Every now and then, you read a report in the news (or you hear someone tell a story) about a minor car accident. Maybe the person calls it a “fender-bender,” or maybe he or she says something like, “The truck got a little banged up, but no one was hurt.” A crash with no injuries is always good news, but just because someone calls your accident “minor” doesn’t mean that it is. After all, any collision with enough force to bend a fender is one that can cause concern.

Now, not every collision is catastrophic; that much is true. Not everyone who gets into a wreck ends up with spinal cord damage, or has to be pried out of the vehicle with the jaws of life. But a car accident that’s classified as minor can still cause injuries, and those injuries – even if they aren’t immediately life threatening – can still take a long time to heal.

Slow-speed accidents are dangerous, too

Most of the time when people say “minor” crash, what they really mean is that the vehicles weren’t moving all that fast. A low-speed collision, though, may still be enough to set off an airbag. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that “Frontal air bags are generally designed to deploy in ‘moderate to severe’ frontal or near-frontal crashes, which are defined as crashes that are equivalent to hitting a solid, fixed barrier at 8 to 14 mph or higher.” Eight miles an hour isn’t a lot of speed, but if it’s enough to set off an airbag, it’s a significant enough hit to do damage.

Common injuries in a low-speed collision

Low speed accident injuries can be a result of the airbag deploying or the seat belt tightening; they can also be caused by the other car physically hitting the side of your vehicle and crushing the door. There have been plenty of stories of people hitting wildlife and getting injured by hoofs or antlers, too, even if the vehicle wasn’t moving all that fast.

The most common injuries include:

  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Concussions
  • Crush injuries
  • Broken noses and facial fractures
  • Broken shoulders and collar bones
  • Damaged vertebrae (neck or spine)
  • Internal organ damage and/or internal bleeding
  • Nerve damage

Why you should seek medical attention after a crash at any speed

Some of the injuries above, like a broken shoulder, are usually visible immediately. With luck, they’ll heal up quickly and you won’t be left with any scars, or any lasting issues outside of the ability to detect weather changes in your joints.

Others, however, can lead to chronic pain and lasting health conditions.

  • Concussions, for example, are often called “mild” traumatic brain injuries – but any diagnosis that uses the words “brain” and “injury” should be taken very seriously. Some people develop post-concussion syndrome, which can last for months. It can leave you with memory loss, headaches, blurry vision, and other symptoms that make it impossible to work, or go to a store, or engage in day-to-day activities.
  • Damage to neck or spinal vertebrae is also a serious injury. You may require multiple surgeries to correct any damage, and lose mobility in your neck or back. You may experience long-term or permanent discomfort or pain when you sit down, stand up, bend down, or move in any of the ways you used to move.
  • Nerve damage may be hidden right after an accident, especially if there’s swelling around the injured area. It can also be permanent if it is left untreated, leaving you with numbness, tingling, or pain.

This is why it is so important that you get yourself checked out by a doctor as soon as you can after an accident, especially if you are feeling any pain, or having trouble with your concentration, balance, breathing, or memory. You could have suffered an injury that took a little time to present with symptoms. If you did, and that injury was caused by a negligent or reckless driver, you have legal options available to you. Larson Law Firm, PC can help you with those options. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys in Minot or Bismarck, please call 701-484-4878, or fill out our contact form.