“Does Having a Minor Car Accident Mean…
You Have a ‘Minor’ Personal Injury?”
If you are involved in truck or car accident that causes you injury, your vehicle probably has suffered damage as well.
But auto accident victims can do themselves a serious disservice by thinking that their personal injury claim and their vehicle’s collision damage claim are the same thing.
Worse, they undermine their chances of getting fair compensation by responding immediately to insurance companies and downplaying the damage that their vehicle has received or more importantly, the injuries they may have personally suffered.
Don’t be fooled: what may appear as minor property damage to your vehicle does NOT mean you have experienced a “minor accident” or that you won’t suffer long-term consequences due to an injury caused by that crash.
Minor property damage to your vehicle is not a sign of lack of severity of an injury to your body.
Experts tell us that the force felt on the human body can be 6-10 times greater than the traveling speed of the vehicle at the time of collision.
This means that even if your car hits a stationary object going just 10 mph, the effect on your body can be the equivalent of moving at speeds somewhere between 60 to 100 mph.
These type of injuries sustained to the body, are not just effects of slamming your back into the seat or your face into the steering wheel. Injuries can occur from the sudden back and forth movements of your organs, muscles and bones as your neck and spine move around violently.
Common Injuries from Car Crashes
Frequent crash-related injuries include:
Neck, back, and spinal injuries – Collisions can cause injures to the soft tissues in a person’s neck and back, especially the spinal discs that cushion the vertebrae. A herniated disc injury can trigger chronic debilitating lifelong pain.
Trauma to the neck, shoulders, and upper back is caused by the jerking motion that a person’s body makes when their vehicle is hit can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness in the arms, shoulders and neck, dizziness, headaches, and muscle spasms that can last for weeks, months, or even years.
Immediately after a crash you may not notice back pain because of the adrenaline pumping through you do to the stress of the accident, but if you find yourself realizing that you are in pain in the following days (or weeks) after an accident, you should immediately go see a medical professional.
Bone fractures – Collisions can also cause rib fractures when the seat belt or airbag restrains a person’s torso. Leg and foot fractures can also occur.
Drivers often suffer soft tissue injuries and broken bones in their arms, wrists, and hands when they try to brace themselves for the impact. Accident victims may also suffer facial injuries when their face impacts the steering wheel or other surfaces inside the vehicle.
You may think that pain after a “small” accident, one without much visible property damage to the vehicles, is normal or not that bad, but these injuries could be much worse than you initially think, and they could have long lasting effects on your everyday life.
Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries – The forces imparted on the head and neck in a collision can cause traumatic brain injuries when inertia causes the brain to slam into the skull.
Such injuries often occur even when you do not hit your head on anything. It’s the brain sloshing around in the skull and making contact that causes injury, and this can occur when the head and neck snap back and forth in a crash.
Head and brain injuries can also occur when an accident victim strikes their head on the steering wheel, side panel or window of the vehicle.
Brain injuries can go unnoticed if you are unaware of the symptoms so if you experience any of the following symptoms you may want to see a doctor:
- headaches (or trouble thinking),
- cognitive difficulties (brain fog),
- changes in behavior, or mood swings,
- sensory issues (changes in taste, vision, smell or hearing).
What Should You Do After an Car or Truck Accident?
Insurance companies collect premiums from every lawful driver in North Carolina under the promise to fairly compensate for injuries and damage to automobiles and human bodies.
Insurance companies have data that shows them how many actual bodily injuries can occur because of car crashes, and they calculate this information into the premiums, we all pay.
Shockingly, this does not elicit the kind of compassion and responsibility that one might expect from an institution that is legally obligated to protect its clients.
So if you are in a collision that is not your fault, you can expect the responsible party’s insurance company to waste no time in contacting you.
One reason for this is that it benefits the insurance company to give you as little possible time to understand your rights.
Because most doctors and lawyers will tell you that the information you can offer to an insurance agency BEFORE having seen a medical professional is unfounded and may in fact give that company ammunition against you when you seek compensation for your legitimate injuries and losses.
One of the worst things you can do, following any accident, is to fail to appreciate or understand the actual damage to your body, based on what to you might seem like a little thing due to the minor damages to your car.
So before you “over-share” or give out “too much information” to an insurance company representative, make sure that the truth … real facts and not an underestimated or overly-generous version of it … is what you are giving to them.
Of course, being honest is how we build relationships and survive as a society, and you should always strive for honesty. We all want to quickly and fairly resolve the issues that arise in a car crash, but fairness should be a two-way street.
So unless you are a doctor, an injury attorney or a mechanic and can understand the full effects of what has happened, seek the advice of an expert before you guess or share too much.
Why Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer?
Remember, the insurance company adjuster is a trained advocate for his/her employer. An experienced personal injury attorney is on your side and will help you evens the odds.
Don’t get trapped into juggling the medical bills for which the insurance company is morally and legally obligated to pay.
No one asks to be injured.
The last thing you need in the wake of a devastating car crash is to be stuck with someone else’s financial responsibilities simply because you tried to be too fair.
At Fisher Stark, we encourage our clients to take care of their bodies and minds, and we fight hard to make sure others do the same.
If you have been hurt in a car wreck, suffered a workplace injury, or were injured through the fault of another, please call or contact the attorneys at Fisher Stark for a FREE consultation to discover your options and to ensure that your rights are being protected.
We will work hard to get you the justice & fair compensation you deserve. Fisher Stark, P.A. is a highly respected personal injury law firm in Asheville, NC. We provide experienced legal help for clients in Asheville, NC, and all the communities in Western North Carolina. Collectively, our legal team – Perry Fisher and Brad Stark – have more than 50 years of trial practice and have participated in more than 1,000+ injury cases. Call 828-505-4300 for a free consultation.