Why you may be more likely to be injured in low speed crash than high speed.
I decided to write this blog as a result of a standard letter we have been seeing presented to both patients, attorneys and our office from insurance companies, in which the insurance companies state that their should be minimal if any injuries related to the crash based on the amount of property damage of the vehicles involved and the estimated speed of travel of the vehicles involved. We have to say estimated because the actual speed is usually not known.
Letters like this are intended to persuade patients not to seek treatment for injuries following an LOSRIC (low speed rear impact collision)
One of the biggest reasons people are frequently injured in low speed car crashes, specifically rear end collisions is because cars are designed to stiffer than they use to be. Cars are designed to crumple and absorb much of the impact at higher speeds. However, vehicles are designed to withstand impacts at lower speeds to avoid having to repair excessive property damage with low speed rear impact collisions.
What is the risk of being injured in a Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration Crash
French Study: Foret-bruno et al. reported that 27% of occupants in rear end collisions sustained cervical injuries, with women being injured in 42% of rear impact collisions and men in 21% of. With velocity change (delta V) 9.3mph, the injury rate was 36% compared to 20% in velocity change greater than 9.3 mph, this is because of more seat back failures at higher speed collisions.
American Studies: Chapline et al. reported that in crashes where there were no damages to the vehicles reported, 38% of females and 19% of males had symptoms following the crash. When damage was rated as minor, 54% of women reported symptoms and 34% in men.
Japanese Studies: The Japanese Automobile Insurance Rating Association reported that 50% of crashes result in neck injury, and that is increasing head year.
Australian Study: A study done by Dolinis found that 35% of drivers in motor vehicle collisions were injured and passengers were more likely to be injured.
Canadian Study: This study found that volunteers were found to be injured at 29% and 38% in 2.5 mph and 5 mph change in velocity low speed rear impact collisions.
Scandinavian Studies: In one the authors used Crash Pulse Recorders to record peak acceleration and compared peak acceleration and occupant injury. The peak accelerations in 22 cases were all within the range of a 2.7 mph crash. Thus it was likely that the majority of these crashes occurred with little or only minimal property damage. Of all the rear impact crashes, 59% resulted in initial symptoms of the occupants.
This is only a fraction of the research that could be presented on the risk of being injured in low speed collisions but enough to get the point across that injuries can occur when there is little or no property damage.
Only considering the speed the vehicles where traveling when a crash occurred and the visible damage of the vehicle involved (gives little impute on the likelihood of the people in being injured.
There are many other risk factors that determine the likelihood of being injured in a car crash. Below is a list of risk for injury:
- Female sex: Women are twice as likely to be injured than men.
- Females weighing less than 130 lb.
- History of neck injury. If you have a prior injury, you are 4.5 times more likely to be injured in a rear impact collision than if you had not had a prior injury.
- Head restrain below head’s center of gravity.
- Poor head restrain geometry/tall occupant.
- Rear impact.
- Use of seat belts/shoulder harness.
- Body mass index/head neck index.
- Out-of-position (leaning forward/slumped).
- Non-failure of seat back.
- Having head turned at impact.
- Non-awareness of impending impact.
- Impact of vehicle of greater mass.
- Crash speed under 10 mph.
- Being the driver of the vehicle.
- Having a toe hitch.
This is not a complete list and further writing are needed to explain the details of the impact each of these factors may have on the risk of being injured but you get the idea.
To hear Dr Chris Gubbels talk about this topic click on the video.
If you have been in a car crash and would like a free consultation with a doctor call 970-207-4463 or click on the box bellow.
Dr Chris Gubbels D.C., C.C.W.P