Contrary to popular belief, low-speed car accidents that cause little or no vehicle damage often result in serious injuries for drivers and occupants.
In fact, in a study of low-impact collisions, the Society of Automotive Engineers found that 29 percent of people suffered neck injuries after their cars were hit from behind at a speed of just 2.5 miles per hour. The injury rate rose to 38 percent for collisions at five miles per hour. Notably, none of the crashes resulted in vehicle damage.
What Is a Soft-Tissue Injury?
Even when they do not result in vehicle damage, low-impact collisions often cause drivers and passengers to suffer soft-tissue injuries — damage to body tissues other than bone, such as muscles, cartilage, nerves, ligaments or tendons.
Soft-tissue injuries occur when a low-speed collision jerks a vehicle’s occupants back and forth causing tissues to be stretched or torn. In the head and neck, this type of injury is commonly known as whiplash. Other body parts can be affected as well, resulting in organ and nerve damage, sprains or even brain injury. Symptoms of whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries may include:
- Muscle soreness or stiffness
- Blurry vision
- Bruising, numbness or tingling
- Nausea or vertigo
- Nervousness, irritability or inability to concentrate
Proving Soft Tissue Injuries
Unfortunately, soft-tissue injuries are often hard to prove. This can make it difficult for someone who has been injured in a car accident to obtain much-needed compensation from an insurance company or at-fault driver. The biggest obstacle to proving soft-tissue injuries is a lack of objective medical evidence, since damage to soft tissues may not be verifiable with standard diagnostic tools like X-rays or CT scans. Especially when a claim arises from a low-speed accident that caused no visible vehicle damage, insurance companies or defense attorneys may suggest that an injured person is exaggerating his or her symptoms. In addition, many soft-tissue injuries do not become apparent until days or weeks after an accident, making them still more difficult to prove.
The good news is that, while proving soft-tissue injuries can indeed be difficult, it is by no means impossible. If you have been in a car accident, however minor, see your doctor first to make sure that you receive the medical care you need. Then, if you are suffering symptoms of a soft-tissue injury, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer like those at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, to learn more about seeking compensation for your injuries. Visit us at www.sgglaw.com.