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Dune Finkleberry
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Message 13738 - Posted 11 Sep 2010 21:44:02 UTC

    OK. I'm not real big on Physics, but I know that there are others in here that are a bit more physics oriented than I am.

    Picture for a moment two cars stopped at a traffic light. Red car and blue car. Excuse the rough drawing below. It's just for illustration purposes only.



    Enter into the picture gray car lets say traveling at 25 MPH. Gray car doesn't see that traffic is stopped, and slams into blue car, which in turn hits red car. Would there be a pronounced whiplash effect on red car over blue car?

    A little history on this is my wife driving the red car, was hit waiting at a red light in the rear by the blue car because he was hit by the gray car. The gray car was deemed responsible for the accident and has to pay costs pertaining to the repairs and hospitalization of my wife for whiplash. (Not to mention the blue car who was really caught in between.) Am I making any sense?

    Weeks went by and my wife went back to the doc because of continued and unrelenting pain, and they finally ordered an MRI of my wife's neck and they've found 3 herniated discs in my wife's neck. She's in a great deal of pain. Now the doctor has to make a determination of whether the accident caused this, or if it was something that happened earlier. Now we know that she wasn't having a problem before the accident. But proving it is a completely different story.

    I'm theorizing that there would be an increased whiplash effect over the "slingshot" effect. But does my theory hold water? Of course any of your statements aren't really legally binding, but I'm trying to look at all the possibilities that are available to me.

    ** BTW.... I'm going to be posting at several forums trying to get the broadest range of answers. So you don't need to answer twice if you've seen it before. **
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    RandyC
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    Message 13740 - Posted 11 Sep 2010 22:47:21 UTC - in response to Message 13738.


      Enter into the picture gray car lets say traveling at 25 MPH. Gray car doesn't see that traffic is stopped, and slams into blue car, which in turn hits red car. Would there be a pronounced whiplash effect on red car over blue car?


      Not being a physic's major, I'm not sure what my opinion is worth, but here it is anyway...

      I am assuming that both red and blue cars are at a complete standstill. Any whiplash effect on the red car cannot exceed that applied to the blue car. It most likely would be lower, but how much I cannot say.

      The reasoning is this:
      1. when the gray car collides with the blue car, any energy transfer must overcome the inertia of the blue car before it begins to move.
      2. When the blue car makes contact with the red car, again, the inertia of the red car must be overcome before IT starts to move.
      3. Finally, the momentum of the red car has to overcome the inertia of your wife's body (probably not very hard to do), while the inertia of her head causes it to move backwards (in relation to the car) resulting in the whiplash injury.

      If the seat head restraint was not adjusted properly (an all too frequent occurrence), then instead of protecting her neck, it could have added to the injury.

      Now, if the blue car was actually in contact with the red car when the accident occurred, the rigid body of the blue car could transmit the energy of the gray card directly into the red car. But that doesn't seem to be the case here.

      Dune Finkleberry
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      Message 13741 - Posted 11 Sep 2010 23:22:09 UTC

        Thanks for that Randy. Yes. Both cars were at a standstill at the time, though I'm not sure how much distance was separating the red car to the blue one. I can only assume they were at a normal distance apart maybe 3 to 6 ft. or about 1 - 2 meters.

        I'm only assuming that since the speed limit posted was 25 MPH, and I doubt that he's going to admit to speeding through that area. That's how I came up with the speed of the gray car being 25 MPH.
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        swiftmallard
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        Message 13742 - Posted 11 Sep 2010 23:35:41 UTC

          Keith's explanation is essentially correct. Imaging a long line of cars stopped normally and the last one is rear ended. The pile up stops at some point. An amount of energy is lost at each car along the way, dependent in large part on the mass of each stopped car. The greater the mass of each stopped car, the more energy it will dispel with each collision. There are other variables at work here too, such as the effect of the drivers having their feet on their brakes, but the reasoning is sound.
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          Message 13743 - Posted 11 Sep 2010 23:39:45 UTC

            Last modified: 11 Sep 2010 23:43:12 UTC

            I have no idea of the injuries to the guy in the blue car. I do assume they were less though than my wife, who is probably 25 years his senior.

            When you're young, you tend to bounce much better. As for my wife's car.... it was totaled.
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            Message 13744 - Posted 12 Sep 2010 10:31:02 UTC - in response to Message 13741.

              Thanks for that Randy. Yes. Both cars were at a standstill at the time, though I'm not sure how much distance was separating the red car to the blue one. I can only assume they were at a normal distance apart maybe 3 to 6 ft. or about 1 - 2 meters.

              I'm only assuming that since the speed limit posted was 25 MPH, and I doubt that he's going to admit to speeding through that area. That's how I came up with the speed of the gray car being 25 MPH.


              I am NOT a physics anything...but the variable in all this would be the distance between the cars and whether the blue car driver took his feet off the brake when he was hit. Because if he kept his feet on the brake then most of the energy would be absorbed by his car and the friction of his tires on the road. If however he took his feet off the brakes, and/or hit the gas pedal, all of your calculations go out the window. Because then there would be little to no loss of momentum from car to car, meaning almost all the force would go thru one car straight to the next one. It happens all the time, 100 car vehicle wrecks because no one is paying attention and when they get hit their feet come off the pedals and they hit the car in front of them ,etc , etc, etc. The last car hit can have alot of damage, just like the first car hit!

              I got hit in the rear once and even though I kept my feet slammed on the brake pedal I hit the car in front of me, which hit the car in from of him, which hit the car in front of him. I saw here coming in the mirror and thought it was a kid doing one of those come up fast and then screech to a stop things. The lady that hit me put her foot on the brake pedal just once and when it bounced off the floor she started screaming and never hit the brakes again. IF she HAD pushed the brake pedal again she would have stopped just fine, her brake master cylinder was bad and had lost all pressure but the act of pressing the brake pedal had made it work again, so when the cop pressed on it it worked just fine. It took the insurance company mechanic to find the problem, after almost a week of testing. My insurance company handled everything!

              To answer whether your wifes injury was caused by the wreck the easy answer is yes! She did not have pain before, now she does, so even if the disks were bulging before, which there is no evidence of, the guy who is at fault for the accident is at fault for your wifes injuries and time lost from her work. The idea being he needs to restore her to her pre-accident condition, or as close as he can. Now he WILL have an attorney too, the best thing is to either let your insurance company pay the bills and then they will take care of the other guy in court, or sue him yourself if they refuse. IMO sueing him yourself can be the long way and end up costing you much more than any winning will bring, he could just end up declaring bankruptcy and you would get nothing!

              Good luck and I hope your wife is okay and does NOT need surgery!!! And enjoy the new car!!

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              Message 13746 - Posted 12 Sep 2010 11:36:31 UTC

                If you sue the driver at fault yourself, he is simply going to make it part of his insurance claim, and now you are fighting the insurance company attorneys. Let your own insurance do that.

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                Message 13748 - Posted 12 Sep 2010 13:35:09 UTC

                  I meant Randy's explanation. Sorry if I created was any confusion.

                  Dune Finkleberry
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                  Message 13749 - Posted 12 Sep 2010 14:14:15 UTC - in response to Message 13748.

                    I meant Randy's explanation. Sorry if I created was any confusion.

                    I was wondering about that since my insurance company could care less. They are the ones being sued for damages for pain and suffering.
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                    Message 13750 - Posted 12 Sep 2010 16:49:29 UTC - in response to Message 13749.

                      I meant Randy's explanation. Sorry if I created was any confusion.

                      I was wondering about that since my insurance company could care less. They are the ones being sued for damages for pain and suffering.

                      I had a long answer prepared, hit back somehow and lost it.

                      Sorry but i'm not going to retype all that.

                      In short, consult some professionals.

                      Search the internet, you can find dozens of examples.

                      To quote http://www.weitzlux.com/Car-Crash_768.html
                      For purposes of insurance and legal responsibility, the driver of the car that rear-ends the other car is almost always considered to be at fault.

                      Fill out the form and get a free consultation. There are many sites like this, search and pick your own.

                      This one had more interesting read on low impact collisions
                      http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=40251
                      Yes low impacts can cause whiplash and even so more than high imapcts.

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                      Message 13751 - Posted 12 Sep 2010 17:46:39 UTC


                        If you live in a no-fault state, much of this is moot. You make the claim against your own policy.

                        Dune Finkleberry
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                        Message 13752 - Posted 12 Sep 2010 19:09:35 UTC - in response to Message 13749.

                          I meant Randy's explanation. Sorry if I created was any confusion.

                          I was wondering about that since my insurance company could care less. They are the ones being sued for damages for pain and suffering.

                          I wanted to clarify my mis-statement. I meant to say that They are the ones who aren't being sued for damages for pain and suffering.

                          I don't know if my state is a no-fault state, but I don't plan on making a claim against my own insurance. They've been with us for awhile, and we've got a pretty spotless record. But in the end, it'll be pretty much up to my (our) lawyers decision on what to do.

                          I do appreciate all the comments made here. Thank you one and all!
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                          Message 13754 - Posted 12 Sep 2010 19:30:46 UTC

                            If you make a claim against your own insurance and the other party is at fault, the subrogation process will get you your deductible back and your rates will not go up. If you live in a no-fault state you will have no option but to do it this way. This is exactly what has happened to me several times.

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