Can a Low-Speed Car Accident Lead to Serious Injuries?

Can a Low-Speed Car Accident Lead to Serious Injuries? Fender-benders and other low-speed car crashes can cause permanent injuries, substantial financial loss, and unbearable pain and suffering. Rear-end collisions, sideswipes, head-on crashes, and broadsides can change your life forever. There are many physical factors that determine the severity of an accident, such as the size of your car compared to other cars, and the speed of your car relative to the vehicle that strikes you. Your position in the car and whether your safety devices work can also make a seemingly minor crash into a catastrophic one.

At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we are seasoned trial lawyers. We work with investigators to determine how accidents occur, who is responsible, and what caused the accident. We diligently work to hold liable drivers accountable for financial and personal losses We’re ready to try your case before a Missouri or Kansas jury when insurance adjusters claim your injuries are not serious enough for fair compensation.

How do low-speed accidents cause severe injury?

Cars that are each traveling 15 mph are actually traveling 30 mph an hour in velocity if they are traveling in opposite directions, as happens with head-on crashes. When a car hits the side of your vehicle during a passing or merging maneuver, your car can spin out of control, striking other cars that may be traveling at higher speeds.

Speed is just one factor in car accidents. Smaller and more lightweight vehicles can exert a lot of force on the driver and passengers if the car is struck by another, heavier vehicle. These days, many cars don’t have trunks, which means a rear-end crash can cause a major impact. Cars with lighter metals may not absorb forces the way sturdier vehicles can.

If the occupant of a car is not wearing a seatbelt, his/her head can strike the dashboard, steering column, or another occupant. Even when drivers and passengers are buckled in, a car traveling at a slow speed can cause significant injuries that require months to heal. Some occupants may suffer permanent injuries or live with chronic pain.

A car traveling just a few miles an hour that strikes a pedestrian or a bicycle rider can kill the pedestrian/bicyclist or cause severe injuries.

What types of injuries can happen in low-speed accidents?

The most common type of injury in low-speed rear-end collisions is whiplash.  According to the prestigious Mayo Clinic, “whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” While many people do recover from a whiplash injury following a relatively short-term treatment plan, some car accident victims may live with chronic pain.

Whiplash treatment includes:

  • Examining the patient. Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, a stiff neck, loss of neck motion, headaches, tingling or numbness in the arm, dizziness, pain with neck movement, and fatigue. The risk of complications increases if the victim is older, experienced whiplash before, or has current neck or lower back pain.
  • Diagnostic testing. Examination tests include X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and physical examination tests. These can include range of motion tests and tests to examine the strength, reflexes, and sensations in your limbs.
  • Treatments for a whiplash injury include rest, heat or cold, over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and muscle relaxants. In some cases, a patient may need an injection of lidocaine (Xylocaine) — a numbing medicine.

It may take days for a victim to notice he/she has whiplash. Some of the many other types of injuries anyone can suffer, even in a low-speed crash, are:

  • Neck pain, back pain, and/or shoulder pain
  • Ligament damage
  • Soft-tissue injuries
  • Muscle damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Cuts, bruises, and sprains
  • Knee injuries
  • Head trauma
  • Herniated discs
  • Fractures
  • TMJ

All of these injuries and others can be severe, especially if the victim was not in the best of health to start, or if the injury happens at just the wrong angle or spot on the body.

Why do low-impact accidents happen?

Many low-speed car accidents are due to one or more of the following causes:

  • Driver distraction. A driver who is texting while driving, talking on their cellphone, eating, smoking, or drinking doesn’t have both hands on the steering wheel and his/her mind on traffic. That’s why many distracted drivers rear-end a car in front of them.
  • Driver intoxication. Drunk or drugged drivers often cause severe accidents even when they are traveling at low speeds.
  • Driver fatigue. Tired drivers or stressed-out drivers don’t anticipate dangers and don’t respond to emergencies as quickly and accurately as drivers who are awake and alert.
  • Driver impatience. Many drivers may try to pass you if you are traveling at a low speed. Drivers who pass improperly (such as driving too close to you) or illegally (pass even though road markings indicate passing is not permissible) can cause preventable crashes.

Low-speed accidents may also be due to bad weather. If the road surface is oily and slick, even a driver traveling at a low speed can lose control of their vehicle.

Can low-speed accidents cause extensive car damage?

The answer is yes, in some cases. If a driver strikes your car head-on, then the damage to your car is likely to be very costly, even if you and the other driver were traveling at low speeds.

How extensive the damage to your car is depends on various factors, including:

  • What part of your car was struck. If both the side and rear are damaged, for example, it’s going to be a lot more expensive to fix your car than if just the side or just the rear were hit.
  • The type of car you own. A minor hit to a car only worth $1,000 won’t cost too much because, at worst, the cost to replace your car is just $1,000. However, even minor dents on a $40,000 car can cost a fortune.
  • How the accident happened. If your car rolls over, the fuel line ignites, or the accident is otherwise severe, your vehicle may be completely totaled.

Minor accidents can cause major problems. Never settle any car accident on your own because the insurance adjusters will not offer you what you truly deserve. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, our lawyers focus on all the small details such as your pain and suffering, your wage losses, your medical bills, and the cost to fix or replace your car before we discuss a settlement.

Many simple injuries may become chronic, causing a lifetime of pain. We know what your case is worth. We’ll fight for every dollar you deserve. To discuss your right to file a car accident lawsuit in Missouri or Kansas, call us directly at (816) 471-5111 or complete our contact form to arrange to speak with our seasoned personal injury lawyers.