Can minor car damage cause injuries?

No car damage, no injury, no claim. Right?

This issue comes up often in car accident cases.

Naturally, not every accident will involve major car damage. Many will involve minor damage that costs hundreds of dollars to repair. But can you be seriously injured from a car accident that involves little damage?

First: What Do Insurance Companies Say About Whether Minor Car Damage Causes Injuries?

In low-impact car accidents, insurance companies often take the position to check the car, not the person.

In theory, it makes sense. How can we expect any type of serious injury coming from a bump in the back that causes a few hundred dollars in damage? Indeed, I have participated in trials where defense lawyers focus heavily on the amount of damage to the car to argue the occupant was not injured.

Because this is a commonsense argument, you can expect insurance companies will raise it every time it’s available.

Second: What Does Medical Literature Say About Whether Minor Car Damage Causes Injuries?

There is medical literature that states minor car damage causes injuries.

Dr. Rene Cailliet was a highly respected doctor who was one the early practitioners of physical medicine and rehabilitation. He authored numerous textbooks, which sold many copies. An interesting biography of his life can be found here:

When discussing whether low-impact accidents cause injuries, Dr. Cailliet commented, “simulated impacts have been studied extensively and essentially confirm that a low-speed impact with minimal or no damage to the impacted vehicle can and does cause significant musculoskeletal injury to the driver’s or occupant’s head and neck.” Rene Cailliet, M.D., Low Impact Collisions and Injury, 2006.

Other doctors have reached the same conclusion.

Third: What Does My Experience As A Personal Injury Lawyer Say About Whether Minor Car Damage Causes Injuries?

I’ve handled hundreds of car accident claims. Some car accidents involved catastrophic damage, while others involved little damage.

Interestingly, I’ve seen accidents where cars were destroyed, and yet the occupants were fine. Conversely, I’ve seen accidents involving minor damage, and yet the occupants were seriously injured.

No two accidents are the same.

But what factors support the conclusion that minor car damage causes injuries?

Based on my experience, the answer is in the medical records and person’s post-accident behavior.

For example, do the medical records show the person sustained a discernable injury? Has the injury prevented the injured person from participating in physical activities? Has the injury prevented the injured person from working?

If the answers to these questions is yes, it strongly suggests the minor car damage caused the injuries. If the answers to these questions is no, it suggests the minor car damages did not cause the injuries.

In sum, if your life has not changed in some meaningful way, it will be tough to prove the minor damage caused your injuries.

Call Barthelette Law, Your Boca Raton Personal Injury Attorney

At Barthelette Law, we have many years of experience handling car accidents, and our website should answer all of your key questions (see:

If you were injured in an accident with minor car damage, don’t hesitate to call. We are here to answer all of your questions.

We are Barthelette Law, your Boca Raton personal injury attorney!