Fender benders and similar minor car accidents that typically happen at low speeds can still cause injuries to drivers and passengers. There are many different kinds of injuries that can be caused by low-impact, low-speed car crashes. Many of these injuries require ongoing medical attention or can be difficult to heal and recover from, such as spinal injuries and concussions.
In all of these situations, medical costs can become exorbitant and can be exacerbated by the failure of at-fault drivers to take responsibility as well as insurance company delays. When considered alongside other costs such as vehicle repair or replacement and time away from work, even seemingly minor car crashes can be very expensive.
Many lawsuits and insurance claims, such as those handled by Lawboss, occur because of these seemingly minor car accidents. Some common injuries caused by fender benders include:
Whiplash and Other Neck Problems
Whiplash is a neck injury that can occur when the head is suddenly jerked forward and backward. It can cause pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion in the neck. This often happens in car crashes such as rear-end collisions. Even mild accidents and fender benders can cause neck injuries, especially in children. Airbags can also cause neck injuries such as whiplash or cervical strain. These injuries can occur when the airbag inflates and hits the head, driving it backward violently. Having properly positioned headrests and sitting as far from the airbag as possible, as well as wearing a seatbelt at all times can help to prevent neck injuries.
Back injuries such as sprains and strains can occur from the impact of a fender bender. These injuries can cause pain and limited mobility, and sometimes require long periods of healing or medical treatment.
In more severe accidents, injuries to the spine can occur, such as herniated discs, fractured vertebrae, or spinal cord injuries. These types of problems often involve months of medical treatment even for more minor injuries, including surgery, physical therapy, pain treatment, and alternative therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments.
Even in a minor fender bender, people can receive head injuries when they are jolted forward or hit by an object in the car. This often results in a concussion or other head injury. A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can be a serious medical situation, requiring careful monitoring and treatment. TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage, and symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, confusion, memory loss, and changes in mood or behavior.
Airbags and flying objects can cause facial injuries such as cuts, bruises, and abrasions. In more serious cases, they can even fracture the bones in the face or cause damage to the teeth. These types of injuries often take less time to recover from compared with brain injuries, however, they can still be severe in some cases. Treatment usually involves emergency care such as cleaning and closing wounds. A dental specialist may be needed if the teeth have been damaged.
Soft Tissue Wounds
Soft tissue injuries such as bruises and cuts are common in fender benders and other low-impact crashes. These injuries can be painful and take time to heal. Sometimes soft tissue injuries require ongoing medical attention in order to heal well, but in most cases, urgent care treatment with a few follow-up visits is all that is needed. In many cases, wounds such as mild cuts and bruises won’t require any medical treatment but they can take several weeks or longer before they are healed.
Being in a car accident can be a very traumatic experience, even if it is a relatively minor accident. The feeling of being out of control accompanied by fear and pain can cause people to experience anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For some people, this trauma can be healed through self-care while other people may be better able to heal if they receive treatment prescribed by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional, including medication and therapy. Occasionally PTSD is debilitating and accompanies other mental and physical health concerns.
Fractures and Broken Bones
Bones can be fractured or broken in car accidents, especially in crashes that occur at higher speeds. However, even low-speed accidents can cause broken bones, although this is more likely to happen to people who aren’t properly restrained or who are struck by a flying object in their car. Common bones to be broken in car accidents include the arms, legs, ribs, and skull, but other fractures can also occur. Internal injury and soft tissue injuries such as punctured lungs, bruising, and bleeding often accompany broken bones. Broken bones can take weeks or months to heal and sometimes require surgery. Physical therapy is often needed after an arm or leg bone has healed to help the injured limb return to its normal function.
Internal injuries can occur in car accidents, such as situations when organs are damaged or bleeding occurs inside the body. These injuries can be life-threatening and may not be immediately apparent, especially if the pain is unnoticed or masked by adrenaline or other injuries. Common internal injuries include damage to the liver or kidneys, as well as punctured or injured lungs. People who have experienced internal injuries, even mild injuries such as bleeding and bruising, often require medical attention and long periods of rest to heal. These injuries can be very painful and may also require surgery and hospitalization in severe cases.
No matter how seemingly minor or inconsequential a car accident seems, injury and ongoing health problems can occur. It is important for people who have been involved in an accident to be evaluated thoroughly by a medical practitioner, even if they don’t think they have been injured. Many internal injuries such as small fractures, punctured lungs, and deep tissue bruises aren’t immediately noticeable in the aftermath of an accident.