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The Fender Bender Fallacy: Why Minor Accidents Can Lead to Major Injuries

On Behalf of Rush Injury Law

Even seemingly insignificant accidents or injuries can result in severe and long-lasting health issues down the road. While you may think a minor fender bender or a small slip and fall is no big deal at the time, the impacts of these incidents should not be underestimated or ignored.

Delayed Pain and Inflammation

One of the reasons a minor accident can lead to major injuries is because pain and inflammation is often delayed. Just because you feel fine immediately after an accident does not mean there is no underlying damage. Symptoms like pain, swelling, stiffness and soreness may take hours, days or even weeks to fully manifest. This is because it takes time for inflammation to build up and irritate tissues, nerves and joints. Even small tears or strains to muscles, tendons and ligaments may produce delayed pain.

Undetected Structural Damage

Some accidents result in structural damage that goes undetected initially. For example, a low-speed collision may slightly misalign vertebrae in your spine or compress a disc without producing any obvious symptoms. Over time, this damage can worsen and cause significant back pain, numbness or neuropathy. Small fractures or bone chips might also go unseen on initial x-rays and scans after an injury. These problems tend to worsen and cause more issues as inflammation increases and the structural damage leads to improper movement and posture.

Compensating with Other Muscles and Joints

When one area of the body is damaged in an accident, you typically compensate by overusing other muscles, joints and limbs. For instance, a sprained ankle may lead you to put more weight and strain on your other leg. The muscles in your lower back may also have to work harder to keep you balanced and moving evenly. This compensation with other parts of the body leads to new pain and overuse injuries. The abnormal forces and alignment caused by initial injuries tend to spread the damage around and cause cascade of issues throughout the body.

Avoiding Proper Treatment

Many people downplay and avoid treatment after minor accidents, especially if there is no significant pain at first. However, skipping medical care can allow injuries to develop into more serious problems. Proper treatment helps identify structural damage, control inflammation, prevent scar tissue formation, restore strength and range of motion and prevent other complications. When injuries are ignored, all of these processes tend to spiral out of control and cause increased pain and dysfunction. Getting prompt treatment ensures problems are managed effectively before they progress.

The Shock Factor

Right after an accident, your body releases adrenaline, a natural steroid that acts as a painkiller. This adrenaline rush allows you to keep going after an injury without feeling the real extent of the damage. Once the adrenaline wears off, the pain and extent of the injury is often much worse. Assuming you are fine just because you feel okay immediately after an accident is a mistake. It takes time for the symptoms of strains, sprains and trauma to fully surface.

Minor accidents and injuries should never be brushed off, no matter how insignificant they may seem initially. Damage to muscles, bones, connective tissues and the nervous system may take time to manifest. But leaving these issues untreated ensures they will progress and lead to major problems. Be proactive and seek prompt medical care, even after minor accidents.

Are you suffering from health problems or injuries after a fender bender? If the accident wasn’t your fault, contact us today. You can visit us at the following locations:

  • 10 Commercial Blvd, #206 Novato, CA 94949
  • 75 Broadway #202, San Francisco, CA 94111
  • 3558 Round Barn Blvd, Suite 200, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Call us today for a free consultation on (415) 897-4801.

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