Not every car accident is destructive and catastrophic. After experiencing what seems to be a minor car accident, you may feel relieved, thinking it’ll be a breeze to deal with the resulting property damage. Unfortunately, that’s not always how minor car accidents turn out.
Even if you think your car accident was minor and you don’t require legal assistance, it’s still best to discuss your situation with a skilled car accident attorney. However minor, car accident claims can quickly take a turn for the worst and become a nightmare to deal with.
A car accident attorney can review the details of your collision and provide valuable legal advice, helping you decide how to proceed.
What Is Considered a Minor Car Accident?
A minor car accident doesn’t have a straight definition, but it is generally a car accident that causes less damage and injuries than a major car accident.
However, even if you believe your car accident was minor, it’s still wise to seek legal guidance from a car accident attorney. In many cases, collision claims may seem straightforward but turn out to be more complicated.
A knowledgeable lawyer can review the details of your accident and help you determine the best course of action.
Minor Car Accident Cases Can Be More Complicated than They May Seem
Believe it or not, it’s not uncommon for what seems to be a “minor” car accident to turn into a complicated claim.
When a minor car accident occurs, you might be blindsided by the turn of events. Below are some of the most significant reasons minor car accident claims can turn major.
Your Injuries Might Not Be Minor
After a car accident, you might walk away feeling fine and unharmed. However, that might not be the case.
Car accidents, no matter if they’re major or minor, can be traumatic and stressful. Your body’s response during a stressful time is to secrete epinephrine (adrenaline) to put your body in “fight or flight” mode.
While adrenaline can seem like a positive bodily response, it can make it seem as though you suffered no injuries when, in reality, you did. Some injuries are not obvious and take some time to become evident.
It’s common to suffer certain injuries, even in minor car accidents, including:
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Head injuries
- Internal injuries
No matter the details of your collision, always seek medical care after an accident. An examination can reveal injuries you may otherwise not know about.
Once you’re familiar with the extent of your injuries, you can begin medical treatment. Failing to treat certain injuries can have serious consequences.
You May Have More Expenses and Financial Losses than Anticipated
If you end up with more severe injuries than you anticipated, you’ll need medical care. Medical bills can quickly pile up, leaving you to face financial struggles.
Some injuries may require you to take time off of work. When you miss time at work, you’ll also likely lose wages. Losing income, even for a short time, can have a significant impact on your finances and ability to support yourself and your family.
Additionally, your property damage may be more than you originally thought, requiring further repair and more money.
You Might Be Blamed for the Accident
Unfortunately, if you fail to take any action, the other driver may go ahead and try to blame you for the accident, leaving you in a compromised position.
The other driver may be at fault, but they can still try to shift the blame onto you. Even if your accident seems minor to you, you must report your accident right away – to both the police and your insurance company.
Additionally, try to gather helpful evidence if possible, including photos and videos and witness contact information. If the other driver tries to blame you for the accident, you can use evidence to refute their claims.
Is It Possible to Handle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer?
Yes, it is possible to handle your car accident claim independently. However, the important question is whether you should handle your car accident claim without a lawyer, and the answer to this is usually no.
When you have little knowledge and experience regarding car accident claims, or you’ve never had to deal with insurance companies before, it can be stressful and confusing to handle a claim.
It can also be very difficult to fight against the insurance company, as they often have many tricks and tactics they use to limit liability and avoid paying you.
Even if your car accident seems minor, you may be surprised. It’s best to discuss your situation with a qualified car accident attorney, as a lawyer is best equipped to give you legal advice and determine how best to handle your claim, so you don’t come out on the losing end.
How a Lawyer Can Help with Your Car Accident Claim
If you’ve never worked with a car accident lawyer before, it’s okay to feel unsure or apprehensive. However, working with a car accident lawyer can benefit your case significantly and help ensure your claim is handled correctly.
One of the most critical parts of a car accident claim is determining who’s liable for the accident.
It can be challenging to determine liability, but a car accident lawyer has the experience and resources needed to accomplish the task.
Most car accident claims revolve around negligence. To establish the other driver’s negligence caused the collision, you’d need to prove:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care
- The other driver breached their duty of care
- The other driver’s actions caused your accident
- Your accident resulted in damages
Simply put, depending on the exact details of your accident, negligence could look something like the following:
- The driver owed you a duty to drive safely
- The driver breached their duty by texting and driving
- The driver’s actions caused them to collide with your vehicle
- The collision resulted in your injuries and property damage
A car accident lawyer could examine the details of your accident to determine whether the other driver definitively caused your collision. Your attorney would then obtain evidence and information to prove the other driver was negligent, strengthening your claim.
Calculate Your Damages
Calculating damages is another tough but necessary part of a car accident claim. If you want to pursue compensation, you’ll first need to know the value of your claim.
Possible damages after a car accident could include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
A car accident lawyer will have you answer several questions to determine the true value of your case, including the following:
- How did the accident occur?
- What kind of property damage resulted?
- Did you suffer any injuries? If so, what type of injuries?
- How much did your medical bills total?
- Will you require medical treatment in the future?
- Did you have to take time off work? If so, how much pay did you miss out on?
- Will your injuries have any permanent effects?
- Did you suffer any other tangible or intangible losses?
Every case has a value, and determining the value of yours is one of a car accident lawyer’s most important tasks.
Without understanding how much your case is worth, it’s difficult to pursue compensation for your losses. A car accident attorney can review your claim to calculate the appropriate amount of damages and help you pursue compensation.
Gather Pertinent Evidence
Evidence can make or break a car accident claim. Good evidence can help answer some of the most important questions in a car accident claim, including who’s liable and what damages you suffered.
Some of the most important evidence your car accident lawyer can use for your case include:
- Photos and videos
- Surveillance footage
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Witness and expert testimony
It can be challenging to get all of this evidence on your own. A car accident attorney knows how to get all of this evidence and more, depending on what they feel they need to build your claim.
Communicate with the Insurance Company
Communicating back and forth with the insurance company can be one of the most frustrating parts of a car accident claim.
Insurance companies are known for being difficult to deal with. Luckily, car accident lawyers have extensive experience communicating with insurance companies.
It’s important to note that the other driver’s insurance company may communicate with you soon after your accident and ask for a recorded statement. While they may try to talk you into answering their questions, it’s best to let your attorney handle all communications.
Car insurance companies often want to talk to you to get a statement and then try to use your words against you. They do this to limit or shift liability and avoid paying out.
Don’t give them anything to use against you. Instead, allow your car accident lawyer to take over communications with the insurer.
Handle Settlement Negotiations
A car accident lawyer can handle settlement negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. The insurance company may fight back and give you a hard time about paying out for your claim.
Car accident attorneys have seen and dealt with it all. They know how car insurance companies work, giving them an advantage. Your lawyer can come up with an ideal strategy to fight for your right to fair compensation.
File a Lawsuit, If Necessary
Your car accident lawyer will try to handle the claim without filing a lawsuit. But sometimes, when the insurance company isn’t willing to settle for a fair amount, your attorney may deem it best to go ahead and file a personal injury lawsuit.
If the time comes to file a lawsuit, your attorney can handle everything associated with your case. From drafting and filing court documents to representing you throughout the case, you can count on your lawyer to continue to fight for your right to fair financial recovery.
Not every lawsuit ends up at trial, but if your case does go to court, you can feel confident knowing your car accident lawyer will go into trial with your best interests at heart.
Getting Legal Help Is Easier than You May Think
While legal representation may seem unattainable, it is not. Many car accident victims fail to seek legal counsel for fear of high costs. However, many car accident lawyers work on contingency, taking the financial stress away.
Depending on the area of law, some lawyers do require large sums of money, called retainers, at the onset of a case. Subsequently, the client receives invoices, as the lawyer then charges an hourly fee for the work they do on the client’s case. The pay structure does not work this way for a majority of car accident attorneys.
When a car accident lawyer works on a contingency fee basis, the client does not have any upfront costs. The lawyer pays all court and case-related fees throughout the case, and there are no out-of-pocket expenses for the client.
When the case is over, the lawyer takes an agreed-upon percentage from the client’s settlement to cover their costs and fees and gives the client the remaining balance.
In addition, car accident attorneys usually offer free consultations. During your initial meeting, the lawyer gets to know you and your case, and you can familiarize yourself with the attorney and their firm.
If you’re unsure about pursuing help from a car accident attorney, don’t be. Request a free consultation and allow a lawyer to put your mind at ease.
Consult with a Car Accident Lawyer Today
The Joel Bieber Firm is dedicated to helping car accident victims seek the justice they deserve. Whether your case settles early on or ends up in the courtroom, you can count on our lawyers to provide high-quality legal advocacy from start to finish.
After a car accident, do not hesitate to discuss your case with a car accident attorney. Contact The Joel Bieber Firm for a complimentary consultation.