Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident?
April 18, 2022 | Car Accidents
Car accidents happen at any time, and while not predictable, they are typically preventable. If you are in a minor car accident, you may not believe you need to hire a car accident attorney. If you received injuries in a car accident, however, even if they are minor, you will need legal assistance. While the property damage and overall accident can seem insignificant, your injuries may not be.
Is a car accident lawyer necessary for a minor accident?
If you were in a minor accident that resulted in injuries, then, yes, contact a car accident lawyer immediately. Many accident victims believe that since they can drive away and there was minor property damage, they don’t need to seek legal assistance or even file a claim.
At the moment, it is common for your adrenaline to be rushing, and you may not be fully aware of the extent of your injuries. A day or so later, you may begin to feel pain and soreness, meaning that you have suffered injuries due to the accident. Concussions and soft tissue injuries are common in minor accidents, and symptoms might not arise right away.
When should I call a lawyer after a minor accident?
While it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident, there are limitations to consider. Each state has a different statute of limitations for car accident cases – for example, Missouri has a five-year statute of limitations. After five years, if you file a lawsuit, the court will deny your claim. The clock starts ticking on the date of your accident.
A good rule of thumb is to contact an attorney as soon as it is safe to do so after an accident. You should first obtain medical attention before contacting an attorney. The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner they can begin gathering evidence and building a case. This action is often the most crucial step in any claim, as a thorough investigation can make or break your case.
How does an attorney help after a minor accident?
The definition of a minor accident is subjective. You may look at the accident as minor, while the insurance company believes it is major due to the compensation they will have to pay out. Looking at an accident from a different viewpoint is vital for determining your potential compensation. Typically, you will not need a personal injury attorney if your accident did not result in injuries. However, if you needed any degree of medical care for injuries, always discuss your rights with an attorney.
If there was no property damage, but there was injury or death, then this is when a personal injury attorney will need to be involved. They will work to ensure you are getting the medical treatment necessary for your injuries and that you can obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages, even if the insurance company tries to argue that the accident was minor or insignificant.
What should you do after an accident?
Even if you believe your accident was minor, you should not leave the accident scene. You need to report the crash to the authorities. Often, injuries will become apparent down the line. However, you will have to have a crash report to obtain any damages. Even if there was minor property damage, you will still need documentation to make an insurance claim.
If you can, gather as much evidence as possible at the scene. This evidence can be photos and videos of the scene and any witness contact information. Collecting more than less is an excellent way to build a strong case. Your car accident lawyer can sift through the evidence and decide which is and is not relevant to your case.
Never admit fault to any party, whether at the scene or over the phone, to an insurance company, or on social media. The crash report will often have this information, and if you admit even partial fault, you can lose out on compensation and your right to file a claim.
After an accident, one of the most crucial steps you need to take is to see a doctor. This follow-up is especially significant as it will help to prove that the injuries you sustained were a direct cause of the accident.
Another mistake that we often see accident victims make who are not represented by an attorney is to take the first settlement offer that comes their way. An initial offer is just that, initial. It is not a final offer and is open to negotiations. Do not try to settle your case on your own. Hire a car accident attorney to do it for you.
Questions to ask yourself to decide whether to contact a car accident lawyer
If you don’t know whether to get a car accident lawyer, ask yourself:
- Was the other person at fault?
- Do you have medical bills resulting from this accident?
- Is there damage to your vehicle?
- Did you get medical attention after the accident?
Answering yes to any of these questions means you must call a lawyer. Remember that the sooner you contact a lawyer, the more likely you will beat the statute of limitations.
Contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible
The ultimate goal of a personal injury claim is to obtain compensation for your damages. You may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages, depending on the facts of your case. Trying to face off against insurance adjusters alone will often produce an inadequate settlement that does not cover your losses and leaves you with thousands of dollars in bills.
Even if you think your accident was minor, meet with an attorney to discuss your options. Contact a car accident lawyer who can advise whether you need legal representation given your specific circumstances. Better safe than sorry after an accident that injured you.