If you suffer whiplash or other injury in a low-impact accident in New Hampshire, chances are your initial insurance claim will be denied.
Insurance companies typically avoid paying claims on low-impact injuries — where the speed at impact was below 15 mph. When an insurance company hears there is little damage to the victim's vehicle, they maintain that no one can possibly be hurt.
At first glance, the logic behind their denial seems plausible. However, what the insurance companies would like you to believe is not based in scientific or medical facts.
Injuries in low-impact accidents are not caused by speed alone, but by changes in velocity (a measurement that denotes both the speed and the direction a body is moving).
Biomechanical engineering in accident reconstruction
Biomechanical engineers determine if a person could have been injured in a low-impact crash. The process is as follows:
- Using specialized computer programs, they input information about the make, model and year of the vehicle, the damage, the accident site and other data. They then determine the change in speed and direction of the victim's car upon impact. This reveals the “g” forces applied to the car.
- Engineers then input the “g” forces and data regarding the plaintiff (gender, age, weight, height, body position at time of accident, location or lack of headrest, etc.) to see if injury could have been caused by the accident.
Low-impact accident injury types
Soft-tissue injuries to the neck and/or back (commonly called “whiplash”) are the most likely type of injury to occur in low-impact accidents. It involves injury (stretching and tearing) to ligaments, tendons and muscles connected to bones and joints.
These injuries cannot be seen on X-rays or other radiographic tests, so proof of injury has to come from medical records and expert testimony.
More serious injuries consist of disc herniation. Sometimes whiplash can cause traumatic brain injuries.
A 2009 study published in Great Britain's Emergency Medical Journal cited startling results – low-impact collisions account for two thirds of fatal aortic injuries (aneurysms).
In short, if you're involved in a low-impact injury, take steps to spare yourself the high cost of paying for treatment as well as your pain and suffering.
New Hampshire Personal Injury Attorney
Don't give up if an insurance company denies your low-impact accident injury claim. Hire an experienced personal injury lawyer who will take your case to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached. Your attorney will hire the experts, which can prove vital to winning your case.
Because most New Hampshire personal injury attorneys only get paid if they win your case, you don't have to worry about paying anything up front.