Can You File a Car Accident Injury Claim without Vehicle Damage?

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Can You File a Car Accident Injury Claim without Vehicle Damage?

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

You were in a car accident, you know that you are telling the truth but your vehicle and the photographs from the accident state otherwise. You might have nothing more than a scratch or ding on your car, but your injuries and costs of those injuries are astounding.

Luckily, you might still have a case even if there was no severe damage to your vehicle. You might not see the damage, but cars are designed to absorb impacts and collisions still cause damage to the structure of the car. Therefore, while you might not see damage outright, that impact could have left you suffering from soft tissue injuries such as whiplash.

In cases like this, insurance companies will use the photographs of your vehicle to disprove your claim. They will try to say that no visible damage to your car means you are faking your injuries or making up the accident entirely.

You must realize you are going up against a company that wants to save as much of their profits as possible. They work hard to reduce losses by limiting what they pay out on claims – even if you have legitimate injuries.

It is in your best interest to consult with an accident attorney and even more so if you have no visible damage to your car. An attorney knows the steps insurance companies take to avoid paying out on claims, and they can help you succeed in your case.

What Chicago Victims Must Know about Claims without Vehicle Damage

Vehicles are meant to survive car accidents. And while there might be minimal damage on the outside (or no damage at all), there could be problems lurking under your pristine paint job and flawless bumper. Minor damage goes unnoticed to the naked eye, and it is similar to soft tissue injuries.

A person with soft tissue injuries might not have bruises, lacerations, or internal bleeding, but they are injured.

Certain types of damage can go unnoticed after a car accident, including:

  • Leaking Fluids: A minor crash might have no physical damage present but could result in leaking fluids, including a leaking radiator, oil pain, or brake fluid. A tiny rupture of these essential fluids could turn into a severe problem.
  • Battery Life Complications: During a minor collision, battery lines might come loose from the impact. It might also agitate sediment inside the battery or lead to a short circuit – all of which can reduce battery life. While minor, combined with other issues, it could lead to an unexpected breakdown.
  • Damage to Computer Diagnostics: Cars today are sophisticated, and they rely heavily on their diagnostic computer systems. In an accident, these systems might knock loose and have a delay in checking and reporting failures. If you think your car is fine, but you have a check engine light on, you may want to take your car in.
  • Alignment: One overlooked piece of damage to a vehicle is the alignment. Your vehicle’s bumper will absorb the shock from your collision. While you might not see the physical damage, that absorption could have knocked out your vehicle’s alignment. Driving on poor alignment might not be anything severe at first, but it will eventually wear down your vehicle’s tires. In poor weather conditions, misalignment could become a dangerous problem.
  • Car Mount Breakage: The motor mounts, the items holding your engine in place, may suffer damage in even a minor bump. Those mounts may eventually give way, or your vehicle develops a serious vibration while you try driving.

Should You Still Report an Accident without Vehicle Damage?

In Illinois, you must report a car accident if the accident results in death, injury, or more than $1,500 in property damage. Naturally, if you do not see any damage, you might feel there is no need to contact the policy and report the incident.

However, what if you have injuries that have not yet appeared?

Luckily, you have up to ten days to report the accident with the Illinois Department of Transportation. Therefore, in a few days, if you do notice injury symptoms, you can create a report.

Ideally, a person should report the accident immediately. Police reports help establish that your accident exists and document parties involved in the accident – which might make tracking down the responsible party easier.

Even if you did not file a police report, you might still have a case. You would need to discuss this issue with your attorney and see what your options might be to file a claim without a valid police report on file.

What Injuries Could One Suffer without Vehicle Damage?

If you are in a car accident with no damage or very minimal damage, it is unlikely you would suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries. However, it is not unheard of for life-threatening injuries to occur without vehicle damage.

The human body, like your vehicle, is designed to sustain a vast amount of serious impacts. And these injuries might not be present with symptoms at the scene of the accident. When these injuries go unnoticed and untreated, you may suffer from complications – including those that could be life-threatening.

Neck and Spinal Damage

A common injury that you do not see right away is damage to the neck or spine, like whiplash. Whiplash can occur in any collision but is more commonly seen in rear-end accidents.

The injuries can range from mild to severe, and the primary symptom is neck and shoulder pain. Whiplash symptoms can vary, depending on the person and the severity of the injury itself. Some signs you might experience include:

  • Pins and needles in the extremities
  • Stiffness in the neck and shoulders
  • Headaches or chronic migraines
  • Weakness or numbness that radiates from the shoulders into the arms
  • Neck instability
  • Reduced range of motion

You might have one or all of these symptoms. Some may appear right away while others take a few days to develop.

Back Injuries

Back injuries, like whiplash, take a few days to weeks to manifest. These injuries can involve discs or muscles in the back, and you might notice one day your back is stiff or moving is painful when you wake up the day after the accident.

Chronic back issues can reduce a person’s quality of life. The pain alone might make it hard to sleep, interact with family and friends, or even work.

Internal Injuries

In rare cases, a person can suffer internal organ damage after an accident with no physical vehicle damage. Internal bleeding does not always have symptoms until it becomes more serious. And by the time the symptoms appear, it may be life-threatening.

Nerve Damage

Another injury that is common with minimal vehicle damage is nerve injuries. You may start to notice numbness or tingling, and it may worsen as the days move past the accident. Sometimes, the nerve injuries are temporary while other times permanent. If you notice any numbness or tingling sensations, speak with a doctor right away.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Another rare injury that might occur is a TBI. TBIs could include minor concussions or something more serious like a brain blood clot. Either way, if you notice serious headaches or blurred vision after an accident, see a doctor.

How Do You Make a Case without Vehicle Damage?

With an attorney’s help, you can build a case for compensation – even if the vehicle damage is not present at the scene. An attorney collects evidence to support your claim and prove that you had damages stemming from that incident.

Some of the evidence an attorney uses to prove your case includes:

  • Medical bills
  • Vehicle repair estimates and inspections
  • Employment statements for lost wages
  • Witness testimony proving an accident occurred
  • Expert testimony about future care needs and how an accident with no vehicle damage resulted in physical injury

Speak with an Attorney Regarding Your Case Today

After a car accident, regardless of the extent of damage to your car, you should contact the law firm of Malman Law.

Our team understands that even with minimal or no damage, you may have suffered serious physical and emotional harm. Our team will fight for the compensation you and your family deserve.

You can learn more about your options or start your claim process by meeting with our attorneys for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

Call 888-625-6265 now to schedule an appointment or ask us a question online.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by President and Founder, Steven J. Malman who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

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