While there is no requirement to hire a car accident lawyer for a minor accident, you should think about doing so to cover your bases.
Consider this scenario: While heading to work or leaving the grocery store parking lot, the unexpected happens. Another driver hits your car. You think, should I simply exchange insurance information with the other driver, and both of us can be on our way? Should I hire a car accident lawyer for a minor accident?
Depending on how the crash happened, the damage to the vehicles, and any possible injuries, it might be in your best interest to hire a lawyer—even for a minor accident.
The Damages May Be More Than You Think
When another driver hits you in a minor car accident, you might think that you will just file a claim with your insurance company or the other driver’s insurer, get a check to repair the vehicle damage, and put all this in the rearview mirror.
The truth is, however, that it is not always that easy. What may seem like a minor car accident can turn into a major legal battle you may not feel equipped to fight on your own if you suffered an injury that does not present itself immediately after the crash.
Possible Injuries You May Have Suffered
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that motor vehicle-related injuries send more than 2.3 million people to the emergency room annually. However, after a minor car accident, you may still feel an adrenaline rush, and you may believe you are not hurt, so you do not see a doctor right away.
Following a minor car accident, you might have suffered injuries that do not present until days or even a few weeks later. These injuries can result in chronic pain from disorders that might require long-term treatment and rehabilitation.
Soft Tissue Injuries
A soft tissue injury causes damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Even low-speed accidents can generate a lot of force. Drivers may hit the brakes, causing the vehicle to come to a sudden stop that can jerk the neck back and forth in a forceful manner. This motion could cause a condition called whiplash. The Cleveland Clinic explains that symptoms may not manifest for several days after an accident and may include:
- Neck swelling and stiffness
- Neck pain with movement
- Muscle spasms
- Shoulder pain
- Tingling or numbness in arms
- Memory loss
When the other driver hit you, you may have bumped your head on the steering wheel but barely noticed. If this happened during your car accident, you might have suffered a concussion. Concussions can be severe, although the symptoms may not show up right away. The Mayo Clinic describes the symptoms of a concussion as:
- Ringing in the ears
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Blurry vision
See a Doctor After Your Car Accident
Both soft tissue injuries and concussions are common ailments following even a minor car accident. Either may eventually require a hospital stay, doctor visits, imaging tests, rehabilitation, prescription medications, and more.
These medical expenses can quickly add up. That is why it is essential to seek medical attention after your car accident, even if you do not think you were injured. If you quickly settle an insurance claim and accept an initial payment, you might waive your legal right to pursue compensation for your accident-related injuries in the future.
It is best to have a doctor document your injuries as soon after the accident as possible if you want to hold the at-fault driver responsible with an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Economic and Noneconomic Damages
If another driver caused your injuries or vehicle damage in a minor car accident, you should not incur these expenses on your own. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your losses through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. You may be entitled to economic damages such as, but not limited to:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Loss of earning capacity
You may also receive compensation for noneconomic (less tangible) damages such as, but not limited to:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life activities
Keep in mind, if you choose to hire a car accident lawyer for a minor accident and file a personal injury lawsuit, you have a limited time to do so. Every state has its statute of limitations, or deadline, for filing a case. If that time limit runs out, you might miss your opportunity to pursue compensation for your losses and injuries in court.
Contact Shaw Legal Solutions Today
If you suffered injuries or property damage in a minor car accident, you should not have to take on the financial burden alone if it was not your fault. At Shaw Legal Solutions, you do not pay anything upfront or out-of-pocket unless we secure a settlement on your behalf. Call (425) 214-4946 today to speak to a member of our team for a free case evaluation.