Document Type



Even though automobile accident cases comprise a substantial portion of the state jury trial caseload, the humble automobile case has attracted minimal scholarly attention. However, many members of the public believe that whiplash, a connective-tissue or soft-tissue injury from auto accidents, is oftentimes fraudulent. To explore public perceptions, a national survey included a scenario experiment that varied types of minor injuries from an automobile accident. As predicted, the plaintiff who experienced a bone fracture was seen as more likely to be suffering a real injury than a plaintiff who reported suffering from a connective-tissue injury. The fracture was also viewed as more serious than the connective-tissue injury, despite the fact that the consequences for the plaintiff were described in identical terms. The role of personal experience and demographic and attitudinal characteristics in responses to these injuries was explored.

Date of Authorship for this Version

September 2007


Connective-tissue injuries