How a Trailer Hitch Can Impact Rear-End Collisions

Tailer Hitch“There is barely any damage to your vehicle!” This is a common phrase that the at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to dismiss or diminish the extent of your injuries because of minor damage to your vehicle after an accident. While it may be true that your vehicle has minimal damage, the adjuster may be disregarding the fact that your vehicle had a trailer hitch attached to the rear of it.

We have all seen vehicles, especially larger trucks, with a trailer hitch attached to them. They may be used to transport boats, trailers, campers, etc. Even if the hitch is not in use, individuals often leave them attached year-round. While they may seem harmless, trailer hitches actually pose great danger.

The National Safety Commission explains that these hitches reduce rear end collision damage and increase the risk of injury by creating a stiff “crash pulse”. When a vehicle with a trailer hitch is rear ended, the crash energy is transferred directly to the frame of the vehicle and then to the occupants. With a change in the crash dynamics, the energy moves to the main part of the vehicle versus being evenly distributed throughout just the rear.

With this shift in energy, occupants of the vehicle are much more likely to sustain greater injuries, despite there being minimal property damage. In fact, research shows that there is a 22% increase for occupants who are rear ended in a vehicle with a trailer hitch to suffer whiplash. Other common injuries suffered in such crashes are neck, back, shoulder, wrists, knees, head, and traumatic brain injuries as well as economic losses (e.g. lost wages and lost earning capacity).

Because the insurance company may try to use the lack of property damage to decrease the value of your claim, it is important to document everything.

Medical Treatment: You should seek medical treatment immediately after being involved in an accident. Having documentation of your condition from a medical professional will be crucial for your claim when it comes time for settlement. It is also important to stay on top of your medical treatment as long as your injuries persist to prove the extent of your injury.

Photos: if possible, take photos before leaving the scene of the accident. This includes any visible damage to the rear of your vehicle and hitch. Be sure to also take pictures of the at fault vehicles front bumper. The other driver’s vehicle will likely have much more visible damage. These photographs give the adjuster a better visual of the impact.

Do not let the insurance company undervalue your claim! If you or someone you love has been injured in an automobile accident and has suffered emotionally, call us today for a free consultation! PHONE CARDONE at 504-522-3333, 833-597-1818 (toll-free), 225-706-3920 (Baton Rouge office), or email us at

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