You are driving along in your 2008 Honda Civic on a Friday afternoon. This is a holiday weekend and you cannot wait to get home, grab your bags and start the road trip. As you approach the intersection one block from your apartment, all you can think about as you sit at the red light is food, friends and fun. Suddenly, without any notice at all, you look in your rear-view mirror and see a a vehicle that appears to have no intention of stopping. Though she did not appear to be driving very fast, you brace yourself the best you can and prepare for the collision.
The police come to the scene and take a report. As it turns out the other driver (we will call her Dolly), was only traveling at a speed of 10 miles per hour. Additionally, the damage to her Dodge and to your Honda was minimal. However, you have an instant head ache and a "pins and needles" feeling radiating down your leg. You don't need an ambulance and your car is drivable, so you decide to go home and take a Tylenol in hopes of possibly resuming your weekend plans on Saturday. But when you wake up, you can hardly move. You cannot get rid of your head ache, your back is strained, your neck is tense, the pins and needles sensation is constant and you have an almost dull, numbing feeling in your back. How could this be?
This was a classic fender bender with little-to-no damage amongst vehicles traveling at low speeds. This is also known as the very common Low Speed Rear Impact Collision. When objects collide with one another, there is an exchange of energy and the momentum changes causing the energy from one vehicle to be transferred to the vehicle that is struck. The vehicle being struck experiences an increase in its momentum, while the striking vehicle generally experiences a loss of momentum. These circumstances all change velocity and for biomechanical experts, such change is commonly referred to as Delta V.
Insurance adjusters typically have a through understanding of LOSRIC cases and will argue that no property damage amongst vehicles traveling at low speeds should obviously result in no injury, however competing experts offer variable opinions on this subject. The reason for variable opinions is that the formula to determine injury is not as simple as property damage + speed = extent of injury or lack thereof.
Rather, in LOSRIC cases in particular, you must look at a number of factors which complicate the formula: whether there are head-rests, the position of the head (If the head is turned, the injury will be greater on the side it is turned to. When head rotation is present, the pattern of tissue injury is potentially more severe), seatback stiffness, (the harder/stiffer the seatback the less forward acceleration and therefore the less injury), shoulder restraints though designed to prevent injury can actually lead to great flexion in low speed cases and increase the likelihood of injury, pre-existing conditions, age of the injured party (it is common knowledge that younger individuals recover faster and experience less whiplash injury due to age alone).
In sum, an attorney representing a plaintiff in a low speed case or an individual who has been involved in one must know the arguments which support the fact that the injuries experienced are real. Just because the parties may not have been traveling at high speeds and the vehicle damage may not be extensive which are traditional factors leading to reasonable settlements, you may still have a viable and legitimate claim for damages in a LOSRIC case.
If you have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault and would like to discuss your case, call Aaron Sachs & Associates at 1-888-777-AUTO (2886) for a free consultation and find out your rights.