There are many car accidents that happen at high speed, involve tremendous impact forces, and cause significant damage to the vehicles involved. In these cases we expect the occupants of the vehicles to be injured, and would even be surprised to hear that no one was seriously hurt. We all know the expression, “You were lucky to walk away from that one!”
But a lot of people are injured in unspectacular accidents that involve relatively low velocities and minimal damage to the vehicles involved. A lot of soft tissue injuries, including whiplash injuries, occur in these types of collisions. Mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBIs) have also been known to occur from these collisions. Often a low-velocity impact can even leave the injured person surprised at the extent of their injuries given the low speeds involved.
The truth of the matter is that one can receive a significant injury from a low-velocity impact. The difficulty is that ICBC will often employ what is known as the low-velocity impact defence. ICBC even has a special low-velocity impact program for handling claims that it believes do not have any merit due to the nature of the impact and the forces involved in the collision. In these cases ICBC will deny that any compensable injury could have resulted from the accident in question.
Courts have been less willing to accept the low-velocity impact defence. It has been held that simply being able to show that the forces involved in an impact were low does not mean that injuries did not result from the collision. Despite the court’s reluctance to accept this argument in numerous decisions, ICBC continues to use this defence, from the early assessment and categorization of claims to the courtroom.
The good news for those who have suffered significant injuries from low-velocity accidents is that they can ultimately be fairly compensated for their injuries. These cases can be complex, relying on engineering as well as medical evidence. That is why it is important to seek out legal advice in order to determine the strength of your claim in the event you are injured and face the low-velocity impact defence from ICBC.