How Does Property Damage Affect the Outcome of a Personal Injury Claim?
The notion that there is a correlation between the dollar amount of property damage in a motor vehicle accident and the severity of a personal injury has some logical appeal. If a car’s front end is smashed in, then the occupants would seem to be more likely smashed as well.
Even defense attorneys - who routinely argue that where a car involved in a motor vehicle accident does not cost much to repair, the occupant can’t be hurt- would be hard pressed to find any medical literature to support that proposition.
It's a curious argument in many ways. People's perceptions on the topic naturally tend to correlation. If a car is destroyed in an accident, few if any people would have a a hard time believing that the occupant was horribly injured, perhaps even fatally. Yet we have all seen stories of such accidents where the driver "walks away without a scratch". This certainly suggests there is no direct connections between property damage ans personal injury in every cases. Yet common sense would lead us to believe that the more serious that damage to the cars, the more serious the damage to the occupants. Is the revers always true? The fact that you might be more likely to be hurt in an accident that involved a lot of property damage does not mean you can’t sustain a serious personal injury in an accident that involves little or none. It’s really an apples and oranges comparison. Nevertheless, it is made every day in courtrooms throughout the state. The insurance industry has been enormously successful in convincing jurors, judges, and policyholders that an individual involved in a "low speed" car accident, with little or no visible property damage, just simply cannot be seriously hurt, or hurt at all.
-This Article was update by Eric Kirk on 6/5/20.
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