Seat belt and airbag expert witnesses at Technology Associates describe “whiplash”:
Testing has shown that the maximum loading to a rear-ended car was amplified about two and a half times when it reached the heads of the occupants. The testing also revealed that this occurred about a fourth of a second after impact.
The momentum and loading to cars which are involved in a rear-end impact (of low enough impact velocity so that there is no permanent deformation of the bumpers) can be fairly accurately modeled as a mass-spring system. This enables determination of the loading effects on the cars and heads of the occupants, by input of known quantities (masses of the cars, bumper stiffness, relative velocity between the cars at time of impact).
It is thus possible to determine the likelihood of a claim of whiplash injury being legitimate. Based upon how consistent all incident data is with available research findings and on using as precise a computer model as possible, an engineer with a proper dynamics and biomechanics background can help to determine the viability of a claim.