One of my clients was in a car accident, which wasn’t his fault. He had tried to settle the case on his own but changed his mind when told he had a MIST case, receiving a very low settlement offer.
MIST stands for “Minor Impact Soft Tissue” injury. MIST cases typically arise when the property damage to the car is anywhere between $1,000 and $2,500. The defendant insurance companies are known to flag such cases and very often offer very little to settle a person’s injury claim, despite the real level of injury.
What should I do if I have a MIST case?
If you’re in a car accident with little property damage and you go to a doctor who diagnoses you with a soft tissue injury, I recommend that you do not try and settle the case yourself with the insurance company. You should contact an experienced personal injury attorney who knows the games insurance companies play.
The logic of the insurance company is this. “If there wasn’t a lot of property damage, then the person could not possibly be badly injured.” This is an absolute fallacy.
In another article I wrote, “What are soft tissue injuries and how are they treated”, I explain that soft tissue injuries are any injury to a soft part of the body, such as tendons, muscles and ligaments. Just because a person doesn’t have broken bones does not mean the injury was minimal. Soft tissue injuries can be very painful and sometimes crippling.
Severe soft tissue injuries can occur even in low-impact collisions, and can require a great deal of medical treatment and expense. Such injuries can include sprains, strains, head trauma and nerve damage. These can lead to loss wages, loss of employment and a very low quality of life.
A 2005 study conducted by CJ Centeno, M Freeman and WL Elkins revealed that variables such as stiffness and elasticity of vehicles, the seat design, the occupant mass, the position of the occupants, and the vehicle dynamics are not taken into account in MIST cases. They concluded that there is no direct correlation between a change in velocity and the risk of serious injury.
Head trauma, nerve damage, sprains and strains can be severely painful, as well as debilitating. One study reported that over a span of 15.5 years, 70% of all the patients of low-impact accidents who were followed continued to have symptoms (headaches, back, neck, and leg pain, etc.).
I always advise my clients to seek immediate medical attention after an accident, no matter how minor the crash may seem. It can be several days, or even months after the car crash when soft tissue injuries symptoms start to appear.
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