Two teens were involved in a rear-end collision outside of Seneca MO earlier this month. As Joplin car accident lawyers, many of our clients come to us after accidents just like the one that happened this past Saturday. The crash happened as Whitney N. Claycomb, 17, was stopped in traffic, waiting to make a left. Her 2003 Chevy Cavalier was rear-ended by a 2005 Ford Mustang driven by Brianna B. Easley, 18, of Exeter MO.
Easley was taken to Freeman West Hospital in Joplin for treatment of moderate injuries. However, the Highway Patrol's report indicated that Claycomb was not injured in the crash.
Rear-end collisions can have hidden consequences
We hear over and over again from our Joplin injury clients that they were unaware they had sustained any injuries at all at the time of a minor accident. Their symptoms showed up later. If you are rear-ended in a minor accident, such as the one reported above, it is tempting to want to get a settlement as quickly as possible from the other driver's insurance. After all, they were clearly at fault, and you need the money to have your vehicle repaired.
However, based on our experience, we recommend waiting to see if symptoms or pain do appear within a few days of the accident. During that time, do not give a recorded statement, sign any papers, or accept a "quick settlement offer" from the insurance company.
Rear end collisions are one of the most common causes of whiplash, a soft tissue neck injury which might take hours, days or even weeks to appear after the accident. It's easy to assume you have not been injured after a rear-end collision if the vehicle that hits you was going slowly, and you were wearing your seat belt. You might thank your lucky stars that the accident only dented your bumper, and you have escaped unscathed.
However, injuries from low speed rear end collisions are much more common and can be more serious than most people assume.
Low Speed Rear End Collision Myths:
• Minor damage to the vehicle also means negligible injury to the occupants. In fact, there is no relation to the speed at impact or the amount of damage to the vehicle and how severely someone may be injured. When it comes to necks, backs, and spines, minor injuries frequently get better with rest, but just as frequently deteriorate over time.
• The victim did not notice or mention pain at the scene of the accident, so if there was an injury, it must be minor. In fact, connective tissue injuries very often surface after a delay in symptoms. A 1995 study found that 21% of whiplash subjects did not appear to be injured at the scene of the rear end collision, but the symptoms did show up later, anywhere from 24 hours to a week after the accident.
• A high seat back guards against a whiplash injury. If properly positioned, headrests may help by reducing the incidence of cervical acceleration-deceleration injuries. However, a government study discovered that only 25% of headrests are properly positioned.
• The neck or back injury is a simple strain or sprain, all one needs is a few weeks of rest. 32 clinical studies of car accident whiplash victims indicated that as many as 43% had long-term persistent symptoms.
Obviously, not every rear-end accident causes whiplash or any other injury. However, if you discover any symptoms later, such as neck or back pain, headache, numbness or tingling, you should immediately be checked out by a doctor. If it turns out that you have been injured in the crash, you might want to consult with a car accident lawyer. Call us today for a free consultation at our Joplin Missouri office, to make sure your rights are protected.
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