The extent of property damage in car accidents is important in determining how a car insurance company deals with personal injury claims. What most Las Vegas personal injury attorneys know and the public may not is that low property damage in Las Vegas car accidents equates to low offers and a take it or leave it attitude from insurance companies. Such cases have often been categorized as MIST cases—Minor Impact Soft Tissue injury cases. The experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorneys at D.R. Patti & Associates would agree with such classifications, as low property damage in Las Vegas car accidents does not necessarily equate with minor impact, but that is a blog for a different day.
But insurance companies do equate minor property damage with low impact, as part of their “delay, deny, defend” strategy. They developed this strategy in the mid-1990s as a way to increase their profits. By taking a hardline approach, insurance companies made the car accident cases with less property damage more expensive and more time-consuming to fight. They take this approach regardless of whether the accident victim is an eggshell plaintiff or how other extenuating circumstances. An eggshell plaintiff is someone who is more susceptible to injury. The insurance company’s goal is to deter MIST or claims for personal injuries based on low property damages.
Unfortunately, automobile insurance companies are winning. Quite a few Las Vegas personal injury attorneys are now less inclined to take cases with low property damage in Las Vegas car accidents. Even when an attorney has taken on such a case, some are less inclined to litigate even when the insurance company offers a mere pittance, sometimes offers below the personal injury client’s medical bills. On some few occasions, automobile insurance companies lose, and sometimes lose big, but these occasions do not make enough of a big dent in the trillion dollar insurance industry pockets to stop this strategy. According a book by Rutgers law professor, Jay M. Feinman, property/casualty insurance companies collect $440 billion in premiums and pay only about $250 billion in claims each year.
The “delay, deny, defend” strategy works well for the automobile insurance industry in Las Vegas because they know Clark County jurors’ reputation as conservative. To me, Clark County jurors in general are skeptical. They generally have bought into the idea that a person cannot be possibly injured. They tend to see persons making personal injury claims as simply out to make money, seeking a reward rather than compensation. A CNN article referenced a case where the victim of a rear-ender who incurred $15,000.00 in medical bills and lost wages received only $1,500.00 because the jury did not believe she could be injured when her car only had dents. According to the article, three of the jurors said that blow-up photos of the minor property damage sealed the plaintiff’s fate. That case could very well have occurred in Las Vegas.