If you are the victim of a rear-end collision, you may feel perfectly fine afterward, except perhaps for a stiff neck and jangled nerves. After exchanging insurance information with the driver who hit you, you might just go on home.
However, it is not unusual for victims of low-speed crashes to experience injuries that require immediate medical attention. Among these are back, lower limb and facial injuries.
Severe spinal injuries
Because of the manner in which people are angled into car seats, spinal injuries are among the most common results of rear-end crashes. For example, the impact causes the neck to snap back and forward. Hyperextension of this sort, which takes the neck out of its normal range of motion, may result in herniated cervical disks. A sudden jolt, even when the car that hits yours is traveling no faster than two or three miles per hour, can cause the spinal cord to fracture in places.
Lower limb fractures and breaks
The jolt, even from a vehicle that hits your car from behind at a rate of less than five miles per hour, can cause your passenger’s knees to smash into the hard dashboard. In fact, many fractures and breaks to bones in the knees, legs, ankles and feet occur as the result of a low-impact collision. There are many different kinds of broken bones, and while such injuries may not be life-threatening, some can result in permanent disability. Bones broken or crushed in multiple places often require surgery.
Head and face injuries
If you are the driver, a collision might cause your head to hit the steering wheel while your passenger's head connects with the dashboard or windshield. The impact can easily result in facial bruises and contusions, but the greater concern is concussion or even serious brain injury, which might mean a life-altering impairment.
Tying it all together
Opting for timely medical attention is key to your overall health both now and in the future. It is also important for generating a doctor's report that links your injuries directly to the rear-end collision. This will be critical when the time comes for you to seek financial compensation. A medical report will also confirm that you are not exaggerating your injuries when you file a claim.