Insurance claims for injury in “minor impact soft tissue” accidents

Some of the most challenging cases for personal injury attorneys and their clients are automobile accidents that involve minor property damage.  The insurance industry has a term for these cases: M.I.S.T. for Minor Impact, Soft Tissue.

The acronym MIST is problematic in itself because it uses the term “Impact” interchangeably with “Property Damage.”  Just because a vehicle does not have heavy damage on visual inspection does not mean a vehicle sustained low impact forces.  For example: if one armored car rear-ends another armored car at 35 miles-per-hour, neither armored car will sustain much visible damage but that doesn’t mean the occupants inside the armored cars weren’t subjected to a significant impact.  Of course, we don’t all drive armored cars but the example illustrates the basic concept.

SUVs and pickup trucks typically sustain significantly less damage in a car accident than passenger cars, particularly when the car or SUV is rear-ended.  Insurance adjusters are very quick to point to the minimal damage to the injured person’s pickup or SUV and claim that is evidence the impact was minor, hence there should be little or no injury to the people inside.

An interesting journal article published in a 2005 edition of Pain Research & Management and written my medical doctors found little support for the insurance industry’s position that injuries due to low property damage collisions are in people’s heads.  That article is available here: A Review of the Literature Refuting the Concept of Minor Impact Soft Tissue Injury