Rear-end Accidents and the Seriousness of Resulting Whiplash Injuries
Whiplash is a common result of rear-end car accidents. This condition can vary in severity from mild neck pain lasting for a few days, to serious discomfort lasting for weeks or months. Predicting what sorts of accidents will result in serious or long-lasting whiplash symptoms has historically been difficult for researchers to do, since it would not be possible to put a human test subject in a position to be seriously harmed in a crash, and test dummies do not provide a perfect representation of the effects of an identical crash on a live human. Thus, considering how common rear-end accidents and whiplash are, the causes of and factors leading to whiplash in a rear-end crash are surprisingly little-known.
Research on auto accidents and their effects on vehicle occupants has become easier to do in recent years, with the increased prevalence of event data recorders. These devices, installed on nearly all new cars, monitor data received from sensors located throughout the vehicle, including the speed of the car and use of the car’s brakes or accelerator. While the data is normally being constantly recorded over every five seconds, when the car experiences an impact that deploys or nearly deploys the car’s airbags, the event data recorder will save information received from those sensors for the seconds immediately before and after the crash. This allows researchers to retrieve this data for use in examining what sorts of force and speed are present when a crash occurs, and to compare that information with medical reports on the car’s occupants to determine what injuries result from various types of crashes.
Recently, one group of Swedish researchers used data gathered by a car insurance carrier from its customers’ event data recorders after their cars were involved in a rear-end crash. The researchers looked at the cars’ change in velocity and mean acceleration (respectively, the change in how fast the car was going after a crash versus before, and how quickly the car changed speed), and found that, the more those two factors increased, the greater the chances that the cars’ occupants would experience whiplash symptoms lasting for a month or more. The researchers also found that women were more likely to experience symptoms of whiplash immediately after a crash than were men, and that women began to experience these symptoms when acceleration and change in velocity were lower more often than did men. Car manufacturers will hopefully use this information to create safety measures that more adequately prevent injury from rear-end crashes.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a rear-end accident in the areas surrounding Mobile, Alabama or Pensacola, Florida, contact the experienced personal injury and car accident attorneys at Whibbs Stone Barnett for a free consultation on your claims, at 1-888-219-4561.