Today I want to speak to you about the importance of how property damage figures into the evaluation of your personal injury case. After practicing law since 1993, it has become painfully obvious to me that the amount of property damage to your vehicle is an important factor in having an insurance company, or a jury, or a judge, believe that you are injured. What the insurance companies and the defense often do, is they say, "Well, there wasn't a lot of property damage to your car, so therefore you couldn't have been injured." Or, "The extent of your injuries isn't as bad as you say because the damage to your vehicle is not that bad."
The truth is, after years in the courtroom and after years of doing this, there is a lot of truth to that. Generally speaking, juries, judges, insurance adjusters want to see an appreciable amount of property damage to your vehicle, or else they're going to give you a hard time. Now, are they right in doing so? Well, some people out there try to make mountains out of molehills and they do try to allege that they were injured in an accident when in fact they weren't. What the problem is, is that if you were indeed injured, if you don't have property damage that matches the degree of your injury, don't be surprised if the insurance company gives you a hard time.
If you barely have a scratch to your car and you're alleging all kinds of injuries and you need surgery and this, that or the other, just be prepared for the argument. So you need to be able to show, even though there's not a lot of property damage, you still might have been injured. You see, there are many studies out there that show that even at lower velocity, impacts, depending on the individual, they can still be injured. Some people might also be inclined to injury. They may have a predisposition to injury. They might have a prior condition that makes them more susceptible to injury. You might be one of those people who's standing at the edge of the cliff and then an impact occurs and pushes you off that cliff, even though the impact itself wasn't horrific and wasn't terribly large. The other thing you can do is you could see if there was any frame damage to the vehicle. Sometimes, frame damage is a way to show that the impact was stronger than it might look on the exterior of the car.
But just keep in mind that the amount of damage to your vehicle will likely be a factor in the insurance company's appraisal of your injuries. The more significant the property damage, the easier it is for them to believe that you were injured. The lower the property damage, the more they're going to give you a hard time. Thank you very much for watching this video. I hope you found it helpful.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,