Any car accident can leave someone with serious injuries. Science has helped us understand what happens to people in a car crash and how safety measures can help reduce or prevent injuries. The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein has been helping injured Mainers since 1974, and we have seen the damage different types of car accidents can cause.
What happens in a frontal collision?
In short, car accident injuries occur due to the transfer of kinetic energy. Any time we move, we produce kinetic energy. The faster we move, the more energy we create. Traveling in a car at speeds of 40 mph or more produces a great deal of kinetic energy. Hitting the brakes causes that energy to dissipate as heat as the car slows to a stop.
In an accident, however, that energy has not fully dissipated. Since the energy doesn’t have anywhere to go, it is mostly absorbed by the car. That’s why cars are designed the way they are, to protect us from the force of that energy in an accident. But at higher speed crashes, some of the energy is absorbed by the people inside the vehicles, resulting in injury.
A lot also depends on the type of accident. "In a frontal-crash (head-on collision), you have the benefit of the whole front of the car to absorb the energy,” said Dr. David Logan, a Senior Research Fellow with Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) in Melbourne, Australia. “In a side-impact crash, all you’ve got protecting you is the door, which is maybe 10cm or 15cm thick (roughly 4 to 6 inches).”
That’s why side-impact crashes tend to be more severe. With less material in the car itself to absorb the energy of the crash, the people inside absorb more of the energy than they would in a front-impact crash.
Injuries you're likely to sustain
This is also another reason why seatbelts are so crucial. They are designed to cover strong parts of the body – the chest and the pelvis. In a crash, these absorb much of the kinetic energy while helping to protect the gut and internal organs.
But even if a seatbelt is used, a collision at high speeds can still result in injuries, including:
- A broken collarbone
- Broken ribs
- Damaged lungs
- Damaged internal organs
The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein has been serving accident victims all across the state of Maine for more than 45 years. We have helped countless people rebuild their lives after an accident. If you have been injured, contact us to learn more about how we can help during a free consultation with a car accident attorney.