It’s a common misconception that the severity of a crash always determines the severity of someone’s injuries. The truth is that many people are injured in low-speed crashes as well.
Scientists and researchers have found while there is a correlation between vehicle speed and occupant injury, there are multiple factors that can cause a car accident injury.
Car accidents are violent events, no matter how “minor” they may sound on paper. Even a standard rear-end accident can leave a person with injuries such as whiplash, herniated spinal discs, and a concussion.
When evaluating a personal injury claim, the insurance company will look at the summary about the wreck and the vehicle repair costs. Their adjusters may argue that your injuries aren’t that severe because the wreck doesn’t seem that serious.
Using the cost of vehicle repairs after an accident to determine how severe a person’s injuries are is wrong. Here’s why.
The Majority of Crash Injuries Are Internal
Most motor vehicle accident victims walk away from a crash relatively unscathed. In the shock of the moment, their injuries aren’t as apparent. Days or weeks later, the victim realizes their delayed pain and symptoms aren’t going away or maybe even getting worse.
Internal injuries can become debilitating if left untreated. Examples of the types of injuries one can suffer after a low-impact car crash include:
- Brain bleeds
- Bulging/herniated discs
- Excessive bruising/internal bleeding
- Hairline fractures
- Muscle and ligament sprains/strains
- Organ damage
All of these injuries can have a significant and long-term impact on a person’s life.
Vehicle Type Can Influence Crash Injury Severity
Not all crashes are equal. Even as vehicle safety features have evolved, so have certain types of automobiles.
Pick-up trucks and large SUVs have grown larger and heavier with higher front ends. When they strike another vehicle, especially smaller sedans and cars, the persons inside are subjected to greater force.
Size difference and impact protection are most noticeable when a vehicle is struck on the side (T-bone accident). While much has been done to improve motor vehicles’ ability to absorb damage on the front and back ends, less has been done to mitigate side impact damage.
So Many Other Factors Can Contribute to a Crash Injury
Only looking at vehicle damage and repair costs cuts out the many other factors at play in a crash. Factors that can influence the chances of sustaining an injury in a wreck include:
- Airbag deployment
- Impact location
- Lighting conditions
- Occupant age
- Occupant height and weight
- Occupant position in the vehicle
- Pre-crash avoidance maneuver
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Road surface conditions
- Seat belt usage
- Seat position
- Striking a secondary object after impact
- Vehicle age/weight
- Vehicle type
- Velocity on impact
- Weather conditions
One study found that when taking into consideration all accident injuries (not just those labeled “most severe”), 42% were considered compensable due to medical costs, lost wages, and reduced household contributions.
Insurance Companies Use Property Damage as an Excuse
Injuries can happen in crashes with little to no property damage. Yet insurance companies often try to use the post-accident state of a vehicle to deny injury claims in order to save money.
This is why it’s so important to have a medical evaluation done after any type of auto accident. The insurance company has a much more difficult time denying a personal injury claim if there is supporting evidence in the form of doctor’s notes and treatments.
You Know Your Pain Is Real
If you’re suffering pain after a crash, no matter how “minor”, and your injuries aren’t getting better, it’s time to get serious. The insurance may not be willing to listen to you — they just want to close out your claim and move on — but they have to listen to a lawyer.
We help people injured in an auto accident through no fault of their own and get the insurance companies to take their pain seriously. Contact our experienced personal injury lawyers to get the advocacy you need and the financial compensation you deserve.