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Low Velocity Impact - Dr Mark Burgin

24/01/20. Dr. Mark Burgin BM BCh (oxon) MRCGP considers how issues of low velocity impact have moved on from Delta V to a more subtle approach.

Low Velocity Impact has been raised in RTA PI cases for 2 decades but the way that it has been argued is still changing.

Solicitors started by pleading that the claimant could not have been injured based upon engineering reports until it became obvious that damage did not predict force in LVI.

There was then fad for getting senior orthopaedic experts to examine the claimant and say that no injury had occurred, this failed as recovery had occurred prior to second exam.

More recently the solicitors have used the inconsistency between the force of impact as described by the claimant and from the repair details to challenge experts.

What is LVI?

Although LVI is described as a rear end shunt with light bumper damage there are other circumstances when it should be considered.

Where two cars are traveling in the same direction and one moves into the other’s lane the closing speed is usually less than 10mph.

Minor scratches to the panels and doors can make the repair bill much higher than the force of the impact would suggest.

If there was only a jolting type of movement any claimant who does not have a pre-existing susceptibility is unlikely to be injured.

Inconsistent history

The defendant solicitors have increasingly used inconsistencies in the claimant’s history to challenge whether the claimant is honest and reliable.

There are increasing requests to change the PMH section from ‘no previous accidents’ to ‘02/04/2012 RTA with injuries that resolved before the index accident’.

Without claimant solicitors to plug the gaps the Litigant in Person (LiP) will have to explain failures of memory on their own.

LVI in these cases add to the general sense that the claimant must be making things up and the issue of LVI is often not put formally to the expert at all.

The Future

LVI remains a problem for both sides as there are many claimants who insist that they have been injured and yet no one can explain why.

Research using black box technology assisted in understanding LVI in the real world where forces greater than 3G were recorded in 30% of impacts less than 10mph 1.

There has been a slower understanding that many claimants have pre-existing susceptibility from studies using MRI (2) to metabolic changes on blood tests.

The traditional expert answer that there were no susceptibility conditions may not satisfy the court trying to determine whether a LiP claimant is dishonest.


New insights into the old problem of LVI will allow the expert explain why some claimants develop injuries after a jolting type injury.

The courts in 2020 may not be satisfied by an expert who refuse to consider whether the claimant had a reasonable explanation of their injury.

This nuanced approach will put experts front and centre in LVI 2020 where fundamental dishonesty is the sort after prize for defendants.

Increasing numbers of LiPs will find themselves fighting to avoid bankruptcy as inadequate medical reports make them appear to be fundamentally dishonest.

Doctor Mark Burgin, BM BCh (oxon) MRCGP is on the General Practitioner Specialist Register.

Dr. Burgin can be contacted on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 0845 331 3304 website

  1. Mike Brockman insurethebox presented at an international whiplash conference

  2. Nakashima 2015 Abnormal findings on magnetic resonance images of the cervical spines in 1211 asymptomatic subjects. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2015 Mar 15;40(6):392-8.

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