Even if they occur at low impact, car accidents can be incredibly stressful, particularly if they cause injuries to the driver and/or passenger. Typically, people associate injuries from car accidents with high-impact crashes which also result in a written-off car, but even less serious and low-impact crashes can cause painful injuries which can take time to recover from and may even leave the injured party unable to work.
So, what are common low-impact car accident injuries and what symptoms should you look out for?
Whiplash is incredibly common among people who have been in car accidents. It occurs in instances where the head and neck make a sudden forward movement followed in rapid succession by a backward movement, which causes damage to the neck’s soft tissues.
Whiplash sufferers may experience headaches, pain and stiffness in the neck, dizziness, and in extreme cases, vision problems. Whiplash typically heals on its own but it can be treated with rest, an ice pack and physiotherapy. In severe, untreated cases it can result in long-term chronic pain.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury which is easily sustained in car accidents, even if they are low impact. A concussion occurs when the brain moves sharply inside the skull and can result in either temporary or permanent damage.
Symptoms of concussion can include confusion, dizziness, headaches and memory loss. Most concussions will heal on their own over time with rest, but more severe cases may require professional medical assistance.
Back injuries are commonly sustained in low-impact car accidents. Even the most minor collision can cause the spine to twist or compress in an unnatural way, which can leave a person with a strain, sprain or herniated disc.
Someone who receives a back injury in a low-impact car accident may experience pain, stiffness, and numbness not just in their back, but also radiating down the legs and/or arms. Treatment for back injuries may include physiotherapy, medication and sometimes even surgery.
Soft tissue injuries
Soft tissue injuries occur when the body’s soft tissues (muscles, ligaments and tendons) become stretched or torn as a result of body parts being distorted unnaturally. It is common to receive these types of injuries in a low-impact car accident and symptoms generally include pain and tenderness, swelling and bruising. Soft tissue injuries usually heal over time, but physiotherapy is often required to ensure full and painless movement can be achieved again. In very severe cases, surgery may be required to fix damaged soft tissue.
Making a claim for compensation after being injured in a low-impact car accident
You may feel fine immediately after a low-impact car accident, but it is important to note that injuries can take time to present, particularly if adrenaline brought on by the crash is masking the symptoms of the injury. It is prudent to seek medical attention as soon as possible after being in a car accident, even if it is low impact, so you can be checked over and to ensure there is an official record of your injuries in case you need to make a claim for compensation.
If you have been involved in a car accident and are suffering from one or more of the above injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. You should seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer with experience in car accident claims to talk through the accident, your injury and how it has affected your ability to work or maintain quality of life so they can help you to make your claim.