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Low Speed Rear-End and Whiplash

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Low Speed Rear-End and Whiplash

Low speed rear-end impacts often result in minimal or no damage to the vehicles involved. Nevertheless, the occupants of the struck vehicle often complain of injury including whiplash, or neck, shoulder and back pain after the accident. Insurance literature sources claim that 1/3 of cases involving claims of whiplash and other injuries from low-speed impacts are fraudulent, yet, there is a body of research indicating that low speed impact involving non-damaged vehicles can lead to permanent injury. Our engineering experts can determine whether these claimed injuries are consistent with the observed damage (or lack of damage) to the vehicles. We can reconstruct the accident, determining the speeds of the vehicles and the forces and loads placed on the occupants, as well as the changes in speeds of the vehicle as a result of the collision.  Depending on the results of the reconstruction, we may then perform a biomechanical simulation of the occupants of the struck vehicle, to determine the forces levels they would experience.  These forces and loads can then be compared to known load tolerances of individuals, thus determining whether the claimed injuries are in fact consistent with the impact.

Our engineers have been assisting attorneys and insurance representatives in investigating accidents since 1990. We have a highly qualified staff of engineers with advanced degrees from top-tier universities who have provided testimony on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants at trial

Previous Cases

Rear-end TMJ Injury:

A woman driver was stopped at a red light when she was struck from behind by another vehicle causing $950 damage to the front car but no visible damage to the rear vehicle. The front driver sustained neck and jaw (TMJ) injuries from the impact. Based on Consumer Reports bumper tests, we showed that the damage was consistent with a 10-14 mph impact, which generated a peak head acceleration of up to 24 g’s, consistent with the driver’s injuries.

SUV Low Speed Impact:

An SUV Driver was stopped at a red light when he was rear-ended by another SUV causing $800 damage to his vehicle but no damage to the rear vehicle. The struck driver claimed to have suffered a lasting shoulder injury as a result of the impact. Based on bumper basher test data and other evidence, we demonstrated that the closing speed must have been 4-6 mph, resulting in peak chest accelerations of only 3-4 g’s for the front driver, which was inconsistent with the injuries claimed.