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The Surprisingly Big Impact of Low Impact Car Crashes

by  on  Car Accidents & Motor Vehicle Collisions

We all know that when car accidents in Denver occur between vehicles traveling at high speeds, the heavy impact often causes severe injuries. Unfortunately, many people assume that the opposite is true as well. Even many auto insurance companies presume that a low-impact collision is likely to result in few, if any, injuries.

Experience says otherwise. A low-impact car accident attorney in Denver knows that even when vehicles are not traveling at high speeds and do not hit with tremendous force, the impact can still cause serious injuries. Because these injuries are not always immediately apparent, anyone in a low-impact collision needs to receive a thorough medical exam as soon as practical after the accident.

When an Accident is Considered Low Impact

Accident attorneys, insurance companies, accident engineers, and medical professionals do not have a standard definition of a low-impact car crash. Speed is not always the defining factor because when two vehicles traveling at low speed collide head-on, the impact increases tremendously.

Often, however, low-impact accidents involve vehicles traveling at lower speeds, and vehicles may display little obvious damage. Low impact accidents are often referred to as “fender benders” because they seem so minor. However, a Denver low-impact car accident attorney knows the adrenaline of the incident can mask a variety of serious injuries, and even vehicles that can drive away may sustain severe damage.

Low-Impact Accident Situations

Many low-impact accidents occur in parking lots. When drivers are concerned with finding an empty space, they are less likely to focus on vehicles moving around them. In addition, the tight space constraints in many parking lots keep drivers’ speeds low, reducing the force of the impact.

Because lots are often privately-owned, drivers involved in these accidents are less likely to report the incident to the police. Unfortunately, this can make it more difficult to establish fault when assessing liability. If you are involved in a parking lot accident, a low-impact car accident lawyer knows it is especially crucial to take photographs and obtain contact information for anyone who may have seen or heard the accident.

Rear-end collisions are also often considered low-impact accidents. Frequently, one driver will slow down to approach a hazard or traffic signal at a different rate than the driver behind them. When both vehicles are traveling at reduced speed, in the same direction, and close together, the impact may not be as forceful as in other accident situations. As with parking lot accidents, if the vehicles are drivable, the drivers involved in this type of accident often do not wait for the police to arrive and take a report. They may also ignore signs of injury, particularly if they are trying to get out of the way of traffic.

Neck Injuries That Commonly Result from Low-Impact Collisions

Injuries to the neck and cervical spine are some of the most common in low-impact car crashes. Many people are familiar with whiplash but do not realize this injury can leave serious lasting effects.

Whiplash occurs when the victim’s neck is forced in a back and forth movement, much like the cracking of a whip. For instance, if one car hits another from behind, the driver and passengers in the car that was hit will have their torsos pushed forward by the impact while their necks and heads fall back in hyperextension. Then their necks and heads recoil forward in hyperflexion.

While whiplash may heal with treatment, a low-impact car accident attorney knows that some sufferers end up with chronic neck pain and other long-term complications. Symptoms may take time to develop. They may include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the neck, shoulder, and/or upper arm
  • Decreased range of motion in the neck
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms

Low impact car accidents can also cause victims to suffer a herniated cervical disc. This can cause leakage into the spinal canal or nerve root tunnel that impinges on the nerve root. Victims may also suffer cervical radiculopathy, which manifests as pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand.

Other Frequent Injuries from Low-Impact Car Crashes

While neck injuries may be the most common in low-impact accidents, victims also frequently suffer injuries to the lumbar spine, including the largest vertebrae. Back injuries of this type often restrict mobility and can make it impossible to function normally or return to work. If the accident exacerbates a pre-existing back injury, the effects can be devastating and increase in severity as time passes, leading to permanent disability.

Low-impact collisions can also result in injuries to the brain or internal organs. These injuries may not be apparent without a detailed medical exam, so it is wise for anyone involved in a collision to seek treatment from a doctor who can detect and document any hidden injuries.

Protect Yourself with the Help of a Low-Impact Car Accident Lawyer in Denver

You may feel “fine” after a low-impact car crash. However, that does not mean that you are fine. Only a doctor can make that determination. Moreover, even if the damage to your vehicle appears to be minimal, it may be impossible to know the extent of repairs that will be needed without a thorough review.

If you suffer injuries and property damage due to an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it is only fair for them to shoulder some of the burdens. However, you will need evidence to show the cause of the accident and the extent of the harm suffered. Take photos, get the names of witnesses, and write down your memories of the accident and your pain and injury symptoms. A low-impact car accident attorney could review the circumstances of your collision to determine whether you may be entitled to legal relief. For a free consultation and case evaluation, talk to the experienced team at Levine Law today.