5 Steps to Take after a Low Impact Accident
Low speed car collisions which result in claims of neck pain or whiplash are a very common cause of litigation. In fact, according to the Department of Transportation, 80% of all car collisions occur at less than 20 miles per hour. Even though low speed accidents are not as catastrophic as other types of accidents, they can still cause injury to vehicle occupants. There is significant research indicating low-impact accidents can often lead to neck, shoulder, and back injuries. In some cases these injuries can be serious and can lead to significant levels of pain for the injured person
Unfortunately, even the term “whiplash,” has a negative connotation to many despite the fact it is a very valid injury. When there is little damage to the vehicles from the collision, insurance companies may seek to deny your claim of injury. They are often skeptical of injuries and often treat low impact accident victims harshly — offering them a “take it or leave it” low ball settlement.
If you are the victim of a low impact accident, there are a number of actions you must take immediately in order to protect your rights and your future. These steps include:
- Call 911: First and foremost, take care of your health. Remove yourself from any areas of danger, and call 911. Often, injuries from a low impact car accident are not immediately apparent. There is adrenaline pumping through your body because of the accident, and you may believe that you are uninjured. Soft-tissue injuries often manifest later–whether the next day, the next week, or even a month or more from the time of the accident. Whiplash, in particular, can worsen significantly over a period of days. Research has shown that “a single application of a whiplash acceleration pulse can induce soft tissue-related and ligament-related alterations to cervical spine structures.”
- Report Accident to Insurance Company: Report the accident to your insurance company and seek medical attention, especially if you begin to feel discomfort. Have follow-up tests done, particularly an MRI, as well as other physician-recommended medical tests. Keep a close watch on your health, and if you feel pain in any area of your body, see your doctor immediately. Keep meticulous records of your medical treatments, including any prescription or over-the counter drugs your doctor prescribes or recommends.
- Take Photos and Notes: If you are able, take photos and make notes of all aspects of your low impact collision. Identify the other driver and get their name, address, home and work phone numbers and the name of the registered owner of the vehicle. Swap insurance information. Identify any witnesses with all necessary contact information. Make notes of such things as the weather and road condition at the time of the accident as well as any other pertinent facts. These photos and notes can be crucial during a lawsuit, and can assist your attorney in preparing your case.
- Avoid Saying Too Much: It is normal to be emotional following a car collision; however, it is extremely important that you maintain your composure and do not say anything, which could be misconstrued. Even something as simple as saying, “Oh, I’m so sorry,” can be taken as an admission of guilt. With low impact accidents in particular, it is likely the insurance adjuster will scrutinize every single detail of your accident. Don’t give them anything that can later be used to deny your claim.
- Call an Attorney ASAP: At the earliest possible opportunity, call a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. You don’t know just yet how serious your soft-tissue injuries may be. In some cases, a low impact accident can cause problems for years–or even the rest of your life. You don’t want to be left with mountains of medical bills with no recourse for holding the negligent party responsible. An experienced personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are fully protected and that you receive an equitable settlement for your injuries.
Contact Miami Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, we can help. The Miami personal injury attorneys at the Dante Law Firm are ready to assist you and your family and help you recover the compensation you deserve. Even low impact car accidents can cause injury. We understand the complications that can arise after a low impact accident and work diligently to protect your rights to compensation.