Neck strains and sprains (or whiplash) most commonly result from car accidents, and they’re also the most common reported injuries in the nation for insurance claims. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the cost of these kinds of claims in 2007 was close to $9 billion, or about a quarter of the total payout for car accident injuries.
Headrests are the best way to help to prevent whiplash in the event of an accident, especially when a vehicle is hit from the back. When this happens, the passenger’s body pushes against the seat and propels forward. When the head is not supported, it will lag behind the torso until it can go no further, and then it will whip forward with great force. An effective head restraint is going to help to keep the both in synch and will also help prevent movement toward the rear.
Our Fort Myers car accident lawyers understand that a head restraint is of no use if it’s not properly adjusted to your body. To properly adjust the headrest, you should make sure that the top of the cushion is even with the top of your head. You should also keep your head as close to the headrest as possible. If a head restraint isn’t behind and close to the back of an occupant’s head, it can’t function properly in a rear-end collision.
Most vehicles contain manually adjustable head restraints, and current legislation governs their placement with the intent of maximizing safety. Under federal law, head restraints must be adjustable from no lower than 29.5 inches to at least 31.5 inches above an occupant’s hip. In line with studies that have shown that restraints are most effective when they are close to your head, restraints are also required to sit no farther than 2 inches from the back of an occupant’s head.
Fortunately, head-restraint effectiveness has improved dramatically in recent years. The IIHS started a rear-crash program in 2004 and in 2005 nearly half the front head restraints were rated ‘Poor’ and 12 percent were ‘Good’. By 2012 none rated Poor and 80 percent were ‘Good’.
Having a locking head restraint is very important to reduce the risks of whiplash in an accident. A head restraint that can’t be locked in position may move during an accident. This can compromise the amount of protection the restraint offers. There is also the danger that rear seat occupants getting in and out of the vehicle could accidentally move the restraint out of position.
The best way to make these adjustments is to have another person adjust the head restraint for you while you sit properly in the seat.
Common symptoms of whiplash injury are neck pain from mild muscle strain or minor tearing of muscles and/or ligaments. Symptoms of whiplash may be delayed for 24 hours or more after the initial trauma. However, people who experience whiplash may develop one or more symptoms, usually within the first few days after the injury.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. There is no fee unless we win. Call 888-751-7770 today!