The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note produced in partnership with Andrew Wilson provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Over the past decade or so, motor insurers have adopted and developed a strategy for identifying and dealing with road accident personal injury claims, particularly whiplash injury claims, which appear to arise from collisions at low speed.
Typically, such collisions will have occurred when:
the two or more vehicles involved were moving at low speed or, less commonly, their contact was by way of a glancing blow or nudge
one vehicle was stationary and another vehicle collided with it (often the rear) at very low speed
The defendant’s insurers, if they identify it as an appropriate case, may defend on the basis that:
it is not possible to suffer whiplash (or some other) injury in an impact occurring at such low speed, because there is a level of physical force upon a vehicle’s occupant below, which no injury can be sustained by the occupant and
accordingly, this claimant cannot satisfy the court that they suffered the alleged (or indeed any) injury in this accident
Note: the measure of the force applied to the vehicle that is hit is Delta V, which is the change in velocity—acceleration or deceleration.
The claimant’s counter-arguments include that whiplash associated disorder is recognised as arising from low-speed collisions, that vehicle damage is a poor indicator of the risk of injury and that Delta V calculations based on sometimes superficial
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