We’ve all seen the action movies where 18-wheelers flip over police cars in a high-speed chase and the result is a fireball on a bridge over a river infested with drug-trafficking criminals. Exhilarating as those scenes may be, they are not reflective of the typical car accident. As you might expect, the vast majority of car accidents don’t start with police chases or end in explosions. Thus, it might make sense to assume that with a less dramatic accident, the consequent injuries are less costly. The logic is, if you tap your hand against a table it won’t hurt, but if you slam it against the table it will hurt—a lot. That logic makes sense with hands and tables, but it doesn’t make sense with moving vehicles.
Don’t be ashamed if you believed the above scenario makes sense with car accidents—the insurance companies want you to believe it! They coined the term “low-impact accidents” to classify accidents accordingly. At one point, an accident was “low-impact” if the car damage was less than $50. Insurance companies have sneakily and steadily increased the cost associated with a low-impact accident (to, in some cases, $5,000) to imply that injuries involved in those accidents are not too severe.
While car insurance company executives may make great businessmen, they make lousy scientists. Studies conducted, again and again, show that there is not a definite correlation between low-impact accidents and a lack of serious injury. What that means is that low-impact accidents can result in costly injuries the same way that high-impact accidents can. Simply, the hand and table experiment does not account for such variables as whiplash, inertia, other vehicles, headrests, position of the head, etc. While cars are manufactured to survive low-speed impacts of 5-10 mph, the human body is not.
The most common injury among low-impact car accident victims is has to do with soft tissue in the neck and back. Soft tissue damage includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, and disks and leads to contusions, sprains, strains, and bruises. Whiplash is often a very common factor in low-impact car accident injuries. General Motors commissioned crash tests at 8mph or less and discovered that whiplash does occur during low-speed crashes. This is a fact that insurance companies have denied for years. The study determined that the consequent whiplash can be permanently damaging. The insurance companies also argue that in cars with headrests it’s impossible to get whiplash. While headrests can help prevent whiplash, unless it is adjusted perfectly to fit the occupant of the seat, it can actually be more damaging than it can be beneficial during the jostle of an accident.
If you’ve been in a low-speed accident, don’t be fooled by the insurance companies telling you that there’s no way you were hurt. Remember, they’re businessmen, not scientists and they’re certainly not doctors. If you feel you have been injured in an accident of any speed, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.