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Can You Bring a Personal Injury Car Accident Claim With Little to No Damage to Your Vehicle?
The Scottsdale car accident attorneys at Scottsdale Injury Lawyers receive several calls a week from individuals involved in car accidents. Some of those individuals are involved in high-impact car accidents. The vehicles in those crashes usually have substantial damage.
Others are involved in low to medium impact car accidents. Low to medium impact car accidents typically produce less damage to the vehicles involved. One question frequently asked by clients is how the damage to the vehicles affects their ability to recover for their personal injury car accident claim.
You Can Still Recover For Your Car Accident Injury With Little to No Visible Vehicle Damage
Vehicle damage is just one factor that an insurance company is able to consider in valuing your personal injury claim. However, most computer software systems that insurance companies use to value car accidents claims do not give much weight to the vehicle damage. In fact, some claims adjusting software do not consider the vehicle damage at all.
That is not to say that the insurance adjuster is not able to consider it. Indeed, often times an insurance adjuster will take this into account. However, it does not highly influence the number produced by the software as to what should be paid to settle the car accident claim. In fact, the most important factors considered, by most claims adjusting software, are the medical diagnoses, medical treatment and medical expenses.
No Visible Vehicle Damage Does Not Mean No Vehicle Damage
Just because a vehicle does not show significant damage, does not mean that the vehicle was not damaged or that the impact from the crash was insignificant. In fact, modern vehicles have bumpers that are meant to absorb an impact and rebound without significant damage. Often times, the amount of damage to the vehicles is a result of how the bumpers align for those two vehicles.
When two vehicles have mismatched bumpers, the damage can be significant. This means that if the bumper of one vehicle is lower or higher than the other, the bumpers effectively serve no purpose. Indeed, a lower impact collision with mismatched bumpers can result in significant vehicle damage. On the other hand, a higher impact collision with bumpers that are aligned may have far less damage even though the forces in that collision are much greater.
The below video explains this concept in detail.
When the bumpers of two vehicles align correctly, the bumpers serve their purpose. In this situation, there may not be extensive damage to the vehicle.
How To Obtain a Large Car Accident Injury Settlement With No Visible Damage to Your Vehicle
Obtaining a large settlement for a car accident with little visible vehicle damage is difficult, but not impossible. There are ways that a skilled personal injury attorney may be able to do this for you. The Scottsdale car accident attorneys at our firm have successfully recovered large settlements and even won large verdicts with vehicles with little to no vehicle damage.
People With Pre-existing Medical Conditions Can Be Injured in Low-Impact Crashes With Little Vehicle Damage
A person who has a pre-existing medical condition can be injured in a low-impact car accident. These accidents typically produce little vehicle damage. However, since the individual has a pre-existing condition, they are unusually susceptible to injury. In other words, less force is required to injure them.
For example, someone who is elderly or frail, has a greater chance of being injured than someone who is younger or stout. Imagine an 80-year-old grandmother driving a bumper car at a local carnival. If she was seriously injured, no one would be surprised. On the other hand, it would be surprising if a healthy, athletic, person in his or her early twenties was seriously injured doing the exact same activity.
Our Car Accident Attorneys Recently Settled a Pre-Existing Medical Condition Case
The personal injury attorneys at Scottsdale Injury Lawyers represent many elderly individuals in car accident cases. Often times, these individuals have pre-existing medical problems. Just last month, we settled a car accident claim for our client who was involved in a low-impact, rear-end collision.
While the client was waiting at a stop light, the driver of the vehicle behind her failed to stop in time. The crash produced little vehicle damage. However, the client had recently received a neck fusion for a cervical disc problem that she had. At the time of the crash, she was in post-operative physical therapy.
Below is a picture of the client’s vehicle which showed almost no visible vehicle damage.
We were able to advance a claim on her behalf because the crash made her pain worse and her recovery from surgery longer. The client initially hesitated to hire a personal injury attorney because there was little damage to her vehicle. Further, she believed that her recent neck surgery would make it too difficult to recover and that it would not be possible to distinguish her pain from the surgery from the pain caused by the crash.
She was wrong. We obtained a substantial settlement on her behalf. She was very happy with the result.
There May Be Underlying Damage To the Vehicle That Is Not Visible From The Outside
In many modern cars, the amount of visible damage from a crash does not accurately reflect the impact. Often times, a vehicle may show little exterior damage, but components under the bumper cover or exterior panels may be damaged. Specifically, components such as the frame, the energy absorber and reinforcement bar.
When these components are damaged, it is evidence that the crash may be more significant. Simply put, that the crash generated greater forces capable of damaging these parts. While the exterior damage may be deceiving, the underlying damage could tell the story of a more serious collision.
Our Car Accident Attorneys Obtained a $240,000 Jury Verdict on a Crash With Almost No Visible Damage
Our car accident attorneys obtained a $240,000 jury verdict in a car accident case where there was almost no visible damage to our client’s vehicle. The case was tried in Maricopa County. In that case, our car accident attorneys were able to show that the underlying components of the vehicle sustained damage.
Pictured below are the client’s bumper showing very little damage. However, also pictured are the energy absorber and steel reinforcement bar. Both of those components were damaged.
In this particular case, the client had continuing neck problems after the crash. Eventually, the client needed a neck surgery. The insurance company claimed that the crash was not significant enough to cause his injuries.
Our car accident attorneys put on evidence that showed that the damage to the reinforcement bar and energy absorber showed that the crash caused significant force. The insurance company offered less than $24,000 to settle the case. This was far less than his medical expenses. We tried the case and obtained a jury verdict of $240,000.
An Objective Injury Can Prove That The Car Accident Caused It Even Without Vehicle Damage
An objective injury is one that can be proven with hard evidence. This involves broken bones, brain bleeds, torn ligaments, etc. With these injuries there is conclusive proof that they exist. While an insurance company can contest what caused the injury, they can not contest that the injury exists.
On the other hand, a subjective injury is one that is reported. There is no x-ray or diagnostic test that proves the injury. To the contrary, the only thing that supports the injury is the injured person’s reporting of the injury.
With an objective injury, as long as you can prove that the crash caused it, the at-fault party will be held responsible. This is even without serious vehicle damage. If there is nothing else that could have caused the injury, then an injured person is in a good position to recover based upon the car accident being the cause.
Our Car Accident Attorneys Recently Settled A Case With An Objective Injury and No Serious Vehicle Damage
Our Scottsdale car accident attorneys recently settled a case for a client. That client came to our firm after the original personal injury attorney he hired dropped his case. His previous attorney dropped his case because the insurance company offered nothing to settle his case. The insurance company claimed that there was not enough vehicle damage to show the client was injured. In other words, they essentially accused him of insurance fraud.
The client was waiting at a stop light to turn right. The vehicle behind him believed he had turned and proceeded ahead. This caused a rear end collision. The at-fault driver claimed he “tapped” our client’s vehicle. Our client believed it was a more substantial impact and that he was injured as a result.
Below are photos of the damage to our client’s car and the at fault party’s vehicle.
We took the case on and filed a lawsuit. The client had objective findings of injury including a herniated disc. After litigating the case for more than one year, we were able to settle his case for an amount that paid off all his medical expenses and also put money in his pocket.
Car Accident Cases With Serious Vehicle Damage Are Always Easier to Handle
Make no mistake about it—car accidents that result in greater vehicle damage are easier cases to resolve. Cases with little to no vehicle damage require a skilled car accident attorney. They are much harder cases.
Insurance companies take every opportunity to deny claims or to not pay fair amounts. When insurance adjusters see a claim with minimal vehicle damage, this emboldens them to deny a claim and pay a low amount. When this happens, you need an attorney who is willing to file a lawsuit to get you the compensation you deserve and hold the insurance company to task.
Contact an Experienced Scottsdale Car Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident in Scottsdale or anywhere across Arizona, contact our law firm today. We only earn a fee if we recover for you and a consultation is free. Our skilled lawyers regularly handle complex and difficult personal injury and car accident cases. We have a proven track records of success and results. This includes large value settlements and big money verdicts. Contact Scottsdale Injury Lawyers today.
About the author: The content on this page was provided by Scottsdale personal injury attorney and civil rights lawyer Tony Piccuta. Piccuta graduated with honors from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana (Previously Ranked Top 35 US News & World Report). Piccuta took and passed the State bars of Arizona, California, Illinois and Nevada (all on the first try). He actively practices throughout Arizona and California. He is a trial attorney that regularly handles serious personal injury cases and civil rights lawsuits. He has obtained six and seven figure verdicts in both state and federal court. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers for six years straight. He is a member of the Arizona Association of Justice, Maricopa County Bar Association, Scottsdale Bar Association, American Association for Justice, National Police Accountability Project and Consumer Attorneys of California, among other organizations.
Disclaimer: The information on this web site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information on this page is attorney advertising. Reading and relying upon the content on this page does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact our law firm for a free consultation and to discuss your specific case and issues.