Virginia Personal Injury Attorney | Minor Property Damage Does Not Necessarily Equate to Minor Injury

Portner & Shure Law Firm Serving Maryland, Virginia & Washington D.C.

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Almost daily we are confronted with insurance companies denying liability for injuries based solely on the amount of property damage sustained by the attendant vehicle. This notion flies in the face of all reason.

The dollar value to steel and fiberglass is going to be significantly less than the value of medical expenses for Whiplash injuries. Automobile manufacturers design vehicles to provide maximum protection to its occupants while also providing minimal material damage in a collision. In other words, the break away or spring enhanced bumpers are designed to give way and reduce the damage to the steel frame of the vehicle. This does not mean that the occupants of that vehicle will not sustain significant and permanent injuries.

A low speed impact refers to any collision ranging from 1-2 miles per hour, up to 20-25 miles per hour. Biomechanic Researchers, White and Punjabe, noted that an 8 MPH, rear end collision, can result in a 2G force acceleration of the rear ended vehicle and a 5G force acceleration acting upon the occupant's head and neck. For reference, 1G force is about 32 feet per second.

White and Punjabe have shown that the head and neck of a vehicle occupant experiences more G forces than the vehicle itself. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the property damage is going to be significantly less than the bodily injury sustained and the treatment for the injury.

So why do insurance companies continue to beat this dead horse. The answer is this. They have to provide some reason or defense to attempt to resolve personal injury claims for as little as possible. Further, soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, do not show up on x-rays or imaging studies. Insurance companies are essentially telling the general public, if we don't see it on an x-ray, then we don't see it at all.

Victims of automobile accidents, with injuries, even those that don't show up on an x-ray, are encouraged to seek sound medical treatment, continue all treatment, and follow all instructions given by your physician. Your attorneys will battle the insurance company for you, all you have to do is concentrate on getting well and returning to your normal activities of daily living.