Auto Accident Pictures Don’t Always Tell The Whole Story – Indianapolis Auto Accident Lawyer
It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Often this is true, but not always. Over many years in our practice as personal injury attorneys, we have been involved in a number of cases for people who have suffered spinal injuries, head injuries, broken bones etc. in car accidents where the damage to the car itself is minimal. In these types of cases, insurance company representatives argue that there is no way the person riding in the car could have any serious injuries because “there is no damage to the car—look at the pictures!”.
This argument ignores, however, rules of physics regarding the transfer of energy. Simply put, the steel car, weighing several tons, may not show the effects of the collision enough to show up in pictures, because the energy from the crash travels through the rigid structure of the car without much change in the car until it gets to the soft tissues of the human being driving the car. There the force of the energy still remaining, is often times, more than enough to injure the driver or passenger. An example of this flow of energy, is the novelty item we have all seen where six or seven steel balls are suspended from a rod, lined up so they are in contact with each other. When the end ball is pulled back and released, it strikes the next ball in line. The energy does not move all of the balls though. Rather, it travels through four or five of the balls and the last one in line is catapulted outward. That ball then snaps back and the energy is passed back through to the first one again and so on. This is the same transfer of energy from a striking car, traveling through the car it has hit, and then into the soft tissues of the bodies of the occupants.
We also have seen or heard of crashes where the cars are totally smashed and obliterated but the driver walks away unharmed. So the next time someone says there is no way a person could have been hurt in a car just because the pictures of the car don’t show any damage, remind them that because of energy management principles, the pictures may not tell the whole story. Drive safe!