One of the biggest misconceptions about car accidents, and how they correlate to personal injuries, is that injuries can’t occur (or should I say, severe injuries can’t occur) without extensive damage to the injured victim’s vehicle. The logic behind this misconception is that if the car isn’t damaged, it wasn’t hit hard, and if it wasn’t hit hard, the occupant inside couldn’t have been injured because only hard impacts cause personal injury. This line of reasoning is completely ludicrous (and is often the argument used by greedy insurance companies when minimalizing the value of an injury claim stemming from a car accident). The truth about injuries, as they relate to property damage, is that injuries come in all shapes and sizes and there’s no set formula used to determine the injuries that will result at different levels of impact to the damaged car. Think of it this way: We have all heard of a horrific crash involving catastrophic damage to a car, rendering it a mere ball of twisted metal, but which resulted in absolutely no physical injury to the occupant. If we know this to be true, why can’t the reverse be true? Indeed, extensive research has indicated, without exception, that low impact, minimal damage car accidents can and do cause severe injuries.
As mentioned above, there is no way to determine whether a particular car accident will cause injury, but certain factors can certainly make it more likely than not that an injury will occur. Some of these factors include the size of the vehicle involved (larger vehicles transfer greater amounts of energy during an impact to smaller vehicles) (see Truck Accidents: Cause and Effects), the awareness of the occupant prior to the accident (one who is expecting an impact is better prepared to absorb the force than one who is caught off guard), the angle at which the impact occurred, the amount of damage to the victim’s car (cars are designed to absorb large amounts of energy as they crumple, but when this does not occur, the energy is transferred to the occupant, as noted above) and pre-existing conditions the occupant had at the time of the impact (a pre-existing condition which makes an occupant more susceptible to injury will likely cause that occupant to be injured from a smaller impact than the average individual who does not suffer from that pre-xisting condition) (see Pre-Existing Injuries: Jury Instructions and Case Law). To better understand the factors which can impact your personal injury claim, contact our car accident lawyer for a consultation today.