Although high(er)-impact collisions tend to cause more harm, any type of impact, even low-speed collisions, can result in injury. In Illinois, there is no requirement that a victim’s injuries meet a certain threshold level in order to seek compensation for damages sustained in an auto accident that was caused by the negligence of another motorist. Regardless of how large or small a crash is, or how significant an injury, what matters most is causation—or stated differently—the Defendant’s fault in causing the incident that resulted in the injuries that the Plaintiff is complaining of.
Injury claims extending from low-impact collisions often involve unique issues of causation that set them apart from other types of auto negligence cases. One of the most common obstacles presented to the victims of low-speed impacts, is proving causation for the injuries sustained. Insurance companies may attempt to devalue such claims by arguing that the injuries complained of could not have possibly occurred as a result of a minor impact. This is particularly true in cases where there is only minimal damage to the vehicle involved, because insurance companies like to equate vehicle damage with injuries caused when evaluating claims.
As car accident attorneys, we are well-aware of the tactics used by insurers to either support their reasoning for rejecting a claim, or to intimidate claimants into accepting low-ball settlement offers. It is important for victims to understand that rarely does the speed upon impact or the extent of vehicle damage, in and of themselves, provide rational grounds for disputing the validity of a claim. Generally, what matters most when injury causation is the sole issue at hand, is whether the Plaintiff is able to prove that, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, their injuries were caused by the incident set into motion by the Defendant’s actions.
While insurance companies may attempt to present evidence in support of their contention that minimal force cannot cause significant injury, the ultimate decision regarding issues of injury causation resides in the hands of jurors. A seasoned attorney, with experience in representing victims in low-impact collisions cases, has the legal know-how to negate evidence presented by opposing counsel, limit the impact of evidence on juror perception, and where appropriate, motion the court to deem such evidence inadmissible.
Another common issue in proving injury causation in low-impact collisions is aggravation of pre-existing conditions. The victim may have suffered a prior injury that was exacerbated due to the crash, or may have age-related degenerative bone condition that makes them more susceptible to injury. Often time, the condition was asymptomatic, in a state of remission, or separate and distinct from the injury complained of. The axiom of law is clear on the principle that a Defendant takes a victim as they are found. Consequently, while the Defendant may present evidence to negate liability due to the presence of a pre-existing condition, an experienced Plaintiffs’ attorney knows the importance of presenting contradictory evidence—leaving the jury, as trier-of-fact to evaluate the evidence presented by each of the parties.
Causational issues in low-impact collisions can also arise when some other intervening factor causes or contributes to an injury. For example, where a defective airbag either fails to deploy, or causes injury upon deployment. Or, where a victim sustains further injury as a result of seeking treatment from a negligent medical provider (i.e. medical malpractice).
Selecting an attorney with the legal insight to properly assess both fault, as well as injury causation, can make a profound difference in the amount of financial compensation recovered. The Chicago attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. have obtained favorable outcomes on behalf of numerous victims injured in low-impact collisions.
Contact us online, or give us a call at 773-516-4100, and allow our legal team to evaluate your case, and answer any questions you may have, at no cost or obligation to you.