Statistics say that it has probably happened, or will happen, to you at least once in your lifetime. You are driving your car or are the passenger in a vehicle driven by another, and you are side-swiped or bumped in the back (of the car) by another vehicle. Maybe the driver in front of you stopped abruptly and the car you are in taps the vehicle in front of you. These low-impact collisions or “fender benders” usually do not phase us, and we often do not report them because we know the damage is less than our car insurance deductible and we do not want our rates to increase.
But low-impact does not necessarily mean low-damage or no (bodily) injury. Even the slightest bump to your vehicle can cause serious injuries that may not be noticed until years down the line. For this reason, you should always document a fender bender, no matter how small the accident seems.
Due to the massive weight of cars, low-impact crashes have the ability to cause extensive damage to your head, neck and shoulders. At the time of the collision, your torso and lower body is thrown forward while your head is either pulled backward or jerked downward—depending on if you are wearing a seatbelt and how you wear it—creating tension or strain in your neck and shoulder area. Almost immediately, your lower body rebounds against your seatback and snaps your head forward (again). This is true at even very low rates of speed. As a result, you may suffer whiplash, soft tissue damage to your head, neck and shoulders caused by hyper-extension, and even damage to the cartilage in your spine.
These types of injuries can have lasting, if not lifelong, effects on your ability to move and perform work, and can cause a tremendous amount of pain. Likely, you will need to see a doctor and incur medical bills to help fix your injuries. And the worst part is, these injuries are not always noticeable right away. This is one of the top reasons why so many people fail to report fender benders, because they think damage to their vehicles and not damage to their bodies.
However, if you fail to report or document your low-impact collision, it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to receive compensation for your medical bills. This is because you will have no proof that the other driver was at fault or that you were even in an accident at all. This is particularly true if you do not have any third party witnesses who can verify the accident occurred.
Due to the significant bodily injury that can result from even low-impact car accidents, you should always report the incident and obtain proper documentation.
If you or a family member has been injured in a fender bender or any type of car accident, you need a skilled personal injury attorney on your side. Board Certified Personal Injury attorney Bryan Caulfield has years of experience in all personal injury matters and will fight for your rights to get you the compensation that you deserve. Call Bryan Caulfield today for a free consultation at (727) 460-1208.