a rear-end collision. A low-impact accident can still be enough to cause major injuries, including brain injuries, from the body being thrown around the car or from blunt-force trauma. For example, even a minor collision could break a window, resulting in lacerations. It could also trigger the airbag, which can cause bruising, facial injuries and skin irritation.
Pre-existing injuries and conditions can increase the odds of a low-impact crash resulting in serious injuries. A motor vehicle driver who already had a slipped disk in his or her back, for example, may suffer a more severe back injury in the low-impact crash than an ordinary driver would have. A rule known as the Eggshell Skull Doctrine states that a defendant must take a plaintiff as-is – meaning the defendant must pay for the plaintiff’s full injury, even if a pre-existing condition made things worse.
The advice given to car accident survivors is not to answer any questions about their injuries until they’ve been to a hospital or doctor; specifically, not to answer questions asked by an insurance company. This is because many car accidents, including low-impact accidents, inflict injuries that have hidden or delayed symptoms. You may not notice that you have bleeding in your brain from a head injury right away, for example, until enough time passes that it causes noticeable symptoms. Saying that you are not injured can make it more difficult to change your answer and recover financial compensation from an insurer if you discover injuries later.
Delayed injuries that a low-impact car accident could inflict include whiplash, back injuries, brain injuries, pulled muscles and nerve damage. If you get into a low-impact crash, such as a low-speed rear-end collision, do not assume that you are uninjured just because you initially feel fine. Your injury may have delayed symptoms, or your adrenaline may be masking the pain. When asked about your injuries, say that you cannot answer these questions until you’ve seen a doctor. Then, go to a hospital without delay.
Personal injury lawyers do not only represent victims with serious injuries. If a low-impact accident gave you minor injuries, you may still benefit from hiring a lawyer to represent you during the claims process. If the car accident gave you injuries that qualify as serious, however, such as injuries that will give you long-term symptoms, a disability, or permanent scarring or disfigurement, it is especially important to contact a car accident attorney in Dallas.
Without an attorney representing you during a serious injury claim, a car insurance company may take advantage of you in an attempt to save money on your payout. The insurer may claim that you could not possibly have suffered such a serious injury in a low-impact car accident, for example, or it may try to blame your injury on a pre-existing condition. An attorney can help you protect your rights and best interest during the claims process after a low-impact crash.