Can a Person Be Injured in a Low Speed Crash?

Written by Billing Dynamix

Gregg Friedman, DC

A doctor e-mailed me this question this morning.  Well, actually, the question was more like, “Do you have any articles that show that speed of impact is not a reliable indicator of severity of injury?”

Of course I do.

Are there actually people still out there who claim otherwise?  Seriously?

So, here’s a bit of a disclaimer.  In addition to practicing for more than 34 years and teaching documentation and coding for more than 20 years, I also consult with insurance companies.  I review a LOT of chiropractic records.


When I first started working with a particular insurance company, the higher ups wanted me to meet with their adjusters.  One of the adjusters said something like, “Some of these cases we see have such minor vehicle damage…” and then she rolled her eyes, and all of the other adjusters laughed.

I looked at the higher ups, then the adjusters and then the defense attorney.  I thought to myself, “Hmm.  How should I say this?”  

This is what I said:

A person can be injured in a motor vehicle collision regardless of the speed of impact or dollar amount of damage to the vehicle.  A person can also NOT be injured, regardless of those factors.  I told the adjusters that anyone who says that minor damage to a vehicle could not cause injury is an idiot (I actually tell them that).

But is that even the point?

The real argument, though, is WAS the patient ACTUALLY injured.  This is where, literally, 99.9% of all cases I review FAIL MISERABLY.  Most chiropractic and medical exams are 75% deficient and miss all kinds of injury.

If your entire exam consists of the ortho/neuro exam, you lose.  More importantly, though…

Your patient loses.