Let’s begin with a scenario: You are sitting at a stoplight in downtown Indianapolis. Before the light turns green you hear the sound of screeching tires directly behind you. Your body instantly tenses, your hands grip the steering wheel. You brace for impact. And before you can look in the rearview mirror, you feel the collision. Someone has just rear-ended you.
You get out of your truck to assess the scene and check to see if everyone is alright. Considering the skidding tires, the impact, and the crunch, you expect to see serious damage to the back of your truck and the smaller car that struck you. Instead, you are surprised to find very little damage, as it appears it was a low-speed collision, and the majority of the impact was absorbed by your trailer hitch.
You tell the investigating officer that you do not believe you are injured and refuse medical treatment. You drive your truck home and figure everything is fine, however, the next day and coming weeks prove otherwise.
The adrenaline has worn off and you are beginning to experience pain in your neck and back. You make an appointment with your doctor for evaluation and they diagnose you with soft-tissue injuries. You are prescribed pain medication as well as a course of physical therapy.
All seems fine until you contact the defendant’s insurance company asking to have your medical bills paid, reimbursement for time off work, and compensation for pain and suffering. They claim that you could not have possibly suffered a serious injury due to the seemingly small impact and insignificant property damage. As a result, they make an incredibly low offer on your claim.
You have officially been classified as having a MIST case.
What is a MIST case?
MIST stands for Minor Impact Soft Tissue. These types of cases arise when a low-speed impact causes little property damage yet results in one or more soft-tissue injuries. In fact, insurance companies such as AllState, State Farm, Geico, and Progressive might use an arbitrary property damage figure, such as $1,000, to officially label a claim as a MIST case.
Insurance companies will also often take a hardline stance with these cases by claiming that accident victims cannot possibly sustain a significant injury from a minor collision that results in minimal property damage. Fortunately for victims of MIST cases, experienced personal injury firms such as Boulton Law Group have proven insurance companies to be entirely wrong.
The fact is that there is no scientific data to support an insurance company’s claim that MIST cases are invalid. It is simply a tactic used by the insurance companies to minimize an accident victim’s injuries and personal experience. The ultimate goal here is for the insurance company to pay as little as possible for a MIST case, or outright dismiss the claim entirely.
MIST case injuries
Bolton Law Group has resolved a significant number of MIST cases on behalf of clients. In the majority of cases, clients who have been involved in a MIST case suffer one or more of the following soft-tissue injuries:
Whiplash – The most common auto accident injury, whiplash occurs when there is a sudden jerking of a person’s neck, often seen in rear-end collisions. The motion of the neck is akin to the cracking of a whip, resulting in a cervical sprain that can cause headaches, vertigo, and ongoing physical pain in the neck and back area.
Whiplash treatment may involve a neck brace and/or ongoing physical therapy.
Sprain(s) – The most common site of a sprain for car accident victims is the wrist, knee, arm, and/or ankle. Sprains occur when a ligament is stretched or torn.
Sprains are often treated with braces, though we have also seen more serious sprains require physical therapy and/or surgical intervention.
Bruising/Contusions – When capillaries under the skin rupture a bruise is the end result. Bruising usually occurs when an accident victim strikes the inside of their vehicle with one or more parts of their body. Often multi-colored, a bruised area can remain sore and tender for several days. Severe bruising may persist for weeks.
Strain(s) – Sometimes confused with sprains, a strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn.
Why do insurance companies not take MIST cases seriously?
Unlike a car accident that leaves a victim with a broken bone or laceration, MIST cases leave little to no trace of a visible injury. Insurance companies will exploit this fact and figure that juries will not be as likely to pay a claim for an injury they cannot see. In fact, we had one client who said they were told the following by an insurance adjuster: “Count yourself lucky you didn’t have a real injury.”
Ask anyone who has suffered from a soft-tissue injury such as whiplash or a strained back, and they will tell you that the pain from these injuries can be equal to or more burdensome than certain broken bones. After all, once a broken bone is placed in a cast, the pain is greatly reduced or is non-existent. By contrast, there is not always a “go-to” treatment for a soft-tissue injury and the pain can linger.
With all this in mind, it is not uncommon for a MIST case to require litigation, as insurance companies may simply refuse to recognize your injuries with the seriousness they deserve. Boulton Law Group has successfully filed suit and/or litigated a number of MIST cases on behalf of clients.
The compensation we typically seek for MIST clients may include any of the following:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Pain and suffering
No matter how similar two cases may seem, they are 100% unique. For this reason, it is possible that you may be able to seek additional types of compensation than those listed above. Your attorney can help determine what types of compensation you may ultimately receive.
Proving your MIST case
Sometimes people may believe they can simply outwait soft-tissue pain or “soldier through it.” Unfortunately, this approach will backfire for people who have MIST cases.
Medical documentation and testimony from doctors is a must in all accident and injury claims, but it becomes especially important in MIST cases. Without it, you stand no chance at ever being properly compensated for your injuries.
In addition to being checked out by your doctor, you must also follow their instructions and not miss any future appointments for therapy and/or future check-ups. It is also recommended that you keep a journal documenting your pain and how it is affecting your daily life.
Last, even if you take the steps listed above, it is still possible that your claim will be undervalued. This is why it is highly recommended that you seek a free legal consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Having an attorney build and present the MIST case on your behalf will not only increase the chances that you will be properly compensated, it also provides you with the leverage of taking the insurance company to court if needed.
Do NOT let the insurance company undervalue your MIST case
Attorney Matt Boulton has been helping injured Hoosiers for more than 20 years. He has represented a large number of clients who have been seriously hurt, despite being told by the insurance company that their injuries were insignificant and did not deserve compensation. Do not let the insurance company dismiss your soft-tissue injuries.
If the insurance company has classified your claim as a MIST case, it is time to speak to an experienced Indianapolis personal injury lawyer.
Attorney Boulton offers a Zero Fee Guarantee to anyone who has suffered a soft-tissue injury. This means that you will never be charged a consultation fee and the only way the firm is paid for its legal services is if we win your case.
To speak to attorney Boulton about your MIST case, dial 317-350-2680. If you prefer to write to us, you can submit your story directly by using our free and confidential contact form.
We look forward to learning more about your potential case and going to work for you!
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.