The time after a car accident can be overwhelming and disorienting. It may seem like it happened in the blink of an eye, and you could still be wondering what occurred. This can be the case even in accidents that seem relatively minor.
People naturally try to classify events like accidents by whether they were severe or minor to help make sense of the incident. However, it can be misleading to classify an accident as “minor.”
Traffic crash statistics use a similar classification system. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) groups collisions as either “fatal,” “serious injury,” “other injury,” or “property damage only.” In 2020, there were 2,196 “serious injury collisions” and 30,673 “other injury collisions” reported by SCDPS. This grouping of collision types does not provide a complete picture of the injuries caused by an accident since “other injury” is a broad term without a clear definition.
Each crash is unique, and its severity depends on the details and circumstances involved. Every car accident has the potential to cause injury, even those that seem minor or inconsequential. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you should seek prompt medical attention regardless of the nature or perceived severity of the accident. You should also contact an experienced car accident lawyer to discuss your case.
What Makes a Car Accident Severe or Minor?
Some car accidents are easy to categorize as severe. An example of this is a high-speed crash involving multiple vehicles, extensive property damage, and significant injuries that are immediately visible. Classifying a car accident as minor is not always as straightforward.
You may be tempted to consider a car accident minor based on property damage alone, which can seem reasonable in some cases, such as a fender bender at relatively low speed. However, the extent of property damage is only one part of what makes an accident severe or minor.
Injury to the people involved must also be considered. Injuries may not be obvious at the time of the accident or even in the hours afterward. The presence or absence of injury for all people involved may not be apparent until doctors have examined them and rendered diagnoses.
Do I Need to See a Doctor If I Don’t Seem Hurt?
You should always see a doctor after you’ve been in a car accident, even if it seems like you may not be injured. Only a doctor can diagnose your injuries or confirm that you are uninjured.
A crash is typically unexpected, so you were likely caught off guard. This can occur even in car accidents that seem minor. As a result, your adrenaline could increase.
Adrenaline is a stress hormone that prepares your body for what is called “fight or flight.” The effects of adrenaline include elevated heart rate and reduced perception of pain. Adrenaline may still be in your system hours after the crash, which can result in delayed symptoms.
Additionally, some injuries may have a delayed onset of symptoms. These can include:
- Neck injury
- Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI)
- Internal bleeding
- Damage to internal organs
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
This means that you may have been injured in a minor car accident and not even know it yet. For this reason, it is critical that you seek prompt medical attention after any car accident. Make sure to follow all doctor’s orders exactly. Keep all documentation you receive related to medical expenses, including medical bills and doctor’s notes.
What If the Other Driver Asks If I’m Hurt?
When a car accident happens, the drivers may naturally want to check on all the people involved to make sure they are alright. However, this is not the time to make a statement about whether you have been injured. Avoid making any statements about your injury at the accident scene.
Until you have been cleared by a doctor, you do not actually know whether you have been hurt. You should also avoid making any statements about the accident or your injury on social media. Anything you post can potentially be used to make a case that you were not hurt or that your injuries were not severe.
How Yates Attorneys Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in South Carolina that was caused by someone else, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation. You should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer about your case as soon as possible.
Call (843) 692-3237 now to speak with a member of The Yates Firm legal team. We are prepared to schedule a free consultation with you to evaluate your case. Do not hesitate; our case results speak for themselves.