Can I sue even if I’m only involved in a “fender bender”?

The simple answer is yes. The courts have ruled conclusively on this issue:

http://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/1993/1993canlii1318/1993canlii1318.html

”     I do not subscribe to the view that if there is no motor vehicle damage then there is no injury.  This is a philosophy that the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia may follow, but it has no application in court.  It is not a legal principle of which I am aware and I have never heard it endorsed as a medical principle.

Significant injuries can be caused by the most casual of slips and falls.  Conversely, accidents causing extensive property damage may leave those involved unscathed.  The presence and extent of injuries are to be determined on the basis of evidence given in court.  Objectivity is thus preserved and the public does not have to concern itself with extraneous philosophies that some would impose on the judicial process. “

In short, larger car accidents may be more likely to cause injuries, but that does not mean that even the smallest accident with no vehicle damage will not result in an injury. This has been confirmed my medical evidence as well:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9455663

This study stated that the lower threshold for injury was a velocity change of between 10 and 15km/hr. Any velocity changes at or above this limit could result in a “whiplash” type injury.

Another issue before the courts in situations such as these is that people who are not hurt will (theoretically) weed themselves out. The courts are only going to see people who are actually injured bringing personal injury claims. Therefore, although it may seem like every “low velocity impact” is resulting in an injury, in fact, the people who are not hurt are simply not bringing claims.

All of this does not mean that making a claim for a small accident is without issue. The judge will base their decision on the evidence as a whole. The credibility of the injured party, therefore, may be more important in cases involving little vehicle damage as there is no physical evidence of an accident. Additionally, ICBC may be less willing to settle with an injured party who was hurt in a “low velocity impact”. This stresses why it is important to speak with a lawyer as early as possible.

low velocity impact dent

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