Austin drivers whose cars have newer, highly rated head restraints are less likely to suffer debilitating neck injuries than drivers of older cars. Neck injuries, such as whiplash, are dramatically reduced when drivers who have the newer safety features in their vehicles are involved in accidents.
Injury Claims Down Thanks to New Safety Features
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute conducted a study that revealed that highly-rated head restraints in newer cars reduce injury claim rates by 11.2 percent, compared to vehicles with poorly-rated restraints. What this means for drivers is their chances of sustaining painful and debilitating neck injuries are lower when they are rear-ended by other drivers.
Restraints Are Safer Now Than Ever
The study showed that vehicle head/neck restraint combinations have improved over the years. Just ten years ago, the IIHS stated that half of the vehicle restraint systems it evaluated earned “poor” ratings, while a mere 9 percent drew “good” scores. Today’s scores are much better: 95 percent of 2015 vehicles earned “good” ratings, and none were scored as “poor.”
IIHS gives out four different ratings to vehicles: “good,” “acceptable,” “marginal,” and “poor” based on front-seat head restraint geometry and test results. It credits its rating program, along with stricter federal requirements for higher front-seat head restraints, for the improvement of the safety features.
When Restraints Fail You
Unfortunately for drivers, one of the most common injuries suffered in car accidents involve the neck. The neck and head are jostled about with extreme force during collisions, which can cause damage to the muscles, ligaments, nerves, and bone structure of the neck. Some of the most common neck injuries are:
- Whiplash. Also known as a muscle strain, whiplash is perhaps the posterchild of car accident-related injuries. Whiplash occurs when muscles are stretched or torn. These strains can occur when the neck muscles are suddenly and powerfully contracted or when they are stretched unusually far. Whiplash, also called hyperflexion-hyperextension injuries, can take weeks, and even months, to heal.
- Pinched nerves. Also called cervical radiculopathy, pinched nerves occur as the result of bone fragments or spurs from herniated discs that disrupt the supply of electrical signals to muscles that move the arm and hand. Those who experience pinched nerves often suffer from pain and weakness in the affected areas.
- Herniated discs. This painful and debilitating injury occurs when too much pressure is put on a disc in the neck. The jelly-like substance in a disc can seep out and press against the spinal nerves, causing pain, numbness, and weakness along the nerve. Additionally, evidence suggests that the chemicals released from the ruptured disc can irritate the nerve root, leading to some of the symptoms of a herniated disc.
Did Your Accident Cause a Neck Injury?
Knowing whether or not you suffered a neck injury immediately after an accident is often difficult, as the sheer shock of the crash, along with the adrenaline and endorphins you experience, can mask the pain. For this reason, you should visit a hospital immediately after involvement in a crash. If you don’t, your injuries—and pain—can became worse because of a delay of treatment. Signs that you could have a neck injury include:
- Muscle spasms
- Reduced range of motion in your neck
- Pain in your neck, shoulders, arms, and hands
- Weakness, numbness, and slower reflexes in your arms and hands
If you were involved in an accident and suffered injuries to your neck or other areas, you could be entitled to financial compensation, and the attorneys of Wayne Wright may be able to help you receive what you are owed. By calling 800-237-3334, you can schedule a consultation to speak with an attorney about your case, and find out what you may be eligible to receive. You can also request a free copy of our book Dealing With the Details After a Commercial Motor Vehicle Accident.