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“Minor” Automobile Accidents Can Have Major Health Consequences

 

Nationwide may be on your side, you may be in good hands with Allstate, and like a good neighbor, State Farm may be there. But when you or your Milford car accident attorney sue someone who is insured by Nationwide, Allstate, or State Farm , you’re likely to see another side of the insurance company. Injury claims diminish the bottom line for insurance companies. The less they pay out in claims, the more they make. The insurance industry has perpetrated the myths of the “minor impact/soft tissue” injury claim,. They assert that (1) low speed impacts that cause minimal damage to a motor vehicle cannot result in severe injury to the occupant of the motor vehicle; and (2) injuries to “soft tissue”—muscles, ligaments, and tendons—are minor and do not result in permanent impairment.

The vast weight of scientific and medical evidence shows just how false these myths really are.

Modern automobiles are designed to mitigate, but not eliminate, safety risks presented by an automobile accident. Let’s be clear: Low speed impacts can cause serious injuries and soft tissue injuries can cause permanent impairment.

Automobile collisions bring into play some principles of physics: acceleration, deceleration, mass, force, and velocity. It is true that automobiles are becoming safer. Cars are now designed with “crumple zones,” which absorb the energy of an impact, thereby reducing the physical forces that would otherwise cause injury to occupants. Airbags are now standard equipment. It is no wonder, then, that in some crashes, the driver and passengers fare better than the cars. Sometimes an occupant of a motor vehicle that has been crushed by the impact of a crash walks away from the wreck, apparently unscathed.

But looks can be deceiving. The driver who appeared to be fine as he walked away from a wreck can be badly injured. Just because he was observed walking and talking at the accident scene does not necessarily mean that divine providence has intervened to drape him in a cloak of invincibility. There are certain metabolic conditions—e.g., adrenaline—which enable a person who has experienced trauma to function at an accident scene as if uninjured. Someone who reports to the investigating officer at the accident scene that he is uninjured might discover in the hours, days, and weeks to follow—when the body’s natural response to trauma has receded—that his self-assessment at the accident scene was wrong.

Likewise, the photograph showing minimal damage to an SUV struck from behind at low speed while stopped at a traffic light often belies the effect of the impact on the occupant. Acceleration, deceleration, velocity, force, and mass can cause the stretching, pulling, and tearing of the so-called “soft tissue” (muscles, tendons, and ligaments). Often, these injuries are strains or sprains, but they can be much more serious.

Soft tissue is fibrous. When traumatized, it may tear. When it tears, it causes pain and functional impairment. When it heals, it scars. When it scars, it can result in loss of function. Once torn, it is prone to re-tearing. Unlike a broken bone, which, when healed, bonds like Gorilla Glue, soft tissue, when healed, is never as good as new. To dismiss injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons as “just a sprain” is to ignore the debilitation that such injuries often cause.

When it comes to crash-related injuries, there are no absolutes. Time does not, in fact, heal all wounds. Science and medicine demonstrate that there is no necessary correlation between severity of impact and severity of injury. A “personal injury” is so called because it is personal to the individual crash victim. Having represented thousands of motor vehicle crash victims over the past 100 years, we know these are not myths.

We know what it takes to get fair compensation for crash-related injuries. Often it takes time. It always takes experience. If you’ve been injured in a car crash, call our personal injury attorneys in Woodbridge. The initial consultation is free and it costs nothing to hire us: we don’t get paid until you get paid.

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