Each crash possesses its own characteristics that can make the difference between an accident with no injury and an accident with serious injury. An accurate assessment of the actual forces from a collision requires the skills of an expert engineer. The potential risk of injury, however, can be roughly estimated by examining the following variables:
1. The angle of the collision. Was the patient’s car hit straight on, from the side, or at some angle? The angle of collision will play a large role in determining what forces were placed upon the neck and head, and what tissues were damaged from these forces. A straight on impact will generally be less hazardous than a collision from an angle, as the spine may be twisted in an off-center impact.