Do you know what to do in a small car accident? Any kind of car accident can feel serious. But making assumptions in any insurance claim case and personal injury lawsuit can be dangerous for both the insurance company and the injured person making the claim, or claimant. Some insurance company adjusters believe that if the injured claimant was suffering from an injury he or she already had from the past, or that his or her body was not turned around at the time of the accident, then the injured claimant must not be as hurt that badly.
Knowing how much damage was caused to the property, like the vehicle, and the level of injury to the claimant’s body was caused matters because it sets out how much money you can ask for from the insurance company and how much your potential settlement claim is worth.
There are many types of small, or minor, car accidents:
- Fender Bender
- Windshield cracks
- Damaged headlights or taillights
- Cuts and other tire damages
One clear example is when an insurance company assumes that a minor car accident, like a fender bender, did not actually cause any real damage. It is then the job of your personal injury lawyer to prove to the insurance adjuster that the injured claimant’s circumstances were unique. The right car accident lawyer can help you understand the ins and outs of your case.
The insurance company may assume that an injured claimant was not really hurt in a car accident if:
1. The Body’s Position:
if the person hurt in the minor car accident was turning around when the accident happened, or his or her body was somehow turned around, it is possible that a minor car accident can cause severe injuries. Examples include being hit by a car or truck while you were looking over your shoulder to check for traffic, sitting at an angle in your car seat, changing the radio station or reaching to grab something like an item from your car’s glove department. When your body is angled or turned this way, it can mean that any minor impact caused severe damage.
Typically, the damage in these situations are to the back or spine. This can mean herniated disks in your spine or even cracks and breaks. Also, the insurance cannot argue or blame you for being hit while turning as you normally would as a safe driver.
If the injured claimant was not turned around, it is possible that the insurance company will claim that he or she was not really hurt and that the injured claimant is faking how bad he or she was hurt – if they were hurt at all. This is because the insurance company is not on the side of the injured claimant. An insurance company is a business and saves money by denying or even just by delaying paying out a claim.
2. Pre-existing Injury
A pre-existing injury is an injury someone already had before they were hurt in a car accident or truck accident.
In one case, an injured claimant in his fifties was rear-ended in a slow-moving car accident. He was hit by a car moving 15 miles per hour. A few years before the accident, he had hip socket surgery. Because of his pre-existing injury, the car accident caused his hip to pop out of the socket. He was in severe pain. At first glance, it was not clear that the insurance company would work with the injured claimant. After all, the car accident happened when he was in a fender bender by a car moving under twenty miles per hour. But this injured claimant hired a personal injury lawyer, and his attorney was able to use his experience and knowledge to get the injured claimant $300,000 because he had a 2-4 percent chance that he would die during the operation given his health, age and condition.
Similarly, there are some insurance company adjusters who think that if a person is overweight and obese, then the person could not be an injured claimant in a slow-moving, or minor car accident. But in one case, an insurance company paid $85,000 because, despite the fact that the injured claimant had medical records where the doctor said the injured claimant is bound to have a medical emergency eventually, the minor car accident was still the cause of the injuries.
Generally, if the claim is for a minor car accident, it does not reach the senior insurance company adjuster or the insurance company’s attorney right away. The insurance agent assigned to your case and claim handle the issue. Even when the insurance company’s client is clearly liable, the insurance company is not motivated to resolve or settle your case sooner than it needs.
Low impact car accidents or truck accidents can cause serious damage, and even disability.
There are many types of damages and injuries that can be caused by a car accident or truck accident. You can have a minor car accident but major or traumatic injuries. One of many examples is traumatic brain injury (TBI), sometimes referred to as a concussion. This is a kind of soft tissue injury, meaning that there were no broken bones. TBI is a type of head injury that does not need to hard to be severe. Any kind of bump to the head can cause TBI. Traumatic brain injury is damage to the brain’s orbital sphere and its connective tissue, or nerve damage. Despite the relatively low impact, this can result in severe and long-term injury and disability. They may not show up on many types of medical scans and tests, such as x-rays or MRI tests.
Insurance companies do not make the recovery process easier. Insurance companies hire experts to help support their arguments that because property damage was not severe, the bodily injury could not possibly be severe. This is not true, but this can be difficult to prove. In one case, an attorney herself was injured in a car accident. She became disabled, and was unable to work as an attorney anymore after suffering from TBI. Because she was not insured at the time and the nature of the soft tissue injury, the insurance company refused to pay the claim. The case moved into arbitration.
In another case, a doctor was rear-ended and the property damage to his car was only about $5000. Usually, many people would have healed quickly. But the doctor damaged the nerves in his neck. Even though the doctor could still walk and talk, he continued to have pain. He was unable to continue to work as a doctor. Though this was a minor, low-impact car accident, his actual damages were worth millions of dollars because of his permanent disability.
On the other hand, a very hard car crash with a lot of property damage does not always mean that it results in a lot of bodily injuries every time. Similarly, just because a car was in a big car accident involving high speeds and a lot of damaged vehicles, it does not mean the insurance company will pay the injured claimant’s claim for injuries to his body.
For example, one injured claimant was driving on a freeway on his way home. Out of nowhere, a garbage truck switched lanes in traffic and hit the injured claimant’s car. The injured claimant’s vehicle ended up flipping over. Then his car skid a long way down the freeway. The injured claimant’s car was a total loss, and completely destroyed and unable to be repaired. He went to the hospital for emergency treatment. The doctors decided that he actually did not need any more medical treatment. His specific medical bills were under a thousand dollars.
Even though a car accident was caused by slow-moving vehicles or was only a low-impact car accident, this does not mean every judge, member of the jury or any other decision-maker in your case will agree with you. When you need an attorney who knows how any kind of accident, big or small, can impact your life, you should contact our firm.
Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer
Navigating complex personal injury cases and handling insurance companies can make the recovery process even more difficult. Experienced attorneys strategically weigh the cost and benefits of each case to minimize the time and expense involved while maximizing their clients’ compensation.
Are you trying to secure your financial recovery with the help of experienced attorneys? If so, we can help.
The Pusch & Nguyen Law Firm has helped countless Texans handle their insurance disputes. Our experienced trial lawyers have gone up against some of the biggest names in the insurance industry while successfully bringing home payouts for clients. Our successful reputation speaks for itself, and with offices in both Houston and San Antonio, we are well equipped to assist Texans who are in dire need of our services. Register online for a free case evaluation or call us today at 713-528-8108 (Houston) or 210-702-3000 to schedule an appointment with a member of our team.