Fender benders, little accident, barely touched are all ways to describe minor impact accidents. Typically, these accidents occur at low speed (most less than 8 mph) and will not result in an airbag being activated. In fact Airbags are designed to only deploy in "moderate" accidents, or those occurring over 8mph.
"Frontal air bags are generally designed to deploy in "moderate to severe" frontal or near-frontal crashes, which are defined as crashes that are equivalent to hitting a solid, fixed barrier at 8 to 14 mph or higher."1
When I was employed by insurance companies we had terms and acronyms for these types of accidents; MIST or ICST (pronounced iced) and many others. If an accident fell into these types of categories typically a very small offer was extended and then all other offers or information was ignored. Many insurance companies will make a total value determination not on the injuries or the totality of the circumstances but on the amount of vehicle damage and/or the perceived severity of the accident.
However, what we know is that minor impacts and accidents occurring between 5-7 mph can be traumatic and result in real injuries.
If you are involved in a minor impact you should do the following:
1) Express your pain to the investigating officer and other First Responders
2) Seek treatment for your pain and injuries immediately
3) Contact a lawyer
First and foremost is your health and wellbeing. After any accident, major or minor, you are likely to be in shock and you may not feel numb, energized or shaken up. Despite this if you tell an investigating officer or First Responder that you are "OK" or "Feel Fine." That statement may be used down the road as a way to deny compensation you are entitled to.
Be honest, but if you are unsure of you condition or you are feeling slight pain make it a point to express this to the First Responders and Investigating Officer. Sometimes you may have injuries that you can barely feel or that are being masked by the adrenaline from the accident. If you experience any pain or discomfort you should seek medical attention in order to rule out more serious conditions.
If the pain persists ensure you continue to seek treatment. Leaving pain untreated can lead to more serious conditions in the future.
After your physical health has been taken care of contact an attorney that can assist you in dealing with the insurance companies. An experienced lawyer will be able to assist you in many ways. They can relieve you of the burden of dealing with insurance companies and sometimes assisting in securing medical treatment and funding.
Contact the professionals at the McCarthy Law Group, PLLC today for a free consultation.