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How Can I Be Hurt In a Car Crash Where My Bumper Looks Fine?

Posted by: Chad Hemmat | Friday, April 25, 2014 | 0 Comments | Back to Personal Injury Blog

car accidentHonest folks who are not looking for a payday will frequently spend days after a crash trying to convince themselves that they couldn't possibly be hurt because, after all, the car looked fine. We take half a dozen calls per week where the crash victims’ vehicles suffered little to no visible damage. The crash victims tell us that despite the low property damage, they are in a significant amount of pain. The insurance industry wants you to believe that a low speed collision or crash that results in low property damage cannot cause injury. Nevertheless, you should be hesitant to drink the insurance industry’s Kool-Aid on this issue because scientific studies and empirical data do not support this misinformed position.

You might have heard that bumpers on cars are designed to prevent vehicle damage for impacts up to 5 mph. First, however, when we all weren't looking, the auto industry quietly pressured the Federal government into loosening these regulations. Now, Federal regulations only require that a bumper not distort at impacts of 2.5 mph or less. However, the "5 mph bump" standard got stuck in our lexicon and we continue to assume that impacts with immovable objects at or below 5 mph cannot cause injury. Nevertheless, no government or even private study has ever made such a conclusion.

An even less recognized phenomenon is the huge variability of impact speeds on vehicle damage.  In a world where we expect products to only perform at the minimum standards imposed by Federal regulations, study after study has shown a large degree of unpredictability in bumper damage at variable speeds. Many impacts tests have shown that even when the impact exceeded 17 mph, the collision does not cause any observable bumper damage. Accordingly, at speeds of 17 mph or greater, the occupants can suffer injury even if the bumper looks fine.  If these studies are read properly, they clearly demonstrate that there is no low-end threshold speed or property damage amount where occupant injury is not possible.  Simply said, there is little to no factual evidence for the insurance industry’s claim that an occupant cannot be injured in a low impact crash.

Conclusion:
If the insurance company is telling you that you could not have been injured in a Denver car crash because there was no damage to your car, do not assume that they are right.  There are no definitive scientific studies that support the insurance company’s misinformed position.  Personal injury claims are so much more complicated than “your car was not damaged so you were not injured.”  If you were injured in a low damage collision, please call (303) 782-9999 and speak with one of the injury attorneys at Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn today. 


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