We’ve all seen the stereotype played out on tv and in movies. The scene depicts someone whose vehicle was lightly tapped by another. The occupant suffered no injury, yet the occupant reappears later wearing a massive neck brace and other badges of serious injury. The scene is often played for laughs based on the premise that a low-speed crash causing substantial harm is absurd. In the real world, low-speed crashes can, and often do, cause significant injuries. Just because your crash happened at a low speed and the vehicles suffered little damage, don’t be misled into believing that those facts alone preclude your obtaining compensation for the physical injuries you suffered. Instead, get in contact with an experienced San Mateo auto accident lawyer to find out what legal options exist for you.
Imagine you’re rear-ended by someone who was traveling at 8-10 mph when they hit you. Would you imagine that such a crash could cause an injury? If you think it couldn’t, then imagine running at full speed into a brick wall… without slowing down or doing anything to brace yourself. What would you think now?
The State of Florida did research and, in looking at low-speed accidents at or below 25 mph in 2019, found that these crashes caused 17 incapacitating injuries, 176 non-capacitating injuries, and nine fatalities.
Low Speeds Can Still Be Highly Dangerous
Even very low-speed impacts, especially when they are rear-enders, can cause a lot of harm. In a 6 mph rear-ender, the force your head experiences is 8.3 g, your chest 4.7 g. This substantial difference of 3.6 g is why rear-end accidents at any speed have the possibility of causing significant neck and spine injuries.
Take, for example, the case of a Riverside County homemaker who, in 2018, got rear-ended by a dump truck. (Riverside Superior Court Case No. RIC 1906219). The estimated speed of the crash was 3-5 mph. The woman declined medical treatment at the scene.
(As a quick aside, don’t let anyone convince you that your failure to seek medical care immediately after the crash automatically eliminates any chance you have of winning an injury lawsuit. Many people may not be aware of their injuries right away for various reasons, including the fact that many soft-tissue injuries do not cause pain for days or maybe even weeks after the accident.)
This woman first sought treatment a few days after the crash. After injections did not alleviate the woman’s lower back pain, she eventually required fusion surgery for two of the vertebrae in her cervical spine. Additionally, doctors believed the woman would possibly need a second fusion surgery in the future.
The defense offered $400,000 but the woman declined, as her legal team knew the woman’s damages far exceeded that. At the trial’s end, the jury awarded the woman $325,000 for her past and future medical expenses, along with $800,000 in non-economic damages. That’s a total of more than $1.1 million, even though the impact was far below 10 mph.
Whether your accident was a rear-end collision, a crash caused by a truck, or something completely different, it is something that, if it harmed you, likely upended your world. You probably are under considerable stress, racked with worry, and full of questions you don’t have answers to. To put those worries to rest and to get started getting what’s owed to you, get in touch with the skilled San Mateo rear-end accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our team of experienced attorneys is here to help you deal with these challenges and successfully navigate the legal process. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.
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