CALIFORNIA LOW PROPERTY DAMAGE BODILY INJURY CLAIM: I was injured in a California motor vehicle accident and had very little damage to my vehicle. The at-fault insurance company is now denying my claim asserting I could have not been injured given the small property damage amount to my vehicle. What are my options now?

Sadly, more and more insurance companies are implementing a policy of denying bodily injury claims outright, or only offering a nominal sum to settle, when the property damage is below a certain monetary amount, like $1,000.00.  Some insurance companies group these claims into what is called a MIST case.  MIST stands for "minor impact soft tissue."

The first thing you should know is that there is no credible scientific support for the proposition that injury potential can be determined based on the extent of property damage caused to the vehicle. However, these "low damage" cases may be difficult to prove in court because jurors often believe that injuries cannot occur in low speed crashes; especially when the defense blows up photographs of the small vehicle damage.  When the vehicle damage is below $1,000.00, you sometimes cannot even see the physical damage.

Even worse, insurance companies, who are usually in the better position to hire experts, will often hire self-proclaimed "experts" to help them spread the myth that low damage means little or no injury. If you find yourself in this position, here are a few suggestions:

1.  First, take your car to another reliable automotive shop to determine the full extent of damage. Quite often, most of the damage will be hidden and an expert will need to dissemble the rear bumper and check the vehicle for all possible signs of impact.

2.  Second, you must adequately document all damage and all evidence that a collision occurred. This means taking photographs and compiling a thorough repair estimate.

3.  Third, do not repair the vehicle or accept a property settlement until you have spoken to an attorney.

4.  Finally, you need to hire experienced counsel because a lawsuit is probably inevitable. My law office has successfully handled many claims involving "low damage" collisions. Please email me directly or contact my office if you wish to discuss your claim further.

More Legal Qestions About Car & Motorcycle Accidents?

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