Injuries From Fender Benders and Low-Speed Car Accidents
Even seemingly minor crashes can lead to significant injuries
Each year, over 200,000 individuals in Texas experience significant injuries because of car accidents. In 2022, this figure surged even higher, with 244,092 car accident injuries recorded in Texas, as reported by the Texas Department of Transportation (Texas DOT).
Notably, a substantial proportion of these injuries can be attributed to traffic collisions commonly referred to as "fender benders." Whether a low-speed rear-end accident on Texas Avenue or a crash within a construction zone on I-45, a single misstep by a reckless or aggressive driver can lead to painful and debilitating injuries.
In the aftermath of such accidents, individuals may suddenly find themselves dealing with conditions such as whiplash or other severe neck injuries, necessitating immediate medical attention at facilities like the Emergency Room at HCA Houston West or nearby hospitals.
Conversely, the onset of some injuries such as neck or back pain may be more gradual, taking several days or even weeks to fully manifest. Regardless of the timeline, obtaining prompt medical care is critical.
What constitutes a fender bender?
"Fender bender" is a generic term encompassing a broad spectrum of so-called minor car accidents. Fender benders are collisions involving two or more vehicles operating at low speeds, typically below 10 mph. Low-speed fender benders may involve various scenarios, including but not limited to:
- Rear-end collisions.
- Parking lot accidents.
- Crosswalk accidents.
- Collisions involving pedestrians.
- Four-way stop sign accidents.
- Intersection crashes, particularly those involving red light violations.
- Accidents within construction zones.
- School zone crashes.
- Lane change-related accidents.
- Merging collisions.
- Bicycle accidents.
In essence, a fender bender is a comprehensive term denoting a range of minor motor vehicle accidents characterized by their relatively low-speed nature. However, it's essential to recognize that these seemingly “minor” accidents frequently lead to severe injuries.
What are common fender bender injuries?
Injuries resulting from low-speed fender benders may include:
- Whiplash, a common yet frequently misunderstood injury associated with low-speed car accidents. Whiplash predominantly affects the neck muscles, resulting in pain and potentially severe consequences.
- Soft tissue injuries, often manifesting as muscle strains, sprains, and torn ligaments.
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
- Head injuries, which may involve facial lacerations and skull fractures.
- Back injuries, including strained or sprained back muscles.
- Fractured bones, with fractures potentially affecting the arms, hands, legs, and feet.
- Cuts and lacerations on various body parts, often occurring due to shattered glass or contact with the windshield during a collision.
These injuries collectively underscore the notion that low-speed fender benders can have far-reaching and serious health implications, contrary to their perceived minor nature.
Can a fender bender cause serious injury?
While the risk of fatal car accidents is relatively diminished at speeds below 10 mph, it's crucial to acknowledge that low-speed collisions often result in significant injuries.
For instance, a scientific study investigating the correlation between vehicle speed and injury severity revealed that half of all fatal pedestrian accidents involve individuals being struck by vehicles traveling at speeds below 30 mph.
Furthermore, statistics derived from low-speed accident data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) illustrate that even at 25 mph, more than 31 percent of pedestrians hit by a car suffer serious injuries, and over 4 percent face fatal consequences in low-speed pedestrian accidents.
Symptoms to watch for after a car accident
After a car accident, it's crucial to remain aware of potential signs of serious injuries, especially in low-speed collisions. These symptoms can manifest differently based on the nature of the injury but frequently include:
- Neck and shoulder pain.
- Back pain.
- Nausea and abdominal pain.
- Swelling, stiffness, or tenderness.
- Bruising and contusions.
- Numbness or tingling sensations.
- Changes in mood or behavior.
Should you go to a doctor after a fender bender?
Even if you don't feel any immediate pain or discomfort, seeking medical attention after a fender bender is essential because you may have sustained a significant injury without being aware of it. Some fender-bender injuries, especially concussions, may initially appear minor but can escalate if left untreated, leading to potential medical complications.
Furthermore, obtaining a professional medical diagnosis is vital not only for your well-being but also for documenting any potential injuries. Without a doctor's assessment and diagnosis, you may encounter challenges when dealing with insurance companies, as they could deny your injury claim due to a lack of evidence.
By undergoing a thorough medical examination, receiving an official diagnosis, and obtaining necessary medical care, you establish an official record of your fender-bender injury. This record can serve as invaluable evidence if you encounter resistance from an insurance company, ensuring that your car accident injury is properly documented and addressed.
Pursuing compensation for a car accident injury
It's crucial to understand that you have the right to seek financial compensation to cover all expenses related to your car accident injury, such as:
- Medical bills: This includes immediate medical treatment, surgeries, follow-up care, and ongoing rehabilitation.
- Lost income: If your injury forces you to take time off work or hinders your earning capacity in the future, you should be compensated for your lost income.
- Pain and suffering: Non-economic damages for physical pain, emotional distress, and the overall impact of the accident on your life.
- Long-term care: If your injury results in a permanent disability, you may require long-term care and assistance, which should be accounted for.
- Out-of-pocket expenses: Any additional costs directly related to your injury, such as transportation to medical appointments or home modifications.
- Future expenses: Anticipated medical expenses and ongoing treatment costs for chronic injuries resulting from the accident.
Every car accident case is unique, and the specific damages you can claim will depend on your accident's circumstances. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help you better understand your options and ensure you pursue the full compensation you deserve.
How a car accident lawyer can help
Fender benders and low-speed car accidents can easily become complicated legal cases in Texas.
Insurance companies may employ tactics to reduce liability, such as questioning injury severity, examining pre-existing conditions, shifting blame, making quick lowball settlements, requesting independent medical exams, delaying claims, or outright denial.
These tactics aim to minimize compensation for injured parties. As such, seeking legal representation is crucial to navigate these challenges and ensure fair compensation.
Our Houston car accident lawyers at Smith & Hassler have extensive experience dealing with insurance company tactics to reduce liability. We are committed to protecting your rights and pursuing the full compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation and let us help you navigate your car accident claim to secure the best possible outcome. You don't have to face the insurance companies alone; we're here to fight for your rights and look out for your best interests.
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