Low Impact Crash – High Impact Injury
Low speed, rear-end car crashes are a common cause of injury. In many cases these injuries are significantly worse than a layman would expect if they looked only at the damage to the vehicles involved. Despite this knee jerk reaction to the visual incongruity, Fisher Injury Lawyers knows and, more significantly, science shows that injuries caused by relatively low impact crashes can be significant and often result in long term discomfort.
According to noted clinician SW Weisel, approximately 10 percent of car occupants involved in rear end car crashes will develop whiplash syndrome. Up to 15 percent of those fail to achieve functional recovery. Couple that with the fact that the occupant will often have no immediate overt signs of injury, these low speed crashes can be troublesome for an inexperienced attorney.
One key to getting favorable results in low speed crashes is understanding the science of what causes the injury. When a stopped car is hit from behind, the car that is hit, and the torsos of its occupants, are thrown forward. The heads of the occupants lag a fraction of a second behind the torso, causing the neck to over extend as the torso moves forward as the head stays behind. Then, as the torso rebounds against the seatback, the head moves forward and is snapped back again by the rebounding torso. This again causes the neck to be over extended. The entire sequence of events takes less than a second.
Research has shown that most vehicles do not begin to crush, and dissipate the force of the crash, until impact speed exceeds 15 or 20 mph. However, the resulting movement of the occupants at speeds greater than the speed of the vehicle can create severe injury. Studies have concluded that seemingly harmless low speed impacts are capable of producing damaging forces to the neck and head of the occupants. In addition, factors like the position of the head, can impact the severity of the injury. If the head is turned at impact, the injury will be greater on the side it is turned to and the injury is potentially more severe. Another confounding factor can be preexisting neck or spine conditions. The preexisting conditions make the neck less resilient and increase the potential for injury.
Low impact speed crashes often cause significant injuries, despite the lack of damage to the involved vehicles. Understanding this dynamic and the real science behind the injury causing factors is essential to obtaining a favorable outcome for our clients. At Fisher Injury Lawyers, we understand how to handle the low impact cases. Our experience, including our in house attorney/engineer, makes us uniquely capable of representing our clients in these types of cases.