“There’s hardly any damage!”
Our office represented a client who was injured in a rear-end collision and the adjuster for the at-fault driver was being difficult. The adjuster repeatedly tried to dismiss our client’s back and neck injuries because his truck sustained minor damage in the accident.
On one hand, the insurance adjuster was right, there was very little property damage. However, what they were failing to take into account was the fact that our client was driving a truck that had a trailer hitch.
How Does a Trailer Hitch Affect Rear-End Collisions?
Trucks (and SUVs) with trailer hitches are a common sight in Indiana. Truck owners have trailer hitches for a variety of reasons:
- Farm vehicles that regularly haul equipment or wagons.
- Work trucks with storage trailers.
- Personal trucks that tow a boat or other recreational vehicle, etc.
However, what may surprise some is to learn that the occupants of a truck with a trailer hitch can face a greater risk of injury in a rear-end collision, even if it is a low-impact crash. The reason this occurs is due to the truck’s “crash pulse.”
In short, a crash pulse is an acceleration curve that is measured in a vehicle during a crash test. It provides a description of what happens to the vehicle’s physical structure during a crash.
Trucks with a trailer hitch will have a “stiff crash impulse,” meaning the energy and force of a rear-end collision is not evenly displaced throughout the rear of the vehicle. Instead of a “crumpling effect” that is commonly seen in fender-benders, a majority of the energy is transferred to the main part of the vehicle vs. the rear.
Think of it as a nail that is hit squarely by a hammer vs. one that is hit off-center. The nail that is hit square takes the entirety of the hammer’s force, whereas the nail that is hit off-center will bend or turn sideways because it receives much less of the hammer’s force.
Due to this fact, there is a greater likelihood that the occupants of a truck or vehicle with a trailer hitch may sustain whiplash-style injuries. These types of injuries often result in neck pain, back discomfort, and/or headaches that are commonly referred to as soft-tissue injuries.
Why are Trailer Hitch Collision Cases More Difficult?
As we cited earlier, insurance companies often equate injuries with property damage. If there is little property damage, the case will be aggressively defended and the victim may have a more difficult time recovering compensation for their injuries.
However, our experience with trailer hitch accident cases has proven time and time again that these rear-end collisions can result in significant injuries, even at low speeds.
If you were injured in a rear-end collision and your vehicle has a trailer hitch, there are 3 important steps you should take to improve your chances of proving your injuries and being properly compensated:
- Take pictures – Not only should you document any visual damage to your truck, but be sure to take a picture of the vehicle that rear-ended you. In many trailer hitch accident cases, the damage to the other vehicle will be far more extensive than that sustained by your truck. This provides the adjuster with a visualization of the collision’s forcefulness.
- Medical treatment – Because a majority of trailer hitch accidents result in soft-tissue injuries, it is important that you be seen by a doctor so that your condition(s) can be documented.
- Have an expert inspect the vehicle’s frame – There may be little visible property damage, but it does not mean there is no physical proof. In past cases involving trailer hitch collisions, we have ordered a professional inspection of the frame on our client’s vehicle. If the collision was especially violent, the force sustained by the trailer hitch may have damaged the frame.
How a Trailer Hitch Accident Attorney Can Help You
Ultimately, we recommend that anyone injured in a trailer hitch, rear-end collision contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. An attorney that has handled these claims in the past will be able to advise you on the “do’s and don’ts,” as well as present a convincing case to the insurance company on your behalf.
With regard to our client mentioned above, we had to provide the insurance company with past case examples, scientific data, and expert medical testimony to prove his back and neck injuries were a result of the collision. Ultimately, we were able to prove our case and make a recovery that fairly compensated our client.
In many instances, the insurance company will be less likely to pay maximum compensation to a victim of a trailer hitch collision if they do not have legal representation. A trailer hitch accident victim will have a far more difficult time effectively leveraging the option of litigation (filing a lawsuit) without an experienced attorney.
Experience With Trailer Hitch Cases Matters
Attorney Matt Boulton has more than 20 years’ experience handling personal injury claims throughout the state of Indiana. A number of cases he has settled on behalf of os his clients include rear-end collisions involving trailer hitches.
A majority of trailer hitch rear-end collisions involve trucks or SUVs, however, some of Boulton Law Group’s clients were also driving a car with a trailer hitch. More important than the vehicle type is the science and physical evidence that play roles in supporting your injuries. Our experience with collecting this evidence is why you should contact Matt for a free case evaluation.
Boulton Law Group provides Indiana’s accident victims with a Zero Fee Guarantee. This promise helps to ensure that everyone has equal access to experienced, award-winning legal representation. It is part of our pledge to make sure you Get Treated Like Family.
To speak with attorney Boulton about your rear-end trailer hitch collision, contact him at 317-350-2680.
If you prefer to write to us, you can use our confidential contact form. Attorney Boulton personally reviews all web contacts sent to our firm.
We look forward to hearing your story and learning how we can help you!
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.