If you are involved in an accident and are in a van or light truck, the type of vehicle that may be equipped with a trailer hitch, you are at an increased risk to suffer certain forms of injury.
According to a studies conducted and results released through Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 2005 and Accident Analysis & Preventions 32 (2000) 187-195), occupants in vans or light trucks are at an increased risk for cervical and lumbar injuries. This risk is associated with the frame of the vehicle that distributes the forced of the collision onto the occupant of the vehicle, rather than through the plastic of the vehicle. The injury is a difference between the acceleration of the individual in the vehicle and the vehicle itself.
Trailer Hitches Affect Rear End Collision Injuries
Trailer hitches were the subject of an alert in 2011 that was posted by the National Safety Commission. In this alert, it was documented that 40% of vehicles on the highway have receiver hitches. These hitches reduce the damage from a rear end collision and increase the risk of occupants suffering whiplash or “crash pulse”.
According to the National Safety Commission Alert, “In a European study by Chalmers with data from Folksam and Autoliv they concluded that a vehicle equipped with a receiver hitch (tow bar) increases the risk of whiplash by 22% if it is hit in the rear. And in the United States the most frequent vehicle accident is the rear end collision.”
This finding is especially troubling as our office deals with collision such as this on a regular basis. We have seen firsthand the damage that such accidents cause to individuals. If an individual is a passenger or driver in the vehicle that is struck from behind and has a hitch, they will move forward at 2.5 times more than the vehicle that struck them. This equates to an individual flying forward at 12-13 mph if they are hit at a rate of speed of 5 mph. This is enough to injure someone, resulting in whiplash or more serious accident injuries.
Even when trailer hitches are not taken into account, the frame of a van can act the same way. This is concerning as it increases the likelihood of an accident victim suffering whiplash due to the crash.
Injured in a Rear End Collision
If you were the occupant of a van or vehicle carrying a hitch and suffered serious injury in a rear end collision, we advise that you seek the guidance of a car accident lawyer. You can contact one of the lawyers at our office by calling 800.637.8170. They will not only review your case with you over the phone, gaining insight into the accident and the injuries that you sustained, but they will also offer you legal advice regarding the steps that you should take.
For more information regarding the legal process of filing an injury claim after an accident, request a free copy of The Ohio Accident Book so you are able to have the information you need at your fingertips.