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Monday, August 8, 2011


There has been a great deal of research done over the last several years, which proves that injury, can and does occur in low impact collisions. The most common of these injuries is "whiplash". When low-speed crash tests were performed with sudden changes in vehicle speed of only 2.5 mph, 29% of occupants experienced symptoms of neck or back injury, while a sudden change in speed of 5 mph resulted in 38% of occupants being injured.
Automobile bumpers are built to the government standard of being able to withstand a 5 mph crash without damage. These standards are not related to the safety of the occupant, but are to protect and limit the damage to the bumpers, keeping the cost of repair to a minimum. Many times, vehicles can sustain an impact at 8-9 mph before there is recognizable damage. This varies by car model as each manufacturer has a different method for building bumpers. Some cars are made more sturdy than the more newer vehicles. The point is that when the bumper (and other metal) doesn't crumple and absorb the force of the impact, more of that force is transferred directly to the occupant of the vehicle.
Whiplash injuries are often caused by rear-end collisions, and frequently by collisions from other angles. A tremendous volume of research has been conducted to determine the amount and extent of these injuries. Because these injuries are not usually life threatening, the insurance industry, your spouse/family/friends, and even many doctors really do not understand the ordeal that you are suffering through.
After your accident, you may have experienced severe or moderate pain, or no pain at all. Surprisingly, most auto injuries are hidden and seldom detected for months, or even years. Often, the initial pain subsides, only to return full-blown later. Soft tissue injuries (injuries to muscles, ligaments, and discs) caused by auto accidents can be very deceiving. Soft tissue injuries heal with scar tissue and don't always cause pain immediately, but the damage done to your spine can lead to the following problems:
  • Recurring headaches
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Numbness, tingling, or pain in the arms or hands
  • Chronic muscle tension and spasm
  • Low back pain
  • Spinal disc degeneration
  • Painful, inflamed arthritis
  • Sore, tight, inflexible muscles
  • Decreased athletic ability
  • Greater chance of re-injury
  • Poor posture 

Documented studies done by Charles Carroll, M.D., Paul McAtee, M.D., and Lee Riley, M.D., revealed that:
"The amount of damage to the automobile bears little relation to the force applied to the cervical spine (neck) of the occupants."
In other words, the damage to the passengers is not necessarily directly related to the damage of the vehicle. Studies have shown that damage can occur to a driver/passenger at vehicle collision speeds of less than 5 miles per hour (4.87 miles per hour to be exact) and the subjects tested in this study were healthy young males!

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