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Can The Insurance Company Deny My Claim By Saying "Soft Tissue" Or "Minimum Impact"

“MIST” in the context of a personal injury claim means that the insurance company doesn't take your case seriously and isn't going to voluntarily pay you any money, or at least a reasonable amount of money. 

“MIST” means the insurance claims adjuster does not believe you are really hurt, and if you say you are, then the insurance company position is that you are exaggerating- or lying.

I personally first came across the concept of “MIST” in this context maybe 18 years ago while talking to a longtime, battle-hardened, former insurance claim adjuster. He told me of the practice at his company to label cases as “MIST”. He told me that in insurance company jargon, “MIST” means “minimal impact soft tissue.” The label reflects that insurance company's position that no one can be hurt in an automobile accident unless there is massive, visual property damage. It is reflective of that insurance company's position that soft tissue injuries are not significant, don’t hurt, and in any event, don’t occur unless there is damage to the involved vehicle. The label reflects that insurance company's position that the claim of one involved in a collision that did not involve substantial damage to the vehicles was one that they were not going to pay on. That position was not and is not unique. Years ago, the insurance industry adopted a fairly uniform front. It goes something like this. If there was no damage to the car, there was no damage to the people inside. If a crash only resulted in injuries to the musculature, ligaments, tendons and other connective tissues in someone's spine, they are not entitled to collect more than nominal damages for pain, distress or anguish.

Science does not support the position. Medicine does not support this position.

Nevertheless, insurance companies have for years successfully argued this position to judges and juries alike, without any evidentiary or scientific report, to a fair degree of success. I’ve countered this argument hundreds of times. Insurance companies are run by savy and sophisticated individuals. When a personal injury attorney takes them to court, insurance companies hire skilled attorneys to seek a ratification of their claims denials and lowball offers in court. They would not continue to make arguments that are ineffective. 

-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 7/24/20. 

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