Car accident claims raise challenges far beyond the deceptively simple application forms insurance companies send.
Those injured often think it unnecessary to retain a car accident lawyer. The forms are so simple. The adjuster is so friendly. Insurance websites sometimes show the claim process as a simple fill-in-the-blanks exercise simple as “ABC.”
Hiding behind the simple pretense though lurk several decades of increasingly aggressive insurer tactics, driven by financial and other consultants, to depart from claim-by-claim evaluation and to push claims into a cookie-cutter like process. This is why you shouldn’t overlook the importance of getting a lawyer on the side.
Minor Impact Soft Tissue: ‘MIST’ Car Accident Claims
One pigeon-hole insurance companies push car accident claims into is the MIST category. The ‘Minor Impact Soft Tissue’ segment of claims earmarks a claim for special target practice. The ‘MIST’ label covers claims caused by relatively low-speed crashes and usually causing injuries other than broken bones or other immediately manifested injuries.
Insurance adjusters starting in the 1990s received training to view MIST claims in a special category. Tactics include assuming fraud from day one, sending claims to SIU ‘Special Investigation Units’. Scorched-earth tactics also include submitting medical bills and records to paid medical insurance consultants who assume the treatment was unnecessary, unreasonable, and prolonged.
Does Minimum Impact Mean Minimum Injuries?
Insurance companies overlook automotive and biomechanical experts who document that there’s no direct relationship between vehicle damage and injuries to the people inside in car accident claims:
Small vehicles, even at low speeds can generate significant force, enough force to cause substantial bodily injury. Impact-resistant bumpers and body frames currently absorb less force than in older cars, leaving more collision generated kinetic energy available to injure those inside the vehicle. The extent of injuries relates more to the amount of kinetic energy generated by the collision, the ability to dissipate that energy, passenger awareness, body posture at impact and many other factors.
Nonetheless, insurance companies highlight photos of minor vehicle damage, shrugging their shoulders to the reality that scientific data supports significant injuries even where vehicles show minor damage.
Car Accident Claims & Injuries: A Roadmap
Overcoming bad insurance company assumptions most often requires expert testimony. But experts cost thousands. Unrepresented people can’t support such expenses. Therefore it’s crucial from the start of the claim to make the insurer aware that an experienced attorney who has confronted such issues before will represent the individual, understanding the minimization tactics and cutting through the obstacles.
Insurers push MIST and other car accident claims into a low settlement ballpark, refusing to negotiate settlement beyond a low range. Insurers then notify attorneys and those injured that beyond the initial low settlement range, the claim must be tried, pushing up costs and requiring more time. With in-house legal staff, it costs insurers no more to litigate, throwing out the window the old assumption by many that insurance companies would rather settle than run up legal costs.