Are Low Impact Auto Cases Worthwhile?

 In Personal Injury

fenderbenderYou bet they are. The insurance industry has done a great job of trying to convince people that low impact automobile accidents can’t possibly cause injury to vehicle occupants. However, almost every doctor hired by the insurance industry would say otherwise. Studies that attempt to demonstrate the improbability of low impact crashes causing significant injury are usually stricken when the supporting data underlying those studies is presented to judges.

I recently had a case that demonstrated the fallacy of this theory. A mother and son (both of whom were of retirement age) were recently traveling across the state of Florida and were rear-ended by a driver distracted by her new GPS map system. The damage was minimal. However, the mother called 911 to report the incident. When we obtained a copy of the 911 call, she made an otherwise innocent comment about feeling okay but that she felt something snap in her neck. Within days of the accident, both the mother and son started feeling worse and developed symptoms that ultimately led to neck surgery for the mother and low back surgery for the son. The treating surgeon was very interested to hear the recording that established the point of injury that was depicted on the MRI films. Insurance adjusters had very little to say about this documented report of the point in time in which the injury occurred.

Both of these victims of a distracted driver were “eggshell plaintiffs,” meaning that they were “fragile” due to prior injuries or medical conditions. Both accident victims saw separate doctors at separate times.

Within six months of the accident, the total settlement for bodily injury and underinsured motorists payments made to my clients by the insurance carriers exceeded $500,000! Why would USAA & Geico payout so much money if the studies were actually true? The reason is, despite the insurance industry lobbying efforts, the industry as a whole recognizes that each person is unique and different, and accidents that may not cause problems to one person may cause problems for another.

It is important when evaluating low impact cases that quick and prompt medical care is obtained and that all efforts are taken to document comments made by the patient. That is why we always get copies of our accident cases’ 911 recordings. It is amazing what information can be obtained from these recordings.

Having skilled and qualified medical care is also important when dealing with a case where there is very little visual damage. On that topic, just because the outside of a bumper does not appear to be damaged doesn’t mean the bumper inside didn’t do its job. I recently had a case involving a low impact rear-end collision. There was no visual damage to the outside of the rear bumper. However, when we looked underneath the car and pulled back the bottom of the rear bumper, there was significant damage not only to the bumper contents but to surrounding metal work as well.

If you were injured in a low impact collision call a trusted attorney to help you get the claim resolution you deserve.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by Salvatore Vuono

 

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