We have all been guilty of rubber necking: going by the scene of a bad accident and staring at the cars, wondering if someone was hurt or killed. We see a debris field and skid marks. We see the flashing lights from law enforcement, maybe an ambulance, stretchers carrying some people and the crumpled cars.
Sometimes traffic is backed up because people are “rubber necking”, looking in amazement at the accident. We wonder if anyone has even survived. We say a little prayer and keep going.
Most accidents are not like these. So when we hear about a “minor accident” or a low speed accident, we assume that no one was seriously injured. But people can get seriously hurt even in low speed car accidents of less than 15 miles per hour. Sometimes there is only a couple of hundred dollars in property damages.
Photos of the car damages do not tell the whole story. Bumpers are designed to protect the car, not the people inside it. Injuries are determined by doctors, not car mechanics or property damage appraisers, human factors experts or epidemiologists. Injuries can run the gamut and include the need for surgery, loss of body parts, inability to work, and severe pain and suffering, and less harmful like spasms or headaches.
It might be a surprise to find out there are no medical studies on speed and accidents using real life situations with human beings. Sometimes people get hurt at low speeds but do not get hurt at high speeds.
I once represented a young girl.
Her boyfriend was driving on I95. He lost control of his car, swerved right, went off the road, and then rolled over several times. It stopped upside down off the road. She was saved by her seat belt which held her snugly in place. People not wearing seat belts usually get ejected from the car, and are seriously injured or killed.
I was studying a report I received, which was certified by the Chief of Bureau of Records, from a Division of Motorist Services at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles of the State of Florida which showed 108 fatalities and 30,869 injuries in low speed crashes between 2001 and 2009.
Over 100 fatalities and 30,000 injuries in low speed crashes alone, is a big number.
Florida State Farm, Allstate, Geico, Travelers, and other big insurance companies have actuaries who study car accidents. They write statistics on them. The statistics are used to determine the price of insurance policies. Big insurance companies know there is a misunderstanding by most people about injuries and low speed accidents. Big insurance companies thrive on misinformation: most people, including jurors, walk into courtrooms all across the USA with preconceived ideas. They think people who claim serious injuries, hospitalization, neck or back surgery based on low speed impacts are just trying to cash in on a car accident. Big insurance companies use this misinformation, to build a defense.
So, the next time you see a bad accident remember: accidents at any speed are dangerous.
In my years of practice I have helped hundreds of accident injury victims, most of whom were injured in “low speed” crashes.
If you are searching for a Personal Injury Attorney in Flagler County I’ll be more than happy to speak with you. Just fill out the form below, and you’ll hear from me to discuss your matter.