Compensation Payouts for low speed impact injuries

Low-speed impacts are collisions which take place at less than 10mph. Injuries suffered as a result of these types of impacts has been the centre of much controversial debate in recent times.

30km per hour sign

Insurance companies generally take the stance that if there is minimal material damage to the vehicle then as a standard rule there should be no injuries suffered by the occupants of the vehicle. In certain circumstances, the insurance company has indicated that the amount of material damage will determine the amount of the personal injuries. There is no scientific basis for such a theory.

It is understood that vehicles by their very nature and structure have been developed to withstand these types of impacts, however, the human body is not.

Claims for compensation in relation to injuries suffered as a result of low-speed impacts between vehicles has been vilified by insurance companies as involving exaggerated claims, however it must be considered that the impacting vehicle’s kinetic energy is transferred to the other vehicle on impact, therefore creating a situation where there is potential for injury at a low impact. The impact which causes these injuries to the occupant of the vehicle, as in every personal injury scenario, must be assessed on a case by case basis.

Minimum impact defence is often raised by the insurance company solicitor this and the other side will invariably engage a forensic engineer with specific expertise in dealing with these types of cases. The case will be made to the court about the impact and, although minor, will cause injury to the occupant.

In a recent decision by Judge Linnane in February 2016 after hearing evidence from a forensic engineer awarded almost €16k compensation for a low impact collision where the occupant’s vehicle was stationary at the time of impact, the material damage was minimal but the medical reports of the injuries were previously agreed.

If an insurance company raises an issue in relation to the extent of the injuries suffered as a result of the accident they are obliged to prove these allegations in Court.

Although modern technology and the advancement of mechanics has allowed for vehicles to become more resilient to damage during impacts and as such minimising vehicle damage, it generally does not lower the impact to the occupant. The view that the injury should be limited to the physical damage to the vehicle has no basis in science and low speed impacts have resulted in legitimate personal injury claims.

If you have been involved in a low speed incident, talk to us about making a claim. Get in touch via info@gibsonandassociates.ie or call us on 1890 989 289. You may also want to read more about making a personal injury claim.

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