Were You Rear-Ended by Another Vehicle?
In Pennsylvania, rear-end collisions are almost always considered the fault of the driver behind. No matter if you slowed down or stopped suddenly, the other driver had a duty to maintain a safe distance from your car. Rear-end accidents can result in the car being pushed into other cars or objects, causing a double impact injury. Seat backs may have collapsed, causing additional injuries.
At The Law Offices of Peter N. Munsing, P.C., we know that even what appears to be a minor fender-bender can result in serious harm. If you were rear-ended, our lawyer can investigate your case and see if you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Why It's Important to Get Checked Out by a Doctor After a Motor Vehicle Crash
Because of adrenaline and a desire to just get out of the accident scene, many people who should go to the hospital don't go. That's natural, but even if you were checked out at the scene and don't believe you have a serious injury it's important to go to your doctor or emergency room to get checked out and tell them about all your symptoms.
If you don't, the insurance companies involved will claim you weren't hurt, and will say that whatever is hurting you didn't come from the accident. This can affect valuable medical coverage that comes with vehicle accidents or workers' compensation if your accident was on the job. But most importantly, early treatment can stop a minor injury from becoming a serious one.
For instance, some people can have dental injuries or injuries that affect their vision, and most people don't know that unlike health insurance policies, car insurance medical policy covers any injury to the body, including dental and ophthalmic (eye-related) medical treatment! Other examples are:
- Back injuries: A back injury may involve injury to the disks that won't show up on an X-ray or other studies immediately. If you don't get checked out until later, you may not get treatment that will stop the injury from becoming more severe. In some cases herniations can go away with the right treatment — but with no treatment you not only have a serious physical problem, but the insurance companies won't pay for the treatment when you get it. If you have tingling or numbness in your feet, even if it comes and goes, you need to tell the doctor. Injury to the joints of the spine (the facets) can cause significant and sometimes disabling pain — and this may not show up for months.
- Neck injuries: Often, people are told they have "whiplash" as it's nothing — but they can have the makings of a disk or other serious injury because of the forces put on the neck area by the impact and its effect on the head (think of a basketball full of water on a tube that's the head on the neck. Get the head to move at speed, as with a crash, and the neck is subject to a lot of loading and forces that can cause muscle injuries, nerve stretches and disk injuries).
- Knee, ankle, elbow, wrist and shoulder injuries: In accidents knees get forced into dashboards and against doors. Ankles get jammed against engine walls. Wrists get large forces placed on them when holding a steering wheel or bracing against a dashboard. Shoulders and elbows get injured when thrown against the sides of cars, or hitting other objects or trying to instinctively protect others in the car. The cartilage of the joint, the tendons, ligaments and muscles that keep these joints together and make them work, and the nerves running through the joints can each be damaged. Unless there is a fracture, damage to these complicated joints won't show up immediately, but usually there will be symptoms — bruises, pain on movement and in performing normal activities. Few of these injuries will heal by themselves. The body's attempt to heal them can cause scar tissue or arthritic formation that will cause more pain and interfere with range of motion. The symptoms need to be reported, and if you have hurt these areas you need to follow up with a doctor to limit the damage that's been done — your body isn't a crash test dummy, and needs help recovering from impacts of an accident.
In addition to documenting medical evidence, it is important to document and preserve any physical evidence. For instance, the heavy metal of your car's trailer hitch may be bent, or the shock absorbers in your bumper may be spent. This kind of evidence can show that the accident involved a strong impact, even if the body of the car looks virtually unscratched. Often, the car that did the hitting is worse off — that needs to be documented too, as do skid marks from the crash.
WARNING: You may be sent releases or a check that says "release of all claims." Once you sign that, you will lose your rights to any claim. Don't agree to a settlement before you have a free consultation with us. Insurance companies often say "you don't need to call a lawyer." If so, how come they hire so many? Remember, their profit margin is the difference between what they take in and what they pay out. They don't build big buildings and sponsor bowl games by being generous.
Get a Free Consultation With a Berks County Car Accident Attorney
If you were injured when your car was struck from behind, do not hesitate to set up a free initial meeting with a Reading rear-end collisions attorney. Call The Law Offices of Peter N. Munsing, P.C., at 1-888-PALAWS-1 (1-888-725-2971), or contact our Wyomissing office online.
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