Not all injuries following an accident are the same. Some involve minor injuries, resulting in nothing more than temporary embarrassment. However, many accidents result in serious injuries.
Such injuries have the potential to lead to expensive medical bills and extended missed time from work. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney may help you determine whether it is appropriate to hire an attorney after minor injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the fault of another and are interested in filing a claim, or to learn more about the rights and remedies that may be available to you, call Zinda Law Group at (888) 330-5194 to receive a free case evaluation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers today.
1. SEEKING TREATMENT PROMPTLY AFTER A MINOR CAR ACCIDENT
When you seek treatment immediately after an accident, you preserve the strength of your claim. Not only are you creating evidence that you received an injury, but you also have evidence of the type and intensity of the injury. The sooner you visit a medical professional after the accident, the better you can show that you took your injury seriously.
However, if you make one quick visit to the doctor and discover that you have minor injuries, such as whiplash and bruising, you might not yet have the whole picture. If you accept a settlement offer from your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company before you have the whole picture, you might not receive the settlement amount you deserve.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-863-5312
2. YOUR INJURIES MAY NOT BE AS MINOR AS YOU THINK
When it comes to enforcing your legal rights following an accident, one of the most important questions to ask yourself is how severe your injuries are. In other words, determining whether you should hire a personal injury attorney first requires you to evaluate the extent of your injuries. Each case is unique, and a personal injury lawyer may not be necessary if no injuries were sustained.
For example, if the injury was entirely self-treated and professional medical treatment was never considered, the costs of hiring a personal injury attorney may outweigh the benefits. This is another reason to visit your doctor to ensure that you have adequately addressed your injuries.
Minor injuries can also be more severe than you might initially assume. When you are in a car accident, you might experience an adrenaline rush that covers the pain of your severe injuries.
It may take a while for the soreness of your muscles to subside before you realize you have a serious back injury. You might not discover persistent post-concussive symptoms until a few weeks after your concussion.
A personal injury lawyer will likely be necessary, or at least recommended, for accidents resulting in intermediate to severe injuries. If the injury resulted in a trip to the emergency room, surgery, debilitation, or prolonged pain, it may be in your best interests to consult with a personal injury attorney before taking any legal action or agreeing to any settlements.
Examples of such injuries may include:
- Back injuries
- Hip injuries
- Broken bones
- Concussions or brain injuries
- Sprained ankles or wrists
- Torn ligaments
- Cuts, scars, or lacerations
- Extensive bleeding
- Severe emotional distress
3. THE COST OF INJURIES CAN QUICKLY ADD UP
You might factor in the initial cost of your doctor’s appointment, but what about follow-up visits, physical or occupational therapy, and other subsequent treatment? Now imagine that you discover you sustained additional injuries that you did not originally anticipate.
Also, you probably have to take unpaid time off work to address these injuries. You may even need to hire someone to help you complete your ordinary chores around the house. Perhaps you need temporary transportation while your car is being repaired.
These and other costs you might not even consider can be compensated in a personal injury claim. However, if you do not know which damages are available in your case, you will probably not think to request them.
4. INSURANCE COMPANIES WON’T BE ON YOUR SIDE
The insurance company makes a profit by awarding as little as possible to victims of accidents. Even though your insurance adjuster might be friendly and helpful, remember that he or she works for the insurance company. Therefore, it is his or her job to pay you the lowest amount for your loss.
Do not make official statements to the insurance company accepting fault. Additionally, do not accept a settlement offer without first talking with a car accident attorney.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
5. CLAIMS FROM THE OTHER DRIVER
The other driver might file a claim or counterclaim against you, claiming that you were at fault or partially at fault for the accident. In order to ensure you have an impenetrable case against the other driver, consult with an attorney.
6. DISPUTE OVER FAULTS
The party that caused the harm, often referred to as the at-fault party, may be held legally accountable for the victim’s injuries. If this happens, the at-fault party faces the possibility of having to compensate the victim for costs incurred as a result of the injury.
This compensation is referred to as damages. The types of damages that may be available to a personal injury victim are discussed in further detail below.
7. FLORIDA’S NO-FAULT LAW
A handful of states across the country, notably Florida, have a no-fault insurance regime. The state requires everyone to carry personal injury protection insurance. Therefore, regardless of who caused the accident, your insurance covers your injuries.
8. MOST CASES ARE SETTLED OUTSIDE COURT
The likelihood of your case going to trial is slim. The settlement amount you receive depends heavily on your ability to negotiate with the insurance companies.
If your case does go to trial, a jury decides the answer to which party was at fault for the accident. An attorney can help you prepare for trial to persuade the jury to award you maximum compensation.
9. REFUSAL TO PAY FAIR COMPENSATION
As discussed briefly above, damages is the legal term used to refer to the monetary compensation which may be awarded to a victim of a personal injury case. The damages that may be awarded to a personal injury victim can be separated into two broad categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are objective, quantifiable costs incurred by a victim following an accident. Economic damages involved in most personal injury cases may include:
- Medical bills
- Pharmacy bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
Non-economic damages refer to subjective, intangible costs which cannot be calculated on paper. Rather, non-economic damages are subjectively evaluated by the jury in a lawsuit. Types of non-economic damages in a personal injury case may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
A third class of damages, referred to as punitive damages, may also be awarded in rare, exceptional circumstances. This class of damages is intended to punish the wrongdoer and is reserved only for cases where the wrongdoer’s actions were especially egregious or intentional.
HIRING A CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER FOR A MINOR ACCIDENT
Navigating a personal injury claim from start to finish requires a lot of time, effort, and patience. Handling a claim also involves a thorough understanding of personal injury law and keen negotiating skills. Many personal injury victims simply do not have the time or experience to handle a claim and best enforce their legal rights. Thus, hiring a personal injury attorney who has experience filing, litigating, and resolving personal injury claims may provide you with the best means of protecting your legal rights following an accident. For instance, an attorney may:
- Explain to you in clear terms what legal rights and remedies you may have
- File a lawsuit and all necessary paperwork in a timely fashion in the proper court
- Research applicable law and develop a strategy for arguing your claim
- Negotiate with insurance companies and claims adjusters
- Utilize a variety of resources to gather helpful evidence, such as tracking down witnesses and conducting interviews
- Carry out other legal responsibilities necessary to ensure that your legal rights are fully protected
Attorneys may refuse to take on a case for a variety of reasons. Maybe the attorney simply does not have time to take a new case. Maybe the attorney thinks that the merits of the claim are poor. Maybe the attorney does not practice personal injury law. Whatever the reason may be, it is important for you to remember that not all attorneys are the same.
One refusal does not mean that every attorney will refuse to take your case. Thus, if an attorney refuses to take your case, do not panic. Simply search for other attorneys in your area and give them a call. If your claim has merit, chances are you will find an attorney who will be willing to represent you.
FIGHT INSURANCE COMPANIES WITH A LAWYER
As mentioned earlier, the insurance companies will not be on your side. A lawyer, however, fights to get you a fair settlement amount based on the damages in your case. Lawyers that work on a contingency basis do not profit off of your case unless they win your case for you, making them highly motivated to advocate on your behalf.
Also, the attorney can handle communication with the insurance companies. You do not have to worry about saying something that will harm your case and lower your settlement amount.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a minor car accident?
A minor car accident does not cause major damage to vehicles or severe injuries. If you were able to drive your car away from the accident with you and your vehicle relatively unscathed, you were probably in a minor car accident.
Do I need to contact the police for a minor car accident?
Yes, contact the police even if a car accident is minor. The reporting officer can write an accident report, which could provide critical evidence for your case, such as the names and contact information of those involved in the accident along with the officer’s initial impressions of who was at fault for the accident.
Can I resolve a car accident without a lawyer?
It is possible to resolve a car accident without a lawyer, but you might not receive the amount of compensation you would if you choose to hire a lawyer. Lawyers understand the tactics that insurance companies and other lawyers use to reduce victims’ settlement amounts, and they know how to avoid falling into those traps.
NEED HELP? CONTACT ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY
If you or a loved one has been involved in a minor car accident and you seek compensation for injuries and damages, call the attorneys at Zinda Law Group today for a free consultation.