Can a person be seriously harmed in a so-called low-impact auto accident? (i.e., where there appears to be minor, little, or no damage as a result of a collision). Many insurance companies want you to believe that a person won’t / can’t suffer serious injuries if their vehicle doesn’t show the prerequisite amount of damage they deem necessary. How hard does a person have to be hit before they are hurt? What does a low-impact auto accident mean?
Research into Low Impact Auto Accidents
The fact is that research has proven that there is absolutely no correlation whatsoever that minimum auto damage also means minimal injuries suffered. Yet, everyday insurance companies will argue that low-impact auto accidents equal minimal, or no, injuries suffered by those parties involved. Engineers have shown that when a car’s body and frame do not bend, all the force is translated into the occupant, creating the whiplash effect on the occupant instead of cushioning the blow.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissues are the tissues that are not bone. They include cartilage, ligament, tendon, disks, etc. They are typically what is repaired in the most neck, back, shoulder, and knee surgeries. Soft tissue injuries are common in low-impact auto accidents. If you have been involved in what someone has termed a “low impact” accident, but yet you don’t feel right – you have new pain, you’re noticing health symptoms that weren’t there before the accident, make sure you get checked out right away and file a traffic crash report immediately.
You may not have broken any bones, but soft tissue injuries can necessitate a lifetime of treatment for conditions that either won’t go away or will never be the same again, as far as your health is concerned. Begin documenting any injuries right away, and seek treatment for them from a physician. You don’t know what the future may hold for you – chronic pain from soft tissue injuries could make it impossible to keep your current employment.
Pictures of the Damaged Vehicle
Attorneys for insurance companies will use photos of a vehicle sustaining minor damage to “show” to a jury that you couldn’t possibly have been injured when there was hardly any damage to the vehicle. Sadly, it can often be the “perception” (shown by a photo) that may make a lasting impression on a jury. In fact, many insurance company attorneys will call on so-called experts to denounce the fact that a low-impact accident can also take a toll on those involved. It takes a skilled personal injury attorney to know how to talk to the jury, and get them to put the photo in the background while examining actual, physical, and mental sustained injuries from the collision in the foreground.
Knowing What to Look For
An insurance company’s adjuster who wants to diagnose your case as minimal damage and no injuries will focus his/her attention on the minimal damage that can be seen in the outward appearances of your vehicle. They will want photos of the car before the accident and they will also ask about any possible pre-existing damage. They will also want:
- You to get an appraisal of any damage
- A recorded statement (do NOT do this without your attorney present)
- Background information on you (do NOT give your Social Security Number to the adjuster)
- Their own “experts” evaluate any damage to your vehicle
- A quick, low settlement
Perhaps most of all, it will take patience on your part because insurance companies love to delay, delay, and delay some more. They are hoping you will stop treating, run out of patience and decide to “settle” on a lesser amount than you deserve just so you can be through with them. Don’t give in to them. If you have been involved in a low-impact accident in Pinellas, talk to a personal injury attorney soon to get assistance in dealing with the insurance company.