Taking a Closer Look at Low-Speed Crashes
Low-Speed Crashes in Florida
It’s practically human nature to leer at car crashes that we see on the side of the road as we drive by. That said, we are far more prone to gawk at flipped-over cars that have crinkled like cans than we are to stare at a car that was merely “tapped” by another. As the personal injury attorneys at Aronberg and Aronberg know, though, despite the clear difference in vehicle damage between the two types of accidents, the injuries inside can be a lot more alike than you might otherwise think.
Low-speed crashes, in Florida, are defined as car accidents in which the involved cars were traveling at a speed of less than 10 mph. Quite often, when a low-seed crash takes place, those involved (the drivers and especially the insurance companies) quickly disregard the possibility of injury. With no damage to the body of the vehicle, how could there be damage to the contents inside?
The question is based on a lack of basic scientific knowledge and rudimentary familiarity with the human body. The truth is that even if a car body sustains little (or no) damage, the individuals inside might, from the very same accident, incur injuries that can plague them for the rest of their lives.
Consider this: you’re carrying a cardboard box full of fine china and it slips out of your hands before falling a few feet to the floor. If you see that the cardboard box is still intact, would that lead you to assume that the fine china inside has not been damaged? Of course not, because the delicate china inside may very well be shattered, even if the cardboard outside has not been crushed.
Our bodies are incredibly delicate despite the incredible physical feats they are capable of achieving. A body – especially the back and neck – can be badly injured without crashing into something physically. Galileo proposed a theory in the 1500s that Isaac Newton’s, 100 years later, developed into his what has become known as his first law of physics: essentially, an object at rest stays at rest and an object in movement stays in movement unless acted upon by an outside force. So, let’s say moving in your car at just under 10pmh when a car negligently swerves in front of yours, causing your car to bang into the other vehicle and come to a halt. Your car will stop, but your body won’t – not until your head smacks against the steering wheel or front windshield or your neck is is violently jerked back.
This is because despite what you might think, when you’re driving in a car, you are not at rest. If your car is driving 10 mph (or even 75 mph) then your body is also moving at the same speed, and regardless of when or how the car comes to suddenly stop, your body will not adjust to the stop unless it smacks against something or is jerked backward; either way, there are some serious external and internal injures in store for your body. (For a more in-depth look at the physics of car crashes, take a look at this insightful video produced by the IIHS.)
Another thing to think about is how the car is built. Race cars, for example, are built to crumble and absorb crashes, easing the blow and protecting the driver inside. The cars that we drive everyday, though, are built to protect the frame of the car. The bumpers on our cars don’t crumple-up the way that the front ends of race cars do. This is because, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bumpers aren’t designed to prevent injury to the passengers in the car. Rather, they are designed to “prevent or reduce physical damage to … vehicles in low-speed collisions.” In other words, after a car crash, if you see little or no damage to a vehicle, the bumpers have done their job, which is to protect the physical body of the car. Whether or not the people inside are okay is a completely separate issue.
Insurance companies love to bring up the damage done to vehicles, especially when there is little or no discernible physical damage. They might claim its “common sense” that if a car sustained no damage, the people inside sustained no injury. Like we demonstrated previously with our fine china in a cardboard box example, this just isn’t the case. Unless the insurance adjuster speaking with you is an impartial expert physicist trained in the mechanical engineering of motor vehicles, don’t take their perspective on your injuries as fact. Instead, trust the doctors and scientists when they tell you that serious injuries can be sustained in car accidents that are seemingly unremarkable.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, regardless of the physical damage to your vehicle, please reach out to us. Our skilled team of attorneys, backed-up by medical doctors and mechanical engineering experts, know that you might suffer far worse than your car has. For a free consultation, reach out to us at the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg by calling 561-266-9191 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.