Portland low impact accident lawyers come up against the argument on a regular basis. The insurance company in court is trying to convince the jury that the injured victim who is rightly claiming compensation can’t really be as badly hurt as he’s claiming to be, because the car he was in when the accident occurred really wasn’t that badly damaged!
It’s true; the insurance companies would love to be able to convince the courts that there is a specific scientific correlation between the damage to a car and the injuries to the people inside, and they even produce some fancy jargon and formulas to back up this ludicrous claim. Experienced Portland low impact accident lawyers, on the other hand, have seen countless accidents that looked like mere “fender benders,” where their clients have suffered quite traumatic injuries to their neck, spine and other joints.
The Myth of the Low Impact Accident
In spite of completely legitimate claims being made by people who have been injured through no fault of their own, the insurance companies continue to perpetuate the myth that these people couldn’t really have been injured—at least not seriously—in low impact accidents. And the myths, because they’ve been repeated often enough, loudly enough, and have had millions of insurance company dollars spent on spreading tales of cheats, frauds and fakes, are starting to have the effect the insurance companies desire.
Claims are being denied all over the country, and the insurance companies are producing ever-more complex statistics and specialists to support their mean-spirited refusals to pay fair settlements to people who have suffered serious injuries in low impact accidents.
What is a “Low Impact” Accident?
A low impact accident is most often judged on the amount of money it would take to fix the car. Years ago, a dime-sized dent costing $50 to fill and paint would have constituted a low impact accident, and rightly so. Now, however, that figure doesn’t really suit the insurance companies’ argument, and they have driven that figure literally up into the mid-four figure range.
Insurers want to be able to go into court and argue that the case they are defending is a low impact case, i.e. one in which the claimant is clearly exaggerating his injuries. Therefore, it suits the insurance companies to claim that damages of as much as $5,000 to the vehicle alone actually constitute a low impact accident.
Low Impact = Low Injury Argument is Flawed
Portland low impact accident lawyers have little time for the myths being put forward by the insurance companies. They counter with arguments of their own, including:
- It’s impossible to make like-for-like comparisons between damage to a car and damage to a human body. Heads can’t be compared to headlights. Spinal cords can’t be compared with bumpers. Joints in the human body can’t be compared with shock absorbers in a car, and shredded skin and broken bones can’t be compared with scratched paint and dented doors!
- It is also not possible to compare the dollar damage to repair a vehicle with the cost of medical care and ongoing treatment for an injury that could cause pain and suffering for years on end. If auto mechanics had doctor’s degrees and charged doctor’s fees, the argument would still not be valid. Replacing a damaged radiator is not exactly the same thing as treating ruptured internal organs.
- Portland low impact accident lawyers also ask questions of their own. For example, do the insurance companies honestly expect a jury to believe that every person’s body reacts the same way to a low impact injury? Would an elderly woman with arthritis in both legs suffer the same kind of injuries as a 20-year-old middle linebacker? Some people bend, or indeed break, far easier than others, and for insurance companies to suggest that just because a car wasn’t that badly damaged, the person inside couldn’t have been damaged either, simply borders on the wrong side of ludicrous.
The Delta V theory employed by insurance companies
To explain how a person in a low impact collision could not possibly have been injured, insurance companies frequently trot out their “Delta V” formula. It’s not nearly as complex as they try to make it sound, but it’s certainly more flawed than they would like anyone to know. The basic premise is:
- “Delta V” refers to a change of velocity, or speed.
- When a vehicle that is standing still is struck by a moving vehicle (as often happens in low impact rear-end collisions), the car that has been struck goes from zero miles per hour to “x” miles per hour.
- The heavier the vehicle that does the striking and the faster that vehicle is moving, the faster will be the acceleration of the vehicle that was struck.
- The change in velocity of the struck vehicle is its positive “Delta V.”
- The vehicle that does the striking obviously slows significantly at the moment of impact, and their deceleration is referred to as their negative “Delta V.”
Here’s the problem with the way insurance companies use the Delta V argument. For starters, if their client was driving a lighter vehicle than the one they struck, the lighter vehicle will always have a higher-numbered Delta V. Therefore, the insurance companies will say that if their client, who had a negative Delta V of 10, for example, was not injured, then the claimant, who only has a Delta V of 7, could not possibly be injured!
Portland low impact accident lawyers counter that clearly flawed argument by pointing out that the forces exerted on the two different drivers are quite dissimilar in nature, and in their potential for doing damage. People who are struck from behind have their heads thrown back, causing terrible pressure on the neck and upper spinal column that simply is far more complex and dangerous than the forces exerted on the driver of the car that struck the stationary vehicle.
In spite of the obvious flaws in their desperate arguments, the insurance companies continue to put forward the little-damage = little-injury claims to anyone who will listen. Sadly, this can cost those people who have been seriously hurt in low impact accidents the chance to receive a fair and just settlement which they will need to pay their medical bills and to cover the wages they have lost from missing work, among other things.
It’s very important, therefore, that if you or someone you know has been injured in a low impact car accident, you shouldn’t try to take on the insurance companies on your own. First, get the medical help you need. Failure to see a doctor within three days of the accident gives the insurance company another big stick to beat you with. Once you’ve seen the doctor, call a reputable firm of Portland low impact accident lawyers and make an appointment for a free consultation, before you talk to the insurance company. Having a good personal injury lawyer on your side will ensure that the insurance company will be far less likely to make ludicrously low offers of compensation. An experienced attorney will also be able to answer your questions and let you know what to expect if you decide to proceed with your claim, and they can also tell you how much compensation you should expect to receive.