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The Speed Myth: Why Low Velocity

Apr 9, 2008
According to The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre (Thatcham) around 250,000 UK motorists received whiplash injuries every year and in around 25,000 cases the whiplash injury leads to some kind of permanent disability. However, the figure may actually be much higher with many whiplash injuries going unreported becomes of the low velocity of the accident.

It's a common misconception that whiplash injuries can only occur when vehicles are traveling at speed. As a result there are many accident victims suffering in silence from whiplash injuries caused at speeds of less than 10 mph.

Known as a Low Velocity Collision, accidents below 10 mph may have shown little or no damage to your vehicle due to the robust design specifications of modern car manufacturers. However, while there is no damage to the car, you could have sustained an injury that could, if left untreated, lead to long-term debilitating consequences.

There is a great deal of evidence to support the low velocity claim. A study by Jean-Sebastien Blouin of the School Of Human Kinetics at the University of Columbia has shown that the natural human "startle" response can cause sudden contraction of the neck muscles when you are startled during a car accident. Blouin staged car accidents at very low speed (4mph) and found that the incidence of injury was far higher in those with a more pronounced startle response.

Low velocity whiplash injury has a more pronounced affect on vulnerable people. The Brault Study of 1998 found that whiplash injury could occur in a minority of cases at speeds as low as 2.5mph. In this case most symptoms had disappeared within 48 hours and had no long-term affects. However, there a number of factors that increase the likelihood of injury at low speed: women, the elderly, and those with a history of neck and back problems are all at greater risk and if your head is turned at the moment of impact this can also mean a greater risk of whiplash.

If you sustain any kind of injury in a car accident, regardless of the speed you were traveling or whether there has been any vehicle damage, you are advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Sometimes whiplash symptoms may not appear until after the accident; again due to the low impact speed many people are inclined to right off their symptoms as a pain in the neck and avoid seeking medical attention. Not only could this lead to long-term problems but it may reduce the effectiveness of any claim which you may wish to put forward at a later date.

Whiplash, even at low speeds, can have long-term affects on your ability to work and on your lifestyle; if the accident was not your fault you may be able to receive compensation for any treatment you need to have and any reduction in your normal lifestyle such as loss of earnings. A reputable claims company such as 1stClaims, can advise you on your position and help you to achieve a fair settlement commensurate with your injuries. Our expert whiplash solicitors will also ensure that you receive treatment if necessary.

For further information, please visit http://www.1stclaims.co.uk.
About the Author
We deal in a range of claims, including whiplash claims and compensation.
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