There is a myth being perpetuated by the insurance industry and certain sections of the media, that low impact car crashes cannot result in the occupants sustaining personal injuries*. Our specialist personal injury solicitors* are continually seeing this myth being used by both insurers and defence solicitors, in the defence of car accident personal injury claims*. However, the claims of the insurance industry ignores the voluminous clinical evidence, medical research and indeed engineering research on low impact car crashes and the personal injuries* that can occur, even in the absence of any significant vehicle damage. Our personal injury solicitors* find that when the scientific and medical evidence is put to the insurance company, or indeed their solicitors, that very often they are willing to enter into settlement negotiations, as opposed to run their arguments before the Court.
IGNORING THE CREDIBLE RESEARCH OR SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS
One cannot rationally deny the likelihood of an occupant sustaining personal injuries in a motor traffic accident*, based on the amount of vehicle damage alone. To do so ignores all the credible evidence and the scientific research. As far as I can see, the low impact defence is based on the theory that 1) anyone who sustains personal injuries* in a low impact car crash is a fraudster and that 2) there is no such thing as whiplash* or soft tissue injuries*. I have yet to see any scientific or medical evidence that supports such a claim.
There are many people who are in minor car accidents* who do not sustain personal injuries*. The vast majority of these do not bring personal injury claims* and all the statistics, be it from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, the Road Safety Authority or the Court Services bear this out. Of course, there is a fraction of people who do bring fraudulent claims and some of these have been in minor impact car crashes*. Needless to say, our personal injury solicitors* will have nothing to do with anyone who we deem to be bringing a suspicious or fraudulent claim, or indeed whom we do not believe has sustained personal injuries*. But the vast majority of people who bring personal injury compensation claims* as a result of low impact car accidents*, have impact been injured and are entitled to be properly compensated for their injuries.
BATTERMAN & BATTERMAN RESEARCH ON MINOR IMPACT CAR CRASHES AND PERSONAL INJURIES*
In 2002 Batterman & Batterman Accident Re-Constructionists, published their report Delta-V Spinal Trauma and the Myth of Minimal Damage Accident in the Journal for Whiplash and Related Disorders. The studies show that “in a no damage accident the struck, or target vehicle, can obtain a delta-V of 10 mph or greater, which is well within the injury producing range”. Furthermore, the paper scientifically dispels the myth that a minimal or no damage vehicle collision implies that the delta-V of the target vehicle has to be 5 mph or less. For those interested delta-V is the long-standing metric for crash severity.
Medical evidence regarding low impact car accidents and personal injuries*
The medical evidence also dispels the notion that low impact car accidents* cannot cause personal injuries*. The study published in the Medical Journal Patient’s Safety in Surgery 2009 authored by German orthopaedic surgeons, concluded that “in real life accidents, cervical spine injuries may occur at low delta-V values, while it is possible to escape unscathed from collisions with high delta-V values.” They further state in relation to whiplash* type injuries, that “it is impossible to make meaningful statements about the existence of WAD (Whiplash Associated Disorders) solely on the assessment of the property damage value. This finding might be of importance for surgeon’s assessment and patient safety after a car accident. Diagnostic and therapeutic management should not be based solely on information related to trauma impact”.
Other studies such as Risk Factors for Prolonged Disability after Whiplash Injury published on the 15th of February 2005 indicated that in relation to whiplash* type injuries caused in motor traffic accidents* “the degree of damage of the vehicle was not a predictor of the outcome”. Similar studies in relation to whiplash type injuries* were published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry in August 2005 which stated “there is little evidence that the severity of the impact predicts the early onset of neck pain or pain at one year”. Sturzenegger M, Radanov BP and Di Stefano G, in their study in relation to whiplash type injuries* sustained in motor traffic accidents* concluded:- attempts to correlate outcome, with the extent of damage to the involved cars and their speed, has precisely shown to be of little prognostic value”.
A VARIETY OF FACTORS CAN RESULT IN PERSONAL INJURIES*
A case report called Whiplash Associated Disorder from a Low-Velocity Bumper Car Collision published in the History, Evaluation, and Surgery; Spine: Volume 29, stated that you had to take into account a myriad of factors, when considering whether someone could sustain personal injuries* in a low impact car accident. These factors include “the occupant’s awareness or head position in the colliding vehicle, defines the risk of neck injury to passengers in colliding vehicles. One can only conclude that the threshold of injury is a complex dynamic relying on velocity, force, head position, head torso angles, restraint placement, anticipation, tissue elasticity, tissue strength and any multitude of variables that evade accurate determination.”
Essentially, it says that force of the accident, is only one factor, in determining whether someone can sustain personal injuries in a minor motor traffic accident. You have to take into account whether the occupant of the vehicle was anticipating the accident, how their head was positioned, how their torso was angled, their individual tissue strength to name just a number of factors.
PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS* FOR LOW IMPACT CAR CRASHES
According to Maria Krafft Anders Kullgren, in their study Influence of Crash Severity on various Whiplash Injuries Symptoms, they state that the risk of whiplash/soft tissue personal injuries*, in minor vehicle collisions of a velocity of approximately 8 kph/5 mph, saw that approximately 20% of occupants still had whiplash type symptoms after one month. In our 40 years’ experience as personal injury lawyers, these figures would seem to correlate with the percentage of clients that instruct us to bring personal injury claims*.
Expert Personal Injury and Car Accidents Claims* Solicitors
Hanahoe & Hanahoe, Solicitors are award winning personal injury solicitors. We have over 40 years’ experience in bringing personal injury and car accident claims*. If you have been in a car accident and have sustained a whiplash type injury or indeed any type of injury, one of our expert personal injury solicitors will be happy to advice you. Please contact us
on 045 897784 (Naas) or 01 5255637 (Dublin) or @ firstname.lastname@example.org
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.