When you think of car accidents, you might envision high-speed collisions that result in catastrophic damages. However, not all accidents occur at high speeds.
Slow-speed car accidents, usually at speeds less than 20 mph, are more common than you might think. While these accidents might seem minor, they can still lead to significant injuries and legal complications.
You may feel fine after a slow-speed car accident and not even call the authorities or seek medical treatment. These are both mistakes. Any accident can lead to injuries, even if they are not immediately apparent.
Here, you can learn more about slow-speed car accidents in Seattle. You can also call our car accident attorneys in Seattle at the Bernard Law Group. We can review the facts of your case and determine if you are due compensation. It all starts by calling and scheduling a free consultation.
Common Slow-Speed Accidents
Slow-speed accidents are particularly prevalent in urban areas with heavy traffic, residential neighborhoods, and parking lots. According to the Seattle Department of Transportation, many car accidents occur at slow speeds, often during stop-and-go traffic or while maneuvering into parking spaces.
Some of the most common causes of slow-speed car accidents include:
Distraction and Inattention
One of the leading causes of slow-speed car accidents is driver distraction. Whether checking a smartphone, adjusting the radio, or talking to a passenger, even a momentary lapse in attention can result in a collision. In slow-moving traffic or parking lots, drivers often falsely assume they can multitask without consequences, leading to accidents.
Poor Weather Conditions
Rain, fog, and icy roads are common in Seattle, and they contribute to slow-speed accidents by reducing visibility and increasing stopping distances. Drivers might not realize how slippery the roads are until too late, causing them to slide into another vehicle or object, even at low speeds.
Reckless Driving Behaviors
Tailgating and sudden lane changes are frequent causes of slow-speed accidents. Drivers who follow too closely may not have enough time to react if the vehicle in front of them stops or slows down suddenly. Likewise, changing lanes without signaling or checking blind spots can result in side-swipe accidents.
Faulty Vehicle Equipment
Sometimes, the cause of a slow-speed accident is not the driver but the vehicle itself. Brakes that fail to engage properly or malfunctioning signals can contribute to collisions. Ensuring that your vehicle is in good working condition is crucial, especially when navigating congested or slow-moving traffic areas is crucial.
Understanding these common causes can help drivers become more vigilant and avoid slow-speed accidents. When in doubt, being cautious and attentive to your surroundings is always better.
Types of Injuries
Like car accidents at high speeds, slow-speed car accidents in Seattle can lead to various injuries. Some of the most common include:
One of the most common injuries from slow-speed accidents is whiplash, a neck injury caused by a sudden back-and-forth neck movement. Whiplash can occur even in collisions at speeds as low as 5 mph.
Soft Tissue Injuries
In addition to whiplash, other soft tissue injuries, such as strains and sprains, are common. These injuries might not show immediate symptoms but can lead to long-term pain and discomfort.
Legal Aspects: Washington State Laws
In Washington State, the law requires all drivers involved in an accident—regardless of how minor it seems—to stop at the scene. Failure to do so could result in a hit-and-run charge.
Even if the accident occurred at a slow speed, you are legally obligated to exchange information with the other driver and report the incident to law enforcement if there are injuries or significant property damage.
Washington follows a “contributory fault” rule, which means that your compensation could be reduced if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by 20%.
Your auto insurance policy should cover damages from slow-speed accidents, but the claims process may be complicated. Insurance companies may underestimate the severity of injuries from slow-speed collisions, so it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately to document your injuries accurately.
Steps to Take After a Slow-Speed Accident
Taking the right steps after a slow-speed accident can help protect your right to compensation. The steps to take include:
- Check for Injuries: Always check for injuries first and call 911 if medical attention is needed.
- Move to a Safe Area: If possible, move your vehicle to a safe area away from traffic.
- Exchange Information: Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver.
- Document the Scene: Take photos and gather eyewitness accounts to support your case.
- Contact Your Insurance: Inform your insurance company about the accident immediately.
- Seek Legal Advice: Consult a law firm experienced in handling slow-speed accidents, like Bernard Law Group, to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Why You Should Consult the Bernard Law Group
Navigating the aftermath of a slow-speed car accident can be confusing and stressful, especially when dealing with insurance companies or if injuries are involved. The Bernard Law Group has the expertise to guide you through the legal maze and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Your Rights to Compensation After a Slow-Speed Car Accident in Seattle
Slow-speed car accidents in Seattle are more common than you may think, and they can result in significant injuries and legal complications. Always follow the law by stopping at the scene, exchanging information, and reporting the accident when necessary.
Consulting a Seattle personal injury law firm specializing in such cases can help ease the process and secure fair compensation for damages and injuries. At the Bernard Law Group, our experienced Seattle car accident attorneys are ready to help you seek justice and compensation.