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The Typical Trucking Whiplash Injury

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Every day a gazallion vehicles zoom along Americas highways and that number continues to increases at an incredible rate of speed. We’re all in a hurry. We drive too fast, follow to close and don’t pay attention anywhere near as much as we should. Because of this, year in and year out, truck accidents continue to multiply. Recent statistics show that more than 12 million Americans are treated each year for motor vehicle accident injuries. That number continues to increase like wildfire!

THE TYPICAL “WHIPLASH TYPE” INJURY: Approximately 40 to 45% of impacts are caused by the front of one vehicle plowing into the rear of another. This, more than anything else, causes the typical “whiplash-type” of tissue damaged injury.

Although tissue damage frequently occurs at the time of the accident, the “symptoms” may not show up right away. Tests reveal that when the front of a 3,500-pound car, traveling at only 10 miles per hour, strikes the rear of another vehicle, it can transmit a force of 25 tons to the motor vehicle it struck.

Few people realize that an untreated neck or back injury from a motor vehicle accident is likely to develop into arthritis in later years, adding more pain and disability. In fact, recent studies show that nearly 40% of whiplash victims end up with arthritis within five years of the injury.

When you think of injuries, you think of high-speed accidents, but experts say whiplash also happens in low speed crashes - - even when there’s no damage to the vehicle!

The force to the neck due to a shifting and snapping, forward and backward action, is often up to five times greater than the force of the collision itself, and (unfortunately) the use of seatbelts actually speeds up the “whipping motion” of the neck, causing even more injury.

YOU’RE RUSHED TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM: The typical Emergency Room is equipped to evaluate life-threatening conditions and provide emergency aid treatment only. The staff focuses on broken bones, hemorrhaging, internal injuries, and “Emergency Situations“. Beyond that, there’s not much else they can do. Unfortunately, a lot of the damage done in a rear impact accident, does not show up in the Emergency Room x-rays. Very often it’s not until several hours (or even days!) later that the symptoms of a “whiplash-type” of injury becomes apparent.

TREATMENT: This type of an injury should be treated just as aggressively as a broken bone because the potential for long-term consequences can be greater in soft tissue injury than in broken bones. So, what happens to the soft tissue in an accident? The answer to that is even in a slow speed collision, the forces applied to bones, muscles, and joints of the body are clearly capable of inflicting significant injury. Almost all joints are pulled and twisted. Why? Because the body of the occupant is first accelerated forward in his seat. The head remains relatively stationary while the body moves forward underneath. This inflicts tremendous force on the neck. Then, just as the neck is stretched to (or even beyond) its normal limits, the torso has stopped its forward motion, the neck snaps back. When this takes place the head has accelerated up to five times the G-force of the impact - - and then back! Muscles and ligaments can be stretched beyond their breaking strength. Discs can be damaged. Nerve roots or the spinal cord can be injured permanently.

WILL A SOFT TISSUE INJURY HEAL ITSELF?: The answer to that is not a simple “yes” or “no” because, without immediate and proper treatment, while it often does heal - - it can do so somewhat imperfectly!

In one study, it was determined that patients who had a whiplash-type of injury, 39-60% of them developed osteoarthritis in the ensuing years.

In another famous study patients were interviewed more than two years following the settlement of their cases. Without the proper care, 45% continued to complain of ongoing pain and disability (in the area of their neck and/or shoulders) which was determined to be directly related to their accident.

WHAT TO DO? When you see your physician or chiropractor you should complain, complain and complain!

Don’t allow yourself to be conned with something like, “I’m sorry, I know it hurts but just wait awhile. It’ll go away”! That’s a hogwash of an answer.

You’re entitled to treatment by an “expert“ and/or a team of them. Ask around (they’re out there) and you’ll find one. No matter how long it takes make sure, (when you’re finally released from treatment) that your “whiplash-type” injury has been completely repaired. If you don’t than you have only yourself to blame.

In January of 2005 it was written (within the confines of The Insurance Journal), “In 2003 more than 25% of motor vehicle accidents resulted in bodily injury claim”. And, in a 2004 study (executed via Trends In  Injury Claims) it was stated, “Personal injury claims remain high”.

Records indicate that many people involved in motor vehicle accidents, are embarrassed to seek medical attention because of what they’ve determine to be bumps and bruises, and they didn’t seem serious enough or because the onset of the symptoms did not immediately occur.

HOWEVER: Just as soon as possible, after that impact, an initial evaluation at a local Emergency Room is positively recommended!

THE REASON FOR THAT IS: X-rays can be performed which will generally rule out broken bones or factures. PLUS: Muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications can immediately be prescribed so as to address muscle strains and/or pulls.

If the onset of a serious injury is delayed, the failure to have a medical complaint recorded will affect your physical recovery. Back and neck injuries (like a herniated disc) are not always immediately determinable. They are often initially diagnosed as “Soft Tissue” injuries before an MRI or a CT Scan reveals a disc injury. Normal x-ray film - - cannot diagnose a disc injury!

HERE’S SOME FACT’S OF INSURANCE CLAIM LIFE BY THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE - - WHO WAS INVOLVED IN SUCH MATTERS FOR OVER THREE DECADES! If the adjuster can prove it (and then attempt to hang his hat on the reason “Why” he’s refusing to pay a personal injury claim) he’ll often take the position of, “It’s because there’s been a long and serious delay in receiving treatment”. Or, “Too many time-gaps in the treatment have occurred”.

Ending either one of those conclusions with, “It’s clear the impact had absolutely nothing to do what the claimant was later complaining of and being treated for”.


Whiplash hurls your head backward (causing Hyper-Extension) and forward (causing Hyper-Flexion) the both of which will absolutely injure your neck. Whiplash has been determined to be the most common injury resulting from a truck accident. It can cause injury to joints, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles and nerves.

A Whiplash can be short term or long life, because it can leave your neck forever vulnerable to injury. It leads to a long-term disability in 10% of those 1,000,000 people who have been “Whip-Lashed” (because of a motor vehicle accident in the United States) every year !

Records indicate that nearly 25% of those cases result in chronic pain and disability for an individual’s lifetime.

After a Whiplash injury your neck’s natural curve may be reversed, which can unevenly distribute the weight of your head and may furthermore misalign the vertebra. This can lead to arthritic degeneration and recurring pain. Records indicate that 1 in 7 whiplash victims will still have significant pain more than 3 years after the accident!

According to research published in late 2004 “MOST SEATS FAIL THE WHIPLASH TEST”. It was determined that almost two thirds (of what are advertised as “Normal” seats) left motorists vulnerable to painful whiplash injuries. Of all the models tested 18 were rated as “Good”, 27 were rated as “Acceptable” however all of the others were rated either “Marginal” or “Poor”.

In a 2004 edition the National Association Of Mutual Insurance Companies stated, “From 1980 to 2003, the Bodily Injury Claim rate increased by 19%”. They went on to say, “There were 1.05 Personal Injury claims per 100 insured vehicles”.



You’ve got to be wary of the insurance adjuster contacting you, requesting a statement so he can, “Settle your claim”.

In most instances the only reason the adjuster from the other insurance company wants your statement is so to determine if he can build a defense against your claim or make his payment to you, as low as possible.

Adjusters contact you (under the pretext of helping you to settle your claim) and then attempt to use the information they’ve obtained - - to minimize your claim.

Unless the Police Report clearly places the fault on the other driver you must be very careful how you “Handle” or “Deal” with the adjuster assigned to your case because the adjuster is paid, and moved up the claims ladder, partly because of what he knows, and learned on-the-job, about insurance claims, but mostly because of how profoundly he’s capable of taking advantage of those who have a legitimate one.

DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this insurance claim article THE TYPICAL TRUCK ACCIDENT "WHIPLASH-TYPE" INJURY is to help truck owners and/or drivers understand the motor vehicle accident process. Neither Dan Baldyga, Scott Elgin, TRUCKINFO.NET now SHOP TALK make any guarantee of any kind whatsoever; NOR do they purport to engage in rendering any professional or legal service, NOR to substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like. Where such professional help is desired it is the INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain said services.

Dan Baldyga’s third and latest book, AUTO ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY INSURANCE CLAIM (How To Evaluate And Settle Your Loss) is on the internet at of . This book explains "How To" handle your motor vehicle property damage and/or personal injury claim so you won't be taken advantage of. It also contains BASE (The Baldyga Auto Accident Settlement Evaluation Formula). THE BASE FORMULA  will advise how to determine the value of the "Pain and Suffering" you endured - - because of your motor vehicle accident injury.

Copyright (c) 2004 by Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights Reserved

Dan Baldyga - Author
19 Winona Drive, West Springfield, MA 01089
Phone: (413) 733-0127  FAX: (413) 731-8358
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(How To Evaluate And Settle Your Loss)

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