After an auto accident, one of the most difficult things to deal with is the uncertainty and insurance hoops that follow. Not knowing if you are seriously injured, only adds to the stress of an already difficult situation. Knowing the truth and what your case is worth can make a BIG difference in how well you bounce back after a car accident in Richmond, KY. To that end, we would like to clear up a few things to empower you with knowledge so you may better handle your car wreck.
Car Accident Misconceptions
Misconception # 1- People who claim they are injured from an auto accident are just faking and trying to make a quick buck.
The vast majority of people who claim they have been injured in an auto accident HAVE actually been injured. The fact that you have injuries and feel pain is not abnormal and is not suspicious. When two vehicles collide, it involves thousands of pounds of steel colliding together at high speeds and you are caught in the middle. It isn’t any wonder that you have been injured as a result. However, there are people out to abuse the system by faking injury. During an examination, it usually takes about 30 seconds to tell a real injury from a fake injury.
Misconception #2 – Injuries from an auto accident should heal within 6 to 12 weeks.
This is one of those statements that people tend to believe and perpetuate, when in fact the truth is the exact opposite. According to a report by Watkinson and Gargan (1), after an average period of 10.8 years, 86% of patients who suffered a motor vehicle related injury experienced ongoing, related residual pain on a long-term basis with 68% eventually displaying degenerative changes on x-ray imaging. 1. Watkinson A, Gargan MF, Bannister GC. Prognostic factors in soft tissue injuries of the cervical spine. Injury. 1991 Jul; 22(4): 307-9.
Misconception #3 – Auto accident injuries work in proportion to the amount of damage to a vehicle. Put another way, if there is minor damage to the vehicle then the wreck couldn’t have hurt anyone.
This is scientifically untrue (but it doesn’t stop the insurance adjusters). According to Martinez (1), an eight mile per hour rear end collision produces twice the normal force of gravity (2g) in acceleration of the vehicle. The occupants head will actually experience 5g of acceleration. At 8 Miles an Hour! MnNab (2) further showed that a 15 mph collision will accelerate the vehicle to 10g and the occupants head (and neck) to 20 – 25g. Additional research has been performed since this time and still no direct correlation has ever been found linking degree of car damage to severity of injury. (3) (1) Martinez, J.; Garcia, D. “A Model for Whiplash.” J. Biomech. 1968; 1:23. (2) McNab, I. “Acceleration Extension Injuries of the Cervical Spine.” The Spine, vol. II. Rothman, Richard, and Simeone 1975. (3) Freeman MD, Croft AC, Rossignol AM, Weaver DS, Reiser M. A review and methodologic critique of the literature refuting whiplash syndrome. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1999 Jan 1; 24(1): 86-96.
Misconception #4 – If you don’t feel pain right away, you haven’t been injured that badly.
Most people will feel pain from an auto accident within the first 72 hours, but this is not always the case. In some instances, such as with soft tissue injuries, you may not notice any symptoms until 1-2 weeks after the wreck. This is due to inflammation having a tendency to build up over time. This process can be slow and gradual at times. Another factor is the “pain gating” principle. Simply stated, this means that your body mainly detects or feels the most painful injury, which will act to mask or cover up other injuries. Once the most severe of your injuries and pain have calmed down, you may start to notice additional areas of injury. These injuries have been there all along, you just didn’t notice them because your pain in one area was so severe that your body blocked the other pains.
Misconception #5 – If you have been in an auto accident, seek care within the first 30 days following an accident.
If you have been in an auto accident, consult a physician such as a medical doctor or visit the ER within the first 30 days of the accident. Don’t delay and put this off because the insurance company will use that against you, even if you are seriously hurt. If you have an injury, it is better to find it early and begin treatment rather than wait until it becomes a bigger problem that may require more extensive treatment. If you delay in treatment, then the insurance company may deny your claim; don’t give them that opportunity.
Now that you are aware of these misconceptions, and armed with the truth, you will be prepared to handle the immediate questions if you are ever involved in a vehicle collision in the future.