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Determining Whiplash Injury With In-Car Telematics

Man getting neck treatment
14th May 2014

New claim for whiplash.

Decisive role

In-car technology looks to be playing a decisive role in accurate recording of events leading up to and during a vehicle collision. Both verification of travelling speed, acceleration and “other contributory factors” will be determined by the well-known in-car monitoring system of telematics.

Telematics is most usually associated with vehicle systems which combine global positioning satellite (GPS) tracking and other wireless communications for constant vehicle tracking and remote diagnostics. Major brands have already begun equipping new generation vehicles with online enabled, wireless-based services.

Under the new legislation, the application of telematics technology will also provide insurance underwriters more accurate profile information about prospective or current customers when drawing up an individual risk assessment policy.

Concerns raised

However, concerns have been raised over the possible extended use of telematics. While it might be argued that there are likely to be more positive outcomes for the vast majority of genuine whiplash claimants and incident-free insurance applicants, conversely, the “portable” nature of the data may also lead to police taking “retrospective action” for offences, such as speeding.

The issue of ‘personal data’ is always a vital area of concern, although any data obtained by telematics technology requires to undergo a proper process whereby, consent must be given by the vehicle driver before it can be handed over to the police. If consent is denied, the police will then need to obtain a court order to proceed with collecting the data.

Low speed impacts

A far worrying concern for whiplash claimants may be the issue of travelling speed at the time when the collision occurred. Many incidents take place on roads where the speed limit can be between under 10 mph. Yet, even at low speeds, the force received from a back end or side impact collision is still strong enough to cause the head of a driver or passenger to be involuntarily jerked forwards, backwards or sideways in their seat, causing whiplash injury or whiplash associated disorder (WAD).

While symptoms of a minor ‘neck injury’, which can still cause discomfort, pain and restrict movement over a lengthy period may be apparent, they could later be diagnosed as whiplash if more ominous symptoms, such as dizziness, headaches, fatigue or loss of appetite emerge weeks or months after a car accident.