If Someone Else's Car Touches Mine- Am I Entitled To Monetary Compensation?
Car accidents are a fairly common occurrence in all urban and metropolitan areas. Certainly, Baltimore and the surrounding suburbs are no exception. Roads, highways shopping centers, strip malls, parking lots, fast food. Congestion is rampant. Some vehicles are simply too big for routine urban use. The very nature of urban and suburban traffic makes it much more likely that there will be contact between motor vehicles in much the same way that a crowded subway setting makes it likely there will be contact, at some point, between passengers. The relatively low speeds involved when one is operating a vehicle add an intersection, in a parking lot, or while in stop-and-go traffic- in many instances- would suggest at first glance that the relative physical forces and velocities involved between colliding vehicles perhaps would not be as significant as one would expect at higher speeds. In these instances, the corresponding damage to vehicles, if any, may be relatively modest.
But what about damage to the occupant of these vehicles?
If another driver, through an act of negligence, causes his or her car to collide with your car, and your car sustains physical property damage, you are absolutely entitled to compensation from that negligent person or their insurance company for the cost of having your car fixed.
You are not, however, entitled to additional compensation unless you sustained additional damage.
Perhaps another way to say it is the law does not recognize a remedy, in this case money damages, in the absence of a loss for which those damages are designed as compensation. It goes without saying that there is no personal injury claim without a bodily injury. If you have been injured as a result of a collision between vehicles there might be other ancillary damages in addition to payment for the damage to your car. Common examples are the payment of medical expenses, lost wages as well as non-economic damages for the any physical discomfort suffered.
The mere fact that a collision occurred between vehicles does not entitle anyone to compensation for anything. If there are losses that result from the collision, the legal ramifications may be different.
it is certainly a hallmark of many insurance company defense arguments that there was no property damage in the collision, therefore no one could have been hurt. A refined version of this common insurance company tactic is to argue that since there was not significant property damage, no one could have been hurt badly enough to need any treatment beyond a cursory emergency room evaluation. Now, this is not true objectively, scientifically, empirical, or logically. However, there is an element of truth to it. There is no compensation for bodily injury from a car accident simply because two cars made contact.