Severity Of El Paso Rear-End Accidents Affects Likelihood Of Soft Tissue Injuries

Two cars in collision on roadway

Rear-end accidents in El Paso, Socorro, Horizon City and Fort Bliss can have lasting health consequences. An experienced rear-end accident lawyer knows the impact of a vehicle being rear-ended is absorbed by the body and may do major damage to soft tissues, especially in the neck. A soft-tissue injury can affect muscles, joints, and ligaments. It can be hard to diagnose but can be debilitating.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a study evaluating the impact of crash severity on the likelihood of sustaining soft-tissue injuries in a rear-end crash. In particular, the focus of the study was on whiplash associated disorders (WADs). Researchers reviewed the likelihood of a whiplash associated disorder based on severity of rear-impact accident.

How Does Crash Severity Impact Soft-Tissue Damage?

Researchers summarized past studies. One prior study found occupants of a vehicle involved in a rear-end crash were likely to experience immediate symptoms of whiplash associated disorders when the change in velocity of the vehicle was between 10 and 15 KM per hour. One study showed no immediate whiplash symptoms were felt by vehicle occupants when the change in velocity was up to 10.9 KM/h.

The new study looked at the long-term symptoms associated with WADs. The study involved vehicles on the Swedish market that had been equipped with crash pulse recorders designed to measure acceleration in rear-impact crashes. There were 150 crashes involving 207 front seat occupants included in the study. None of the people included had sustained any prior neck injuries before the rear-end accident.

The study found with a change in velocity of 8 km/h and a mean acceleration of 5g, there was a 20 percent chance of a vehicle occupant experiencing whiplash associated symptoms that lasted for more than one month. Researchers also pointed to past studies looking at the impact of rear-end crashes on longer-term whiplash symptoms. In one study, 21 percent of people in rear-impact collisions in Volvos said that they had experienced long-term health consequences after moderate crashes.

Women were more likely than men to experienced WAD symptoms after a rear-end crash based on recent data. There was also a relationship between the risks of rear-end crashes and the way the engine on the vehicle was mounted. People in vehicles with a longitudinally mounted engine had a higher risk of suffering a neck injury with long-term consequences than people in vehicles with a transversal mounted engine.

Drivers need to be aware of factors that affect the likelihood of developing WAD symptoms after a rear-end accident. Crash settlements should not be reached until enough time has passed to determine extent of injuries and whether soft-tissue damage will improve or whether lasting symptoms will cause ongoing pain. Even moderately-severe accidents can lead to soft tissue damage so drivers and passengers should not assume that a minor accident caused them no harm.

An accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC can help victims of injury in El Paso and suburbs including Socorro, Horizon City and Fort Bliss. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 or visit to schedule your free consultation.

Michael J. Gopin

Michael J. Gopin has practiced law in El Paso since 1987. Even after more than 30 years, he still remembers his first jury case. It was two weeks after receiving his license, when he represented a person whose life had been forever changed after being blinded in a work-related incident...


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