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The Big Effects Of Low-Speed Rear-Impact Car Accidents

Rear-end accident

One of the most common types of car accidents involves a low-impact rear-end collision; a “fender-bender,” perhaps involving a driver exiting a parking lot or failing to slow down at a stop sign or traffic signal.  While these accidents may appear minor and the damage to the vehicles may be minimal, studies have shown that even these low-speed collisions can cause injuries with lasting effects.  These injuries can be difficult to claim against the other driver or insurance company without skilled legal help due to the low impact involved, but they are no less real.  Read on for more about the injuries and claims resulting from a low-speed rear-end collision, and contact a seasoned Rancho Cucamonga car accident lawyer if you have been injured in a car crash in San Bernardino County.

Rear-end collisions, even at low speeds, can cause significant injury

Some researchers have estimated that as many as 85 percent of all neck injuries seen clinically resulted from auto accidents, and 85 % of those were from rear-end crashes.  A surprising number of those injuries, however, come from low-speed collisions, i.e. those under 20 miles per hour. 

A sudden rear impact can cause an occupant’s neck to hyperextend, as the seat pushes the occupant’s midsection forward while their head and neck fall backwards.  Hyperextension of the neck followed by hyperflexion leads to whiplash injury.  Even low-speed accidents can subject car occupants to sudden g-force acceleration, as much as 2 g on the vehicle and 5 g on the occupant’s head, even if the impact occurred at under 10 mph.  Peak head acceleration can thus be more than 2.5 times as fast as the peak acceleration of the vehicle that was hit, resulting in significantly more damage to the occupants than to the vehicles.  Some researches found head acceleration as high as 11.4 g, even in low-speed collisions.

Reports in medical journals have stated that impacts at speeds even as low as five miles per hour can cause significant neck and cervical injury, including whiplash and herniated discs.  These injuries can lead to chronic pain, numbness, weakness, or functional limitations lasting months or longer.  Medical experts have reported that around 10 percent of car occupants hit in rear-end collisions will develop whiplash, and as many as 10-15 percent of those who suffer from cervical soft tissue injuries after car accidents fail to reach a full functional recovery.  Whiplash injuries may take months or years to heal on their own and, in some cases, require surgery. 

Additional Studies on Low Impact Accidents

Studies have also been conducted on the effects of rear-end collisions on babies in rear-facing seats.  Although rear-facing seats are the current favored seating for small children, rear-end collisions can still knock the child into the seat back and cause serious injury.  While the study focused on higher-speed collisions, even low-speed fender-benders have the potential to injure child passengers in rear-facing seats.  If such an accident occurs, parents should have their child examined by a doctor to make sure no internal injuries have occurred even if the child seat returned to its normal position after the accident.   

The Law Offices of John D. Lueck is a trusted Rancho Cucamonga personal injury law firm with more than 40 years of service to clients in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.  These cases require experienced representation to ensure your claims and damages are properly pursued.  If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a low-speed rear-end accident, contact Rancho Cucamonga personal injury lawyer John D. Lueck at 909-484-1963 for a free initial consultation.

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