accident-reportThere are those who have a perception in a rear end collision that because the other driver is clearly at fault, her insurance company is going to have to pay out a large settlement. That is not necessarily true.
Certainly, if you are rear ended and your car is so severely damaged that they must cut you out of it, and then they put you in a neck brace, strap you to a backboard and rush you to the hospital for emergency surgery, the insurance company will have a hard time convincing a jury that you are not entitled to full and fair compensation for a severe injury.  But in some rear end collisions, there isn’t much damage to the vehicle that was hit.  These are cases that insurance companies fight very vigorously.
There are three things you need to prove in a rear end collision case.  First, the other driver must be legally liable, meaning they must have been negligent in a manner that caused the collision.  In a rear end collision, it is very difficult for them to show that their insured driver was not negligent.  But, you must also prove you sustained an injury, and you must prove that it was the other driver’s conduct that caused that injury.  In low impact, small property damage cases, that can be very difficult.
Insurance companies know that the easiest way to defend against a rear end collision case is not to contest fault, but to contest that you sustained any injury at all in the collision.  Experience has shown them that juries will tend to automatically believe you couldn’t have been hurt if there is little or no damage to your car.
Some insurance companies will even argue that all people who claim an injury in a low impact, rear end collision are liars who act like they’ve “won the lottery” (I actually had an insurance defense lawyer argue that in trial).   If the evidence in your medical records does not show a claim of injury at the scene of the collision, or if it is inconsistent or contains gaps in treatment, that can be interpreted as evidence of a lack of a genuine injury, and it can be nearly impossible to get fair compensation for a that injury.  So insurance companies are playing the odds when presented with an injury claim resulting from a rear end collision with little damage to the cars; they figure they may be able to avoid paying any compensation regardless of the medical evidence.
There are also “experts” who are both Physical Engineers and Medical Doctors, who testify on behalf of insurance companies that with little or no damage to the vehicles, it is physically and medically impossible for a human being to sustain any injury in that instance.  Unbelievably, they testify to this opinion based completely on pictures of the vehicles, damage estimates, and the medical records of the alleged injured party.
Do not get the impression that it is not possible to prove an injury in a low impact, rear end collision.  It is.  At MacCloskey Kesler & Associates we have had success proving these kinds of cases, but it all depends on the particular facts of each case.  The best way to find out if we can help you with your case is to call us at 815-965-2000 (or 877-965-2100) for a free consultation.
So, if you are involved in a low impact rear end collision, and you are injured, or you are involved in any motor vehicle collision, tell the responding police officer you were hurt, get immediate and consistent medical care and follow your doctors’ advice.   And call us right away so we can help you.  Otherwise you play into the insurance company defense and can become your own worst witness.