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Vehicle Damage in Relation to Bodily Damage

Drivers and passengers involved in low speed crashes may experience injury even if their car was not severely damaged.

Have you ever watched a NASCAR race when there is a crash and wondered how the driver can get up and walk away when his car has been left in pieces? His car is designed to absorb as much impact force as possible. Instead of the energy created from the high speed collision going to his body, it is distributed to the car, causing it to break apart. Tap the same car from behind driving slower and the driver may need treatment for whiplash. Insurers do not want you to know about this phenomenon. They prefer for you to believe that the degree of injury to your body should at least equal the degree of damage done to your vehicle.  Their goal is to get your claim settled quickly and with minimal cost to them. They will not hesitate to try and intimidate you with comparisons between your neck pain and the damage to your car.

car accident injury damages


The most common injury associated with a low speed rear end collision is whiplash. Whiplash is a term used to describe injury to the neck that affects the muscles or tendons. Neck muscles strain from the sudden forward and then backward jerking of the head that is seen when a vehicle is hit from behind. The force of the impact is almost entirely absorbed by the driver and any passengers. Little to no damage may be inflicted on the car, but its occupants may suffer severely.

More than half of all car accident claims are for compensation for an injury that was sustained in a collision occurring under 10 mph.

Settling Your Claim

Take for example the case of a Missouri passenger who was in the lead car of 3 vehicle collision. A tractor trailer struck the middle car which in turn rear ended the lead car. The middle car had major damage but the front one needed less than $2,000 to repair some minor dents. The passenger in that car injured her back and neck. Defense counsel tried to argue that the severity of pain that the woman was claiming to have did not correspond to the small amount of damage to the car. An argument that is easily refuted by medical experts. When confronted with such expert testimony the insurance company decided to settle the claim for $800,000.

Do not let the fact that your car was not completely totaled from a rear impact deter you from seeking medical attention. In over 20% of whip lash victims, there is no pain immediately following the accident. It could take up to 2 days for the symptoms to appear during which you may be unwittingly inflicting more damage.

St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers

Without all of the protective gear surrounding NASCAR drivers, they would not walk away from most high speed collisions. The difference is that in higher speed crashes, impact force is distributed differently causing a great amount of damage to the vehicle causing the occupants to collide with the cars’ interior or be ejected from it. If an insurance adjustor is trying to intimidate you with a “no vehicle damage, no personal injury” defense, call a St. Louis car accident attorney at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C.

Call (314) 361-4242 to schedule a free consultation.

Updated: October 14, 2022