Car Crash Impact and Case Value
If you have the misfortune of being involved in a car crash and suffer injuries as a result, the insurance company for the driver at fault will nearly always look at the property damage to the vehicles to determine the extent of the possible injuries. In other words, if there is modest damage to the victim's vehicle, so their argument goes, then the physical injuries could not be that bad. There are several reasons why this is often wrong. First, the damage to the injured party's vehicle may look modest, but the at-fault party's car might be decimated. For example, when a small passenger car runs into the back of a full-sized, pickup truck with a sturdy bumper, you will often see little damage to the bumper but major front-end damage to the passenger car. Additionally, not everybody is physically the same in terms of how easily they can be injured. Older adults with severe arthritis (or some other degenerative condition) might be more susceptible to an injury than the "average", more resilient person. A modest or light impact may cause a severe injury in someone who is more easily harmed.
How To Combat the "Modest Impact" Defense
As mentioned above, one vehicle in an accident may show little damage while the other may be a total loss. It is often important, for this reason, to take photographs of ALL vehicles at the scene of a crash. The insurance company will want to focus all of their attention and their arguments on the least damaged vehicle. Don't fall for this. Simply counter with the fact the at-fault driver's car was destroyed. The force that caused that damage likely traveled into the cab of the injured party's vehicle, regardless of what their rear bumper looks like.
With a victim who is more susceptible to injury (what is known in the law as an "egg-shell" plaintiff), it is often necessary to prove this frailty by gathering and providing medical records that predate the subject accident. Ideally, they will show a pre-existing condition (such as degenerative joint disease, etc.) that was symptomatic in the distant past, but which had not given rise to any complaints or medical treatment recently. When an accident exacerbates an otherwise asymptomatic condition, the at-fault party is liable for all of the injuries and damages that follow. This is known as "taking the victim as they find them." If, on the other hand, the injured party was recently receiving medical treatment for a pre-accident condition, it may be difficult to establish just what harm was caused by the crash.
What To Do After a Car Crash
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car crash that may have left one vehicle with modest damage, do not accept a modest settlement from the insurance company because you do not think you can prove your injuries and damages. Insurance company adjusters spend their entire careers refining and perfecting their arguments. Do not let such a polished argument deny you a fair settlement. A seasoned personal injury attorney can help combat the insurer's arguments and get you the compensation you truly deserve.