Auto Accident Injuries Frequently Asked Questions

Auto Accident Injuries Frequently Asked Questions

Are you easily distracted, forgetful, mentally fatigued, and moody?  Do you have difficulty searching for words, making decisions, and can’t multitask?  If you’ve been in an auto accident and this description fits, you may be a whiplash victim.

Is There an Auto Accident Injury Epidemic?

Yes.  The insurance industry as a whole would like everyone to believe that it’s impossible to be injured in a car crash when there is little to no vehicular damage.  It’s in their best interests to promote this myth as long as they can get away with it.  Sadly, 3 million whiplash injuries occur annually in the U.S.A.  Almost half of those injured will experience long-term or permanent pain or disability.  Furthermore, auto accidents are also the largest cause of traumatic brain injuries in the U.S.  Both conditions combined are responsible for costs in excess of $200 billion annually.  This is a larger problem with greater impact to society and public health than chronic disease.

Why Don’t Auto Makers Do Something About the Problem?

Whiplash injuries have been on the rise worldwide since the 80’s largely resulting from increased fleet stiffness, stiffer seats, and other structural changes.  There is a universal lack of interest in preventing whiplash injuries.  There is no real incentive for automakers to make any changes until they are legally required.  Even then, history has repeatedly shown that they will wait until the last possible second to confirm.

Who is More at Risk?

Surprisingly, women are more commonly injured in motor vehicle crashes (MVC) even though men are more accident-prone.  Furthermore, women suffer more severe injuries!  It has long been known that women are at twice the risk of injury, and twice as likely to become permanently impaired as men.

Who is Most Likely to be Permanently Injured?

Women are twice as likely to be permanently injured than men.  Children appear to be more resilient than adults but that does not preclude them from being injured.  Children have greater recuperative powers such that less permanent injury persists over time.

At What Speeds do the Most Injuries Occur?

Would you believe that injuries are more prevalent at low speeds between 2.5 to 6 mph and that it can take years for symptoms to emerge?  It has long been known that women are at twice the risk for injury, and twice as likely to become permanently injured as men.  The German Autobahn is considered by many to be the safest highway in the world.  Even so, auto crashes still occur and some of them in areas without any speed limits.  As contradictory as this may sound, we have more highway fatalities in the U.S.A

Why are Women More Severely Injured in Auto Accidents?

In the first place, women are more likely to be injured vs. men since they are:  lighter, physically less muscular, shorter, more fragile, and anatomically different.  In addition, car seats are designed for the average 5’ 10” male including head restraints, safety belts, and airbags.  Making matters worse, the majority of head restraints and car seats are improperly adjusted to the occupant.  Did you know that it’s estimated that 80% of children are improperly restrained?

Are Children Even More at Risk?

Absolutely.  It’s estimated that 80% of children are improperly restrained?  That statistic alone is an alarming one, considering that most of those injuries and fatalities are preventable.

How Can Injuries Occur if My Vehicle Isn’t Damaged?

Every day, thousands of people are injured in Low-Speed Rear Impact Collisions (LOSRIC).  LOSRICs comprise the largest group of crashes producing occupant injuries, in spite of no vehicle damage.  This is due to the fact that all of the energy has gone into the occupants bypassing the vehicle.  At high speeds, vehicles are designed to deform thereby absorbing some kinetic energy and sparing passengers from harm.  At low speeds, the crush zones of most cars are not effectively engaged to dissipate this energy.

Is it True That Safety Belts Don’t Protect You From Injury?

Yes.  Safety belts are designed to prevent fatalities, not injuries.  The risk for whiplash injuries increases with safety belt use.  It’s not uncommon to see cracked ribs, friction burns, or spinal fractures attributed to proper seatbelt use.  That being said, injuries can heal, while fatalities can’t!

Does the Impact Speed Matter in a Collision?

Yes, but the truth is actually the opposite of what most people have accepted as fact.  You can be more severely injured at low vs. high speeds.  For academic purposes, High-Speed Rear Impact Collisions (HISRIC) are defined as those above 12mph.  Interesting fact, on the German Autobahn where there is no speed limit, there are fewer fatalities than here in the United States.  Since most of us don’t drive cars capable of reaching >200 mph speeds, this problem is academic.

How Soon Do Symptoms Generally Appear?

You can expect the first signs of neck/back injury to appear between 24 to 72 hours post-trauma.  Most accident victims are in a state of shock immediately after an accident that may persist for some time.  There is a phenomenon called Late Whiplash for which symptoms begin to present at 6 months and beyond.  This is extremely problematic from a legal standpoint where causation is concerned.  Most cases of Late Whiplash are misdiagnosed, attributed to other events, or dismissed as malingering.  Chiropractors are specifically trained to identify and treat these most difficult and confounding of cases.

Who is the Best Equipped to Treat Auto Accident Injuries?

In cases of severe traumatic injury, it’s always best to seek prompt medical care and diagnostic imaging to rule out any obvious fractures or dislocations.  However, in mild to moderate cases, it generally be more beneficial and efficient to seek Chiropractic care.  Chiropractors are familiar with the biomechanics and the mechanisms of injury related to car crashes.  From a treatment perspective, treatment comparisons made between medicine, acupuncture, and chiropractic spinal manipulation indicate a rather profound superiority for chiropractic treatment.  After 9 weeks of care, chiropractic spinal manipulation achieved asymptomatic status in 27% of patients, compared to 9.4% for acupuncture, and only 5% for medicine.  Chiropractic care is effective in 93% of cases concerning late whiplash as well.