Probably not. Car accident cases with minor property damage and less-than-catastrophic injuries are some of the most difficult accident cases that personal injury lawyers handle. Many insurance companies have special units, sometimes called M.I.S.T. (Minor Impact Soft Tissue) units, set up to target and thwart these kinds of claims.
Although insurance companies generally do not share their inner workings and decision-making, we believe that claims are sent to M.I.S.T. units when injuries are reported in a car accident where the claimants property damage estimate (i.e. the repair bill for the plaintiff’s car) is below a certain amount. In cases with minor property damage, it is our opinion that adjusters are instructed to play “hard ball” and to make minimal settlement offers. We believe that insurance companies hope that most clamaints (and most personal injury lawyers) when faced with such minimal offers will walk away from these cases. After all, the insurance company probably reasons, with less-than-catastrophic injuries, the plaintiff’s “best day” (i.e. the best result a plaintiff is likely to achieve at a trial) is probably not enough to make it worth the plaintiff’s time, or his lawyers, in pursuing the claim.
In our opinion, many of these cases are worth pursuing with a lawsuit. We don’t believe that plaintiffs who have real and legitimate injuries should be compensated unfairly because their vehicle did not demonstrate a lot of property damage. Of course, these decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, and it is important for the lawyer and the client to communicate regarding goals and expectations.