A number of insurance companies have implemented a new program aimed at reducing the amount of money you are paid as a result of your motor vehicle accident. Under this program, insurance companies are making low settlement offers on all soft-tissue injury claims involving low-speed crashes and minor vehicle damage.
The new program is referred to as DOLF (Defense of Litigated Files) or MIST (Minor Impact Soft Tissue) cases. These cases typically involve low-impact crashes with minor property damage as a result of which the injured party claims injuries to the neck or back – the classic whiplash case.
One of the major factors insurance companies look at in these cases is the amount of property damage, because they allege that the less damage there is to a motor vehicle, the less injury the claimant suffered.
Whiplash, or soft tissue injury, has been the subject of a great deal of research and study. Roughly one million whiplash injuries occur each year, many in low-impact crashes. Studies have shown that even in an impact at only five miles per hour, the sudden movement results in g-forces(gravitational and acceleration forces) high enough to turn the average human head into a 150-pound load resting on the spine.
One study showed that the less a car is damaged in a collision, the higher the acceleration of the impacted vehicle and the greater the risk of injury to the spine. This happens because a motor vehicle that compresses or collapses in a collision absorbs more of the force of the impact than one that remains undamaged.
So what can you do to improve the value of your personal injury case if you are involved in a low-impact collision?
One definition insurance companies use to determine if an impact was minor is whether there is less than $1,000 of property damage to the motor vehicle.
Since property damage estimates can vary by hundreds of dollars, you should take your damaged vehicle to the dealership for that make of motor vehicle. Generally speaking, dealerships will charge more to repair your damaged vehicle than will the local body shop. You should also insist that new parts, not reconditioned or used parts, be used to repair your vehicle.
If the estimate to your vehicle is higher, you stand a better chance of defeating the DOLF or MIST strategy used by many insurance adjusters.
If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident, download a free ebook to learn more about what you should do next. It is best to contact an experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney, to make sure your rights are fully protected. For a free consultation, call our team at 888-244-5480 today.