Studies involving live humans have demonstrated that a motor vehicle accident of as little as 5 mph can induce cervical (neck) injury. However, other studies have shown that cars can often withstand crashes of 10 mph or more without sustaining damage.
Symptoms arising from injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents were once thought to present immediately following the accident. However, research and clinic experience now demonstrate that a delay of symptom onset seems to be the norm. Also, delay of symptom onset does not eliminate the possibility of severe injury.
Most experts have found that 10 percent of all motor vehicle accident victims become disabled.
Many studies have found a significant number of individuals to be symptomatic for many months and even years after a motor vehicle accident. In one such study, 75 percent of individuals remained symptomatic 6 months after the accident.
Another study, published in the European Spine Journal, found that during the period of time between the first and second years following a motor vehicle accident over 20 percent actually had their symptoms worsen.
According to the National Safety Council (NSA), there are more than 12 million motor vehicle accidents annually including more than 20 million vehicles. This results in over 5 million nonfatal accidents annually of which approximately 2 million are disabling injuries including approximately 1 million work-related auto disabling injuries.
A 1990 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study reported found that about 28 percent of occupants in motor vehicle accidents incur minor to moderate injury while 6 percent incur severe to fatal injuries.
The US Department of Transportation estimates that the typical driver will have a near automobile accident one to two times per month and all will be in a collision of some type on average of every 6 years.
According to a report released back in 1993, the total costs for motor vehicle accidents in the US was over $333 billion in 1988.
According to the Insurance Research Council,
63 percent of injuries are paid by the injured individuals own automobile insurance company
55 percent of injuries are paid by the auto insurance company of another vehicle
36 percent of injuries are paid by health insurance
20 percent of injuries are paid by government programs
19 percent of injuries are paid workers' compensation insurance
Almost 60 percent of those injured reported to have used 2 or more sources of payment.