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Why a ‘Minor’ Car Crash Could be More Significant Than You Realize

red sedan with paint damage from crashWe make assumptions about things on an almost daily basis. While some assumptions are relatively harmless, others could be quite harmful.

For example, assumptions about the seriousness of an injury following a car crash could be dangerous. Sometimes crash victims downplay the seriousness of an injury or the pain they feel, only to later discover the injury was more severe than they realized.

Our experienced attorneys discuss why it is important to err on the side of caution following a crash. We discuss why some crashes that may seem minor could result in significant injuries.

If you have questions following a car crash injury, Schmidt Kramer is here to assist you. There are no upfront costs and no fees while working on your claim. There is also no obligation hire our firm after an initial consultation. There is no risk in talking to one of our attorneys to learn how we may be able to help.

Why You Might Think a Crash is Not Serious

Typically, the more damage sustained in a crash, the more severe the injury. That is why people often assume injuries are not that severe when the vehicles involved in the crash did not sustain significant damage.

Examples of damage that may be considered minor includes:

  • Dent or damage to fender or front bumper
  • Scratches that accompany dents or other damage
  • Broken or damaged headlight or taillight
  • Dent in the side of the vehicle

Maybe there are some dents, but the frame was not damaged, and the engine was not seriously damaged, if at all. Drivers often assume if they can drive their vehicle away from the scene, the crash must not have been that bad.

People also assume injuries are not that severe if the airbags were not deployed during the crash. Sometimes that may be true. That said, it is important to remember you can hit another vehicle or a fixed object hard without the airbags deploying.

Parking lot crashes can cause significant damage to the vehicles involved and significant injuries to the people involved. Even though you may have been driving slower in a parking lot, crashes in these locations can still be quite dangerous.

Why ‘Minor’ Crashes Can be Dangerous

Car crashes, including minor ones, involve a significant amount of kinetic force. Cars are built to withstand a certain amount of force to try to prevent catastrophic damage. However, human bodies are not built to withstand the amount of force generated by a collision.

Your upper body could get jostled around in a crash, no matter how minor it may seem. Your head, neck or back could get twisted around, causing lingering pain from a head or neck injury. Anyone who has dealt with lingering back pain could tell you it can dramatically interfere with your life. Soft-tissue injuries are common in car crashes, particularly low speed accidents.

Here are some common examples of injuries from “minor” car crashes that could significantly impact your life:

Knee Injuries

If you hit your knee on the steering wheel, gear shift or something else in your car, you could suffer damage to your ligaments. Meniscus tears are a common car crash injury, and the recovery from this type of injury can take a long time.

The other ligaments in your knees could be sprained, strained or even torn in a car crash. These types of injuries often happen when the leg or knee gets twisted around during a crash.

Arm Injuries

You could suffer a broken arm or damage to your hands, wrists or elbows in a crash. Even seemingly minor car crashes can generate a lot of force. If you hit arm on something, an injury could easily occur.

Depending on the severity of the damage, it could take weeks or months to fully recover. Even though the injury may not seem too bad, it can result in a lot of medical expenses. Talking to a Harrisburg car crash lawyer about filing a claim could be an important step in your recovery.

Head Injuries

You do not need to hit your head on something to sustain a severe injury. Any significant amount of movement could cause a mild traumatic brain injury, like a concussion.

You also do not need to lose consciousness to suffer a concussion or another type of brain injury. A concussion occurs when the brain moves back and forth rapidly and hits the inside of the skull. This can cause damage to brain cells, along with memory issues, depression, poor balance and many other symptoms.

Head and brain injuries could happen in various types of collisions, including rear-end crashes, which often happen at slower speeds.

While wearing a seat belt helps to prevent serious injury, it could sometimes contribute to a head or brain injury. Your body starts to move forward during impact but then gets stopped by the seat belt and airbag. The motion of a sudden stop could cause a brain or head injury.

If you notice any symptoms of a concussion, it is important that you go to the hospital right away. You do not want to wait because a brain injury could get much worse. If the crash caused bleeding in your brain, it could cause serious, permanent or even life-threatening damage without immediate treatment.

Back Injuries

Even if your back does not get hit by something, it could get injured in a crash. Victims often tense up during a crash. When you combine this with the jostling effect of a crash, it can put a lot of pressure on the spine, muscles and tendons. You could suffer a herniated disc or a sprain or strain.

What may start off as aches and pains could get much worse if it is not dealt with.


This is one of the most common car crash injuries, especially in rear-end crashes. If the neck gets thrown forward and backward, you could strain muscles, tendons and ligaments. Victims may have significant pain in their neck, shoulders and back. A whiplash injury can also cause severe headaches.

A whiplash injury can happen even at a relatively slow speed. All it takes is a sudden stop, which happens anytime a victim crashes into another car or a fixed object.

Seeking Immediate Treatment

It is crucial to seek medical treatment after any type of crash. You never know when an injury may be internal or more serious than you initially think. It is risky to assume things about potential injuries and delay or skip being examined by a doctor.

Delaying or skipping treatment could allow your injuries to get worse and lengthen your recovery time. While it is possible your injuries are minor, it is impossible to know for sure without a medical examination.

Waiting can also hurt your ability to seek compensation for your damages. Linking your injuries to the crash is much harder when there is a significant gap of time between the crash and your first meeting with a doctor. The insurance company could argue that your injuries occurred elsewhere.

Call Today to Discuss Legal Action After a Crash

Unsure of your options following a car crash?

Schmidt Kramer offers a free legal consultation to discuss filing a claim for compensation following a car crash. We have secured millions on behalf of crash victims throughout the state, and we work on contingency. That means there are no upfront fees, and our lawyers are not paid unless our clients get paid.

Schmidt Kramer. We are here to help. Call (717) 727-2089.