The aggressive Delaware car accident attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman believe in your right to fair compensation when you have been the victim of a vehicle crash. We represent clients who have been injured in New Castle, Seaford, Wilmington, and Newark.
If you’ve ever been in an auto accident that left you with even minor injuries, you know you can take a bit of time to heal from it. A severely bruised knee from smashing against the dashboard or a pulled shoulder from your head being slightly turned on impact can mean months before you feel back to normal.
What are low-impact car accidents?
A low-impact auto accident happens at 10 miles per hour or less. To many people these can feel like not much more than a tap that jolts them a little and they typically leave little to no damage. Because these accidents feel so benign, drivers routinely just check their vehicles for dents, ask each other if they’re okay and once everyone says they’re fine, as is often the case, you’re all back on your way.
It could be within a day or a week that you begin to notice you’re having difficulty moving and you’re sore. If you were rear-ended, it’s very likely that you could experience whiplash to your neck or an injury to your lower back. You could even sustain bruising or damage to your chest or ribs due to wearing your seatbelt. Although seat belts are mandatory in Delaware and they save many lives, soft tissue injuries in auto accidents have increased by 21% since requiring them.
The insurance companies won’t play fair when you make a claim
In a 2012 publication by State Farm where they explain what to do and not to do when you’ve been in a car accident, the insurer states “Even low-impact collisions can cause injuries, some not appearing until days after the accident.”
When you become injured and need to file a claim for your injuries, the story changes because it’s not in the insurance carrier’s best interest to shell out more money even when they know you’re entitled to it. In other cases, they may try to quickly settle what appears to be a minor claim for vehicle damage before you or any passengers realize that you have injuries.
Taking other advice provided in the article will also help protect you from insurance companies taking advantage of the situation and escaping a more expensive claim. They advise you – in part – not to sign any documents. At some point you will need to sign a release and maybe even an authorization for towing or repair work, but give yourself some time to truly assess whether there are other injuries to consider before signing away your right to a settlement.
The article also advises you to file a police report, not only to help your insurance agent but also to document what happened to protect you in the event injuries surface days later. Especially for minor accidents that you easily walk away from in the moment and may seem like an accident report is unnecessary can prove invaluable down the road when your back suddenly has a twinge and your whole body feels jarred.
Timeframes for healing from injuries
The fact that it takes some injuries time to surface should be convincing enough to wait to settle a claim, but take a look at how long you could be suffering* once any of these injuries does appear:
- Concussions. These are a form of traumatic brain injury that can take weeks or even months of recovery time. In some cases, victims may develop post-concussion syndrome, even if the initial concussion was deemed minor.
- Whiplash. This injury can easily occur after a side or rear impact crash, and could take weeks to heal, or could lead to chronic neck pain. It can also lead to blurred vision, tinnitus, memory issues, and other permanent effects.
- “Minor” lower back injuries. Some lower back sprains and strains will take a few weeks to heal, but others can mask a serious injury to the spine or cervical discs.
- Seat belt bruises. These bruises may heal in weeks, but seat belts can also lead to internal organ damage or broken ribs.
- Psychological injuries. It’s very common for those involved in car accidents to develop a fear of being hit again, especially when other vehicles become closer than the driver is comfortable with. Some people are able to get past this in a short period of time while others never get over it.
*Note: these are general estimates. Some people will take much longer to recover based on any given variable, including the severity of the injury, underlying health conditions, length and type of treatment, etc.
The seasoned car accident attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman make sure the insurance companies treat Delaware injury victims fairly. We diligently work to build your case by documenting the facts along with your current injuries and need for future medical expenses. To schedule your free case evaluation in our New Castle, Seaford, Wilmington, or Newark office, call 302-888-2900, or reach out to us through our contact page.