Can Low-Impact Accidents Cause Injuries?

closeup of car accident

When people think of car accidents, they typically consider the worst case scenario—a high speed impact, a rollover, things that are commonly seen in action movies and on the news. However, a large proportion of the auto accidents that happen are typically at speeds of 10 miles per hour or slower. Boca Raton personal injury attorneys that specialize in accidents can attest to this fact, as can any accident attorney in a city with a high volume of incidents. While the property damage of a low-impact accident may be minimal, there are many victims who go on to experience injuries.

The same forces that are involved in a high-speed accident come into play even when speeds are reduced. A typical automobile weighs in at approximately 2,000 pounds, so a collision at 10 mph can result in an impact force of 3.7 tons on average. A larger vehicle can create an impact force of about 5.6 tons, which may result in a significant blow to the car—and therefore a significant risk of injury to the occupant’s neck and back. Additionally, victims who are involved in rear-end collisions are at greater risk of injury than those of head-on collisions; the principle of “magnification of acceleration” demonstrates that the occupants of the car will accelerate much faster than the car being impacted. This means that they will absorb more of the force involved in the crash. An experienced personal injury attorney will have up-to-date information on the phenomenon as part of his or her trial preparation.

While high-impact accidents cause obvious injuries—including lacerations, burns, and broken bones—low impact car accidents can still affect soft tissues, such as the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the neck and back. Some groups are more prone to these types of injuries, for example the elderly and those who are in poor physical condition. A soft tissue injury is generally a sprain or strain, meaning that the soft tissue is partially or completely torn. The extent of an injury in any accident depends on factors including the occupant’s position in the vehicle, the use of head restraints, and whether the head is rotated or in a forward position at the time the impact occurs. In the case of a rear impact, the vehicle occupant’s neck and back are thrown first backward and then forward. This causes the body to stretch unnaturally, which results in the strain on muscles and other soft tissues; the effects can last for months and in some cases even years.

It can be difficult to prove an injury from a low-speed impact; even experienced Broward personal injury lawyers can find it a daunting task. For this reason, many excellent law firms retain the services of a respected accident reconstruction expert, in addition to seeking medical testimony from a credible professional. These measures can help you to prove your claim to an insurance adjustor, or if the claim goes to trial, they can be submitted as evidence.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact Palm Beach County car accident attorneys Zimmerman & Frachtman. We take pride in providing free consultation services and in our policy of not charging you unless we win your case.

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