Could I have an injury claim after a low-impact car crash in New Mexico?

Absolutely! A crash does not have to occur at high speed in order to cause an injury to the occupants of the vehicle. In fact, a low-speed crash can cause a debilitating injury that impacts your mobility and your ability to earn a living for years to come. How can a low-impact crash have such a big impact on your life? We explain here.

What Is a Low-Impact Crash?

Two Car Fender Bender Involving a Car and TruckA low-impact crash is one that occurs at a slow speed and in which the vehicles are not heavily damaged. Sometimes, people refer to these crashes as fender-benders because there might only be a dent in the fender rather than serious damage to the car. This kind of crash can occur:

  • In a parking lot. Fender-benders frequently happen in parking lots because cars are backing up and maneuvering in and out of parking spaces. The speed limit in a parking lot is usually 15 miles per hour, so most parking lot crashes occur at low speeds. However, given the awkward angles at which collisions often occur, vehicle damage and injury can result.
  • At an intersection. Because cars often slow down at intersections, collisions usually occur at low speeds unless someone is running a red light. At four-way stops, for example, everyone is starting from a standstill, so speeds cannot increase very much before two cars come in contact with each other in the intersection.
  • In a residential neighborhood. Given 25-mile-per-hour speed limits and people slowing to turn into driveways, residential crashes caused by inattention or negligence are often at lower speeds and cause less damage to vehicles.
  • In a school zone. Picking up or dropping off children in a school zone is done at very low speeds, but driver distraction or poor visibility can cause low-speed rear-end collisions in school parking lots and driveways.

Wherever your low-speed collision occurred, you should be aware that you could have been injured and should get medical attention if you have any symptoms of injury. Even if the driver who caused the crash was not going very fast, they could still be held responsible for your injuries if they were acting negligently.

Types of Low-Impact Injuries

When a car is hit by another car, the vehicles absorb some of the impact, but there can still be enough kinetic force to move the bodies inside the vehicle. In other words, the impact of the crash can force the body of a person in the car to move forward, snap back and forth, or be thrown to the side. If the person comes in contact with an object such as the steering wheel, door, or dashboard, they could suffer serious injuries. Regardless of whether these actions occur in slow motion or not, a victim could suffer:

  • Neck and back injuries. The most common low-impact injury is probably whiplash. Although it is often dismissed as a made-up injury, whiplash can cause chronic pain and debilitation. When the neck is forced back and forth in a crash, the tendons and ligaments are stretched beyond their capacity and do not easily return to normal.
  • Blunt force trauma. If a body part hits a hard surface, the force can cause broken bones, bruised tissue, sprains, and strains. Depending on which part of the body is impacted, the injury could be painful and prevent you from working.
  • Concussion. If the head hits the steering wheel, dashboard, or side window, the brain can be shaken up within the skull, causing a concussion. Even without a physical impact, the brain can be tossed around and bruised. Concussions can range from minor to severe.
  • Cuts and lacerations. If any glass is broken in the crash, vehicle occupants could suffer multiple cuts and lacerations, opening up the possibility of infection and requiring stitches.

It Doesn’t Matter If the Car Is Damaged or Not

You might feel silly complaining about an injury after a low-speed crash, but you shouldn’t. Even if the car is barely dented, you could be seriously hurt and deserve compensation from the negligent driver who caused the crash. Don’t rely on other people’s opinions about what you should do. If you are struggling with an injury after a low-impact crash, contact Keller & Keller in Albuquerque for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case. If we think we can add value to your claim, we will tell you how.

 

James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller