If you are involved in a full-speed accident while driving down a state highway, there is no question that you were involved in a high-speed accident. However, there are many accidents that occur every day across the country that are determined to be “low-speed” accidents, which are typically accidents that occur at speeds at or below 10 miles per hour. The speed of an accident can play a role in the degree of the injuries sustained, but the types of injuries possible at low speed are very different when you are talking about an accident between two cars versus a car and a motorcycle, or a car and a semi-truck.
The most common types of low-speed accidents are things such as minor fender benders at stoplights or merges, like a rear-end accident in traffic or a collision between two cars in a parking lot. While the injuries associated with these types of accidents are typically minor, there are still many opportunities for someone to suffer serious injuries. The speed of an accident certainly plays a role in the insurance claim or lawsuit that follows, but often a victim may downplay the severity of their own situation because of the speed. It is important that no matter what speed you were injured at, that you take the right steps towards getting compensation for your injuries. You can learn more about car accident law here, and learn a bit more about low-speed accidents below.
Does speed play a role in an accident claim?
There are a few different answers to this question, which all depend on context. If a car is going 100 mph in a 60 mph zone, then speed is obviously a significant factor because they were acting recklessly and negligently, putting everyone else on the road in danger. Likewise, if a car was going 30 mph in a 60 mph, their decision to drive so slowly will also play an important role in determining fault and therefore how a claim will be handled.
However, in the case of a low-speed accident, the speed will play a role but will not have any adverse impacts on the nature of your claim. If you suffer a serious injury, the speed at which it occurred has nothing to do with whether or not you are eligible for compensation, although it is natural for a victim to feel as if their claim may not be valid because of how relatively minor the collision was.
Can I file an injury claim after a low-speed accident?
You are absolutely within your rights to file an insurance claim after an injury in a low-speed accident. In fact, it is quite common for people to suffer from whiplash in a low-speed crash, simply due to the nature of injury. When someone gets whiplash, it is the result of their head being rapidly jerked forward, down, and then back in one quick “S” motion, tearing the soft tissues in the neck in the process.
Since the damage is done to the soft tissue instead of something like a bone, it may take a bit longer for the actual severity of the injury to become apparent. This means that a day or two after the accident, you may notice that you are suffering from intense neck pain, decreased mobility, headaches, and more. This is why it is important that you make no firm statements about your health at the scene of the accident, never sign anything without a lawyer, and see your own doctor as soon as possible.