Do You Have a Case After a Low-Speed Rear Impact Collision?

A car that has rear-ended another, leading to a personal injury case.

A Low Speed Rear Impact Collision (LSRIC) is one in which two cars are in an accident, but the speed traveled was very low, i.e. under 10 miles per hour. At this speed, it’s common for there to be minimal or no property damage, so insurance adjusters will make a low-ball offer.

Low Speed Collisions CAN Cause Injury

So the question becomes, can a person actually be injured in a low speed rear impact collision? This has been a subject of debate and many articles have been written on the subject.

There is evidence that you can, indeed, sustain significant injury based on these events:

Upon impact, the receiving vehicle moves forward.
When this happens, the seat-back and headrest are moved into the torso and head of the occupant.
The upper bodies of passengers are jerked forward while the lower body is anchored to the seat because of the lower end of the seat belt, which is usually more secure.

The force with which the body is thrown forward depends on the combined speed at impact and how physically hard the car is, i.e. whether it absorbs the impact. Older cars are hard, whereas newer cars are built with absorption.

The soft tissues in a person’s neck or back, such as ligaments, tendons, and muscles, can be affected even by low-impact car crashes.

Elderly persons or those in poor physical condition with preexisting injuries in these areas are more susceptible to these types of injuries. Tall people may also be more at risk of whiplash injury, depending on the height of the headrest.

Actions to Take After a Low Speed Collision

If possible, take photographs of all vehicles, showing the areas of contact. Be sure to “walk the clock,” meaning that while circling the vehicle, take photographs from all sides, not just the impact area. Photograph the bumper shock isolators, if so equipped. Photograph the interior, airbags, the dashboard, and the steering wheel. Later at trial there may be claims that secondary impacts “pushed into vehicle ahead” and so on. Photo documentation now can help refute such future claims. In addition:

  • Seek medical attention for your injuries and be sure to save all documentation, such as reports and receipts.
  • Get appraisals for repairs needed for either or both vehicles.
  • Obtain a police report.
  • Get one or more witness accounts. Often the police report will contact an accurate witness account.
  • Make sure the right questions are included in the deposition.

Hire a Skilled Car Accident Attorney

There are two key reasons why it’s a good idea to consult with a car accident attorney in a low-speed rear impact collision case.

  1. Because so many insurance adjusters will argue that you cannot be injured if the speed of the accident was low. Remember, it’s an insurance adjuster’s job to keep you from receiving a settlement. It will take some extensive research and argumentation to get you the compensation you deserve.
  2. Because biomechanics are likely to be the basis of your case. You need to have a subject matter expert prove scientifically that your injuries were caused by the low-impact collision.

A credible personal injury lawyer won’t charge you for a consultation, and services should be free if they don’t win your case. When in doubt, there’s no risk in contacting our office to share your story.

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