Can a low speed collision cause a whiplash injury?
Whiplash symptoms to be alert for include:
- Soreness and tenderness of neck and shoulders
- Reduced movement in head and neck
- Dizziness and a sense of imbalance
- A headache with the centre of the pain focused on the base of the skull
Whiplash can also cause fatigue, depression, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating or remembering details.
If you are suffering any of these symptoms or have any other reason to suspect that you may be suffering from a whiplash injury, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible from your general practitioner.
You will be advised of the best course of treatment for your injuries which is likely to be strong painkillers, gentle mobility exercises and depending on the severity, a course of physiotherapy.
Modern cars are designed with crumple zones. In higher velocity impacts, the car crumples; the crumple zone acting as a cushion and absorbing much of the force of the crash so that it is not transferred to the occupants or, at least, is significantly reduced. Crumple zones are located at the front and rear many vehicles.
However, in low velocity impacts when the forces involved in a collision are minor, the cars crumple zone does not activate and all of the force of the collision is borne by the people inside the car – and the cervical spine, situated just beneath the head, typically bears more of this force than any other part of the body.
Of course, drivers and passengers involved in higher speed collisions are likely to sustain other serious injuries such as crush injuries and broken bones, but the activated crumple zone is there to hopefully take the impact of the force. This is why the belief that whiplash injuries can’t be sustained in low-speed collisions (which includes collisions where the vehicles are travelling as slow as 15kmh) is incorrect.
HOW SPEED HAS A BEARING ON THE TYPE OF INJURIES YOU ARE LIKELY TO SUSTAIN DURING AN ACCIDENT
The speed at which a crash occurs certainly effects the type and severity of injuries sustained. Whilst whiplash can be sustained in both low speed (up to 15 km/h) and moderate to high speed collisions, it is likely that in moderate to high speed collisions, additional injuries such as broken bones, head injuries and concussion may also be sustained. However, in higher speed collisions the activated crumple zone is there to hopefully take the impact of the force. This is why the belief that whiplash injuries can’t be sustained in low-speed collisions (which includes collisions where the vehicles are travelling as slow as 15kmh) is incorrect.
If you have been involved in a low speed collision in Queensland and believe you have a sustained whiplash injury, or any other injury, as a result of the accident, you should obtain legal advice from a solicitor as soon as possible. Zaparas Lawyers are experts in whiplash claims and offer a No Win No Fee service.
*This piece was written by Stuart Macleod, Lawyer in the Zaparas Lawyers QLD office specialising in WorkCover, CTP, Public Liability and Occupational diseases.