Low Speed Car Accidents
You’re sitting in stop-and-go traffic, which can be a pretty common scenario anywhere in Chicago during rush hour. Every few minutes, you may get to move a few feet. Cars are bumper-to-bumper, and everyone is just hoping that the bottleneck will uncork and they can start moving at a reasonable speed.
Sometimes the person behind you might jump the gun a little and bump you in their eagerness to get moving. They weren’t moving very fast, and you don’t see any damage to your car or feel like you’re injured. You go ahead and trade insurance information, but you don’t really expect to have to make a claim. You may not even make an accident report because you don’t think it’s worth the time.
A few days later, the neck pain sets in, or your car starts making a funny noise that it never made before.
Even low-speed collisions can cause injury or property damage, especially if the other vehicle was bigger and heavier than yours. Often the harm isn’t readily apparent at the time of the collision, but emerges later.
Whiplash is the common term for the type of injury that happens when a person’s neck suddenly stretches beyond its normal length as the result of an impact. That hyperextension of the neck can result in muscle tears, spasms, neck pain or stiffness, back pain, disc herniation, nerve damage, and headaches. If not treated, the problems only tend to get worse with time.
Experts say that whiplash is actually more likely to happen in a low or moderate speed rear-end collisions than in high-speed crashes. A crash of 5 or 10 mph can injure a person, even though your car may not be damaged at that speed.
Proving Delayed Damage
When you’re injured or your car is damaged in a car wreck and you want to make a claim for compensation, it’s your responsibility to prove that you suffered harm that was caused by the other person’s negligent, reckless or intentional actions. But drawing that connection between the other driver’s actions and your injuries can be challenging when you don’t feel hurt until later.
If you feel OK at the time of the accident and refuse medical treatment, but then start to feel stiff and sore a couple of days later, you’ll need a doctor to document your injuries and rule out causes other than the accident. It’s also a good idea to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer who handles cases involving low-speed crashes and knows what kind of evidence you’ll need to support your claim.
How a Lawyer Can Help
A good personal injury attorney can hire an investigator to reconstruct the accident and find the details that prove what happened, including evidence that supports the negligence of the other driver, and that your injuries or damages were caused by the accident. Once the evidence is gathered, your lawyer will pull together the medical bills, accident reports, repair estimates, receipts, photos, witness testimony, and expert reports to make a demand for settlement from party or parties that bear legal responsibility to compensate you. Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf and try to get a settlement. If that’s not possible, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and make the argument in support of your claim to a judge or jury.