Do I Have A Case If There Was No Damage After A Car Wreck?
You may still have a personal injury claim even if your car sustained no damage in the accident. Tort law allows victims of bodily harm an avenue to pursue compensation for their losses when someone’s carelessness causes an accident. The most common type of personal injury case involves many variations of auto accidents. If you have questions about your right to compensation, you can contact a car accident attorney to discuss the details and learn more about your options.
Did You Suffer Injuries in the Accident?
Personal injury law allows you to recover your losses for bodily harm caused by another person’s negligence. For example, suppose you suffered an injury in a car accident. In that case, you could still file a claim against the at-fault driver for any financial and psychological damages associated with your case.
Possible Injuries From a Minor Collision
The most common injury from a car accident is whiplash. You can suffer whiplash from a collision at speeds as low as five miles per hour. It is caused by the abrupt stop that characterizes car accidents. The body often reacts by forcefully moving forward and backward, swinging the head in opposite directions. As a result, the neck suffers tiny tears in the soft tissue, causing the neck to swell.
Whiplash is a painful condition that can last for days, weeks, months or even years with recurring systems. The most severe cases require corrective surgery. Victims often find it debilitating, interfering with everyday life, including taking care of household chores and performing their job duties.
Other common injuries from even a minor car accident with minimal to no property damage include:
- Soft tissue damage anywhere in the body but specifically in the neck and back
- Traumatic brain injuries, including mild to severe concussions
- Internal bleeding
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Herniated disc
People with pre-existing conditions are more vulnerable to injuries. For example, someone with a previous knee injury is more likely to suffer a recurrence of injury in an auto accident. The elderly are also more likely to suffer a severe injury in a minor car accident. Factors like where the impact occurred, where you were positioned inside the vehicle and whether you wore a seatbelt can all contribute to injuries.
How Can You Build a Case With No Property Damage?
Property damage is one element of recoverable damages from an auto accident injury. To build your case for compensation, you must consider the accident’s full impact and how it affected you. The process starts with what you do in the immediate aftermath of the crash.
Steps You Can Take To Protect Your Right to Compensation
When a car crash between two or more vehicles occurs, you can take specific steps in the minutes, hours, days and weeks that follow to build your case and protect your right to compensation. Some critical steps to consider include the following:
- Report the accident to the police. A common misconception is that you do not need to report a car crash if it did not result in property damage. However, filing a police report creates a record you could use to connect your injuries to the accident. You can call the police to the scene or file a report yourself online.
- Seek medical attention. You may assume you do not need to see a doctor if you have no visible injuries. However, internal injuries can have latent symptoms and cause irreparable damage if left untreated for a short period. Visit your local hospital or urgent care for a complete evaluation and create a medical record of your injuries.
- Document the accident and your recovery. You can start at the scene by taking photographs of everything, including the position of both vehicles and any injuries you can see with the naked eye. Then, in the days and weeks that follow, keep track of your medical bills and journal about your recovery experience.
- Collect contact information. Ask the other driver for their insurance and contact information. If there are any eyewitnesses, collect their names and phone numbers as well.
If you have questions about the accident and your right to compensation, you can contact a personal injury attorney with experience helping car accident victims. They can explain the laws applicable to your case and what you need to pursue an at-fault claim in Michigan.
What Losses Can You Recover With No Property Damage?
Most recoverable damages from an at-fault auto accident claim relate to bodily and psychological harm. They fall into two categories of compensatory damages. The economic losses are the financial consequences of your injuries, and the non-economic losses are your psychological repercussions. The severity of your injuries determines how you recover those losses in Michigan.
No-Fault Auto Insurance in Michigan
Michigan is a no-fault auto accident state. Therefore, all drivers operating a registered vehicle must purchase personal injury protection insurance along with other state-mandated liability insurance requirements. Personal injury protection covers several expenses if you suffer an injury in a car accident. For example, you can file a PIP claim for all necessary medical expenses, up to 85% of missed income and $20 per day for any services, such as household care, needed during your recovery.
The problem with PIP coverage is that it does not cover non-economic losses and is sometimes insufficient for severe injuries. To bypass this system and file an at-fault claim, your injuries must constitute serious impairment or permanent disfigurement. If the at-fault driver is a non-resident of the state or your accident occurred outside of Michigan, you can also overstep the no-fault policy.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
When you file an at-fault claim, you are responsible for providing sufficient evidence to prove that the at-fault driver owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident, breached that duty by violating road rules and caused your accident through that violation. Additionally, you must prove all your damages. In most car accident cases, there is some variation of the following:
- Medical expenses, including hospital and doctor visits, medications, medical devices, surgeries, rehabilitation treatments and ongoing care for disability
- Lost wages, including current and projected missed income
- Loss of earning capacity if your injuries caused a permanent disability
- Physical pain and suffering from your injury and the treatment
- Emotional distress or mental anguish, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress or depression
You can provide medical bills and previous pay stubs to calculate those expenses, but non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, require more extensive proof and valuation. For example, you can calculate the total cost of medical care and multiply it by a number between 1.5 and 5 to tally pain and suffering. However, you may want to speak with an attorney about your accident to ensure you have an accurate value.
Should You Contact a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you sustained an injury in a minor car accident caused by another driver, you still could seek compensation for your financial and psychological losses. The first step is to contact a car accident lawyer to learn more about your legal options. At Mike Morse Law Firm, we keep our caseloads low and our phone lines open to ensure victims have experienced legal representation. To learn more about how we can help you build a case, contact us at (855) 968-3732 to schedule your free consultation and speak to a car accident lawyer.