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How do low-impact and high-speed car crash injuries compare?

You likely see pictures and hear stories about the horrible results of high-speed vehicle accidents. Perhaps you even know someone who was the victim of such a crash and suffered serious injuries.

What you may not know is that a low-impact crash such as a rear-end collision, where one car strikes another while traveling at a speed of only two or three miles per hour, can also cause debilitating injuries.

What happens in a low-impact crash

Whereas in a high-speed crash the impact is sufficient to break the backs of seats, the seats normally remain intact in a low-impact rear-ender and the body absorbs the speed of the hit, resulting in hyperextension-hyperflexion. In other words, the neck snaps quickly back and forth, and the sudden jolt can cause trauma to the spine and damage to the soft tissue in the neck area.

Soft tissue injuries are the concern

Many times, severe injuries are very apparent in a high-speed crash, and medical personnel reporting to the scene may have to perform triage before removing victims to a hospital. Low-impact crash victims may walk away from a collision, but the concern here is the invisible injuries. There may be damage to ligaments, muscles or tendons. There may be herniated or bulging discs. The most serious consequence of a low-impact crash could be a traumatic brain injury. In short, a victim could have life-changing injuries as the result of a simple low-speed accident.

Steps to take

If you become the victim of a rear-end collision or some other kind of low-impact vehicle crash, seek medical attention at once, even if you feel fine afterward. Symptoms of soft tissue injuries include dizziness, numbness, nausea or headache, and you may not even feel any discomfort until days after the incident. Immediate medical attention is not only important for your health and future well-being, but it will also show the causal link between the harm you sustained and the accident. A medical report like this may make all the difference when you prepare to seek compensation for your injuries.