MIST is a term that many insurance companies use to denigrate a car accident with minimum visible damage that causes injuries to the soft tissue in the neck and back.
MIST cases are often the hardest collision cases for a personal injury lawyer to handle. The liability is clear and the pain is real but insurance company offers are often low. Many cases have to be taken to trial.
The liability carrier’s argument that the crash does not appear to be so jarring that someone could have been injured is medically invalid. The goal of Berenson Injury Law is to prevent insurance companies from taking advantage of people who have been hurt. But with all of the trucks and SUVs and the increased traffic on the roads in North Texas, we see these crashes often. We fight to get fair settlements and jury verdicts for our clients.
Good recovery obtained for our client
For example, last week we finalized a $35,000 recovery for our client who was driving this truck. It was rear-ended by another pickup truck at a low rate of speed. Neither driver claimed injuries and they drove away. But our client’s head, neck, and back began hurting an hour later and the next day he had to go to a minor emergency clinic to be checked out. Later when the pain continued to increased he went to a hospital and chiropractor. An MRI was inconclusive.
The insurance company attorney for the at-fault driver did not believe our client could have been very injured. He also argued that our client was already 50-years-old, as if that proved he was hurt already. However with the help of our experts, we convinced the attorney that these property damage photographs were irrelevant, that our client was hurt, and that his company had to pay a reasonable settlement.
We then substantially reduced our client’s outstanding medical bills and our fee, waived expenses, and he received $21,700.
Our client was very pleased with our work and very nicely wrote this review on Google:
***** Mr. Berenson and his team did a thorough job on my case. I was happy with the settlement and the communication with me as it progressed. Highly recommend!
What is considered to be a “minor impact?”
After the claim is reported, the other driver’s insurance company takes photographs, reviews the estimate, and makes a determination of the extent of the property damage. Different companies use different numbers, but generally if the cost to repair is less than $1,500, many adjusters arbitrarily classify it as a MIST case and refuse to negotiate in good faith if injuries are reported.
The term has become an excuse for them to deny people who have been hurt their rightful compensation. There is no scientific proof that higher visible damage equates with higher injuries. Photographs can be deceptive and hide frame, chassis, and other damage that should be considered in the settlement or jury verdict value of the case.
What is a “soft tissue” injury?
A soft tissue injury is when the connective tissues like muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints are hurt. It can also refer to the soft discs between the vertebrae in the spinal column. Injuries to these parts of the body can be extremely painful and so serious that surgery is required. But the injuries never appear on x-rays and sometimes escape detection on magnetic resonance images (MRIs) and are therefore hard to prove. An insurance adjuster knows that people on a jury will be more skeptical of these injury claims than a broken arm or leg that can be easily shown, especially coupled with smaller visible damage to the vehicle.
The most common soft tissue injuries caused are strains, sprains, and contusions. Strains are tears in muscles or tendons and sprains are tears in ligaments. These can cause headaches and pain to the jaw, neck, area between the shoulder blades, shoulder, back, arm, finger, leg and toe pain, numbness and tingling. These problems can go on for months or even years.
Together, they are referred to as whiplash, which the insurance industry has spent millions of dollars deriding as a “get rich quick” scheme that people can fake or magnify.
Tips for how to get more money if you have been in one of these crashes
There is no question that these MIST claims are tougher, but they can be won. If you are attempting to resolve the claim yourself and hear the adjuster mention the term MIST, you should be prepared for a small offer.
We believe in educating the public as a way to prevent car accidents and make insurance companies pay for the damages their careless drivers cause so the following recommendation is made:
Hire a good injury lawyer. He will perform many services including the following:
- Take photographs of all vehicles involved, if possible.
- Get the police report and make sure it is accurate and get it corrected if there are mistakes. He will attempt to contact the police officer and see if he took photos or notes. He will obtain the estimate for your vehicle from the other driver’s insurance company and possibly have it estimated by an independent body shop or your own company, if you are initially filing the claim on your collision policy. He will make sure that all property damage, including hidden damage underneath the vehicle, has been itemized.
- Debunk the so-called biomechanical evidence presented by the defendant’s attorney.
- Help with all legal, medical, and insurance issues.
- File suit, go to court, and attempt to keep the photos, estimates, and other deceptive evidence from being admitted in pretrial motions.
You have two choices if your claim has been classified as a MIST one: either accept a low-ball offer or get legal help.
Berenson Injury Law is focused on helping North Texas residents recover from their car and truck wrecks and recover fair settlements or verdicts.
Contact us to schedule a free no obligation review of your collision case.