Not all car accidents result in extensive damage or serious injuries. However, is a minor car accident something you should try to handle on your own? No, because managing a claim on your own could present several problems, even if the accident appears to cause minimal damage. A car accident attorney can help in all car crash accidents, not just when the injuries are severe.
What Can Go Wrong Without a Lawyer in a Minor Car Accident Claim?
There are reasons car accident victims frequently seek out the help of a car accident attorney. Filing insurance claims and fighting with the insurer to pay out those claims fairly is not easy, and the process is often overwhelming.
Every day, insurance companies handle insurance claims and know the strategies to reduce liability and lower the compensation they could make available to you. Unfortunately, most car accident victims do not have the same experience or knowledge about car accident claims which puts you at a disadvantage. There are many situations in which a car accident claim may not end positively for a victim and can leave them unable to get the compensation needed to cover medical expenses and other damages.
The CDC estimates that car accident victims across the country each year cumulatively incur over $55 billion in damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and other impacts. Don’t risk your compensation for these damages without an attorney to support you and address the challenges of an insurance injury claim.
Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
Claim denials can happen for many reasons, but an insurer may move quickly to deny a claim when a car accident appears minor. For example, errors or omissions while preparing claim paperwork may result in a denial. Additionally, damages that an insurer deems less than a deductible may result in a denial. When multiple parties are involved, insurers may fight amongst themselves as to who is responsible and deny a claim to deflect liability onto another party.
Claim denials are frustrating and can cause an unexpected obstacle to seeking compensation. Fortunately, a lawyer can review if you believe a claim denial was unfair and may be able to help you appeal the decision in some cases. It is, however, always better to have a lawyer from the outset to avoid these unfair denials and better your odds of reaching a successful claim settlement.
You Receive a Lowball Settlement Offer
A claim denial is not the only way that an insurance company can affect the outcome of a minor car accident insurance claim. When an insurer assesses the accident and believes the property damages are minor, they may try to move fast to close out a claim and offer a minimal settlement for your damages. However, property damages do not always correlate with the severity of injuries.
Additionally, estimates for repairs can vary greatly from one auto repair company to another, and the insurer may take the lowest estimate without considering the quality of the repairs and the reputation of the company. Lowball settlements are typical, and an attorney can help you identify when an offer is unfair and fails to account for the extent of your losses. The first settlement offer typically isn’t the only one or the best, and an attorney can help to negotiate better compensation for your losses.
You Discover Your Injuries or Damages are Higher Than You Expected
The term minor accident is subjective and misleading. Minor can describe the damages to property or your injuries, but it may not reflect in the impacts on your life. For example, a car accident with minor property damages can still cause serious injuries depending on the car accident victim’s health and other factors. Additionally, minor injuries can develop into dangerous complications or cause chronic health conditions depending on the type of injury involved.
Insurance companies often try to move forward quickly in minor car accidents because as more time passes, a victim may discover that their injuries and, consequently, their damages are much more significant than initially anticipated. If you accept a settlement offer too soon, you could miss out on additional compensation if you discover later that your damages are more serious. Accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company in any accident signifies the end of a claim and case.
Common Injuries After a Car Accident
Car accident injuries can happen in any type of car accident. Even at lower speeds or minor collisions, injuries and sometimes serious injuries can occur. To make matters more complicated, it may not always be clear if an injury is serious instantly after a crash. It can sometimes take hours or days for an injury to reveal itself and develop fully. You may leave the scene of a crash feeling relatively unscathed, only to discover painful symptoms and discomfort in the days that follow.
Minor car accident injuries may include:
- Traumatic brain injuries, such as a concussion
- Injuries to the neck or back, such as whiplash
- Bruising or contusions
- Fractures or broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries to ligaments, muscles, or tendons
- Nerve injuries
The Insurance Company Tries to Place the Blame on You
It is not uncommon for insurers to pin the blame on the car accident victim when trying to avoid paying for damages. This tactic and strategy allow them to limit or eliminate liability for the crash and the resulting losses.
The evidence available may prove that you are not at fault, but insurance companies may only consider the information before them to decide in their favor. A lawyer can help you identify all available evidence and present it to the insurance company when processing your claim for damages.
Your Damages Exceed the Available Insurance Coverage
Insurance allows car accident victims an opportunity, in many cases, to seek compensation without having to ask directly from the parties at fault. However, there are instances when the insurance coverage is insufficient, or the damages exceed the insurance coverage, and there is not enough money under the policy.
This commonly happens when higher-end vehicles sustain damage or serious injuries occur that exceed the available coverage under an insurance policy. When this happens, it could be possible for a lawyer to recommend filing an action directly against the party or parties responsible for the accident and your resulting damages.
Damages commonly available in a minor car accident include:
- Medical costs for your treatment
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress
- Damage to property
How a Lawyer Can Help With All Car Accident Cases
Hiring a lawyer can benefit anyone who suffers harm from a car accident. Whether you believe the car accident resulting in your injuries is minor or catastrophic, you deserve to seek the compensation the law allows you to pursue.
A car accident attorney does not only represent victims of devastating traffic accidents but also victims who suffer injuries and damage to their vehicle from a minor collision, such as a fender bender. All car accidents that involve property loss and injury will have an inevitable impact on your life.
While a minor accident may not affect you to the degree of a life-threatening collision, you can still face economic stresses, loss of income, and expensive medical bills you did not prepare for or expect.
A car accident lawyer can help you seek compensation for these damages to help accommodate your needs and losses after a minor car crash. A lawyer can guide you through each step of preparing and filing a car accident insurance claim and work toward a resolution that benefits you.
Investigation of the Car Accident
Before there is any detailed discussion or negotiation with an insurer as to the extent of your damages and injuries, the insurance company will investigate the car accident to make a determination as to the fault. While an insurance company will make its own fault determination for a claim, a lawyer can conduct their own inquiry into the crash and reveal the possible causes, the parties involved, and who could be to blame for the accident and your injuries.
Investigation of the crash by a lawyer may include:
- Tracking down photo or video evidence from nearby cameras.
- Interviewing witnesses.
- Reviewing police reports and other information that can provide insight into how the accident developed.
Gathering the Best Available Evidence
During the investigation by your attorney, if they reveal any facts or circumstances that deviate from the insurance company’s determination, they can gather the evidence necessary to prove their position to the insurer.
Videos, witness testimony, and other evidence may uncover how the driver is responsible for your damages or if there is a third party that may have played a role in the crash and the damages you incurred. Additionally, a large part of an insurance claim is proving your losses. Your lawyer will help you collect all evidence to prove your damages to the insurance company or in court if necessary.
Discovering Who is Responsible
Liability for a car accident may be obvious in some situations, such as when a driver is under the influence of alcohol or admits to not paying attention to the road ahead of them. However, you may not know how the accident transpired and who, in turn, caused it.
Additionally, when an accident involves multiple vehicles or commercial vehicles, there are legal issues that arise, making it probable that several parties may share in the liability for your losses.
A car accident lawyer can uncover all parties that could bear liability in a minor car accident. Whether it is an insurer, a driver, a car owner or a company, an attorney will look at all parties involved and their relationships with one another to determine if they could be responsible for your damages.
Calculation of Your Damages
It is not always easy to predict or determine your damages for a minor car accident. It can sometimes take time for the bigger picture surrounding your losses to develop following a crash. While an insurance company may want to settle quickly, this may not be to your benefit if you are at risk of losing out on compensation you need.
A car accident lawyer understands the damages available to a car accident victim under the law and can help you calculate your damages one by one. Your attorney can ensure you have an accurate calculation of your losses to help guide you in making a decision relating to the negotiation of a settlement. It makes it much harder to negotiate a successful settlement when you are not clear what the extent of your economic and non-economic losses are after a crash.
Communications and Negotiations With Parties
One of the most stressful aspects of an insurance claim often experienced by car accident victims is the seemingly endless communications and information requests from the insurance company and other interested parties. It can become overwhelming very quickly after a minor car accident, but a lawyer can help you manage your claim and case on your behalf. When you hire a car accident lawyer, you can direct all the phone calls, messages, and inquiries relating to the accident and your injuries to their office.
Preparation for Court When Necessary
Although a settlement is the most common resolution in car accident cases, there are times when disputes regarding fault or determination of damages require the intervention of a court. If a minor car accident case cannot reach a successful settlement, an attorney can advise whether a lawsuit may be appropriate in your circumstances.
When Should You Call a Lawyer if You are in a Minor Car Accident?
After a car accident that causes any injury or losses, even if minimal, you should contact a car accident lawyer. Injuries of any severity can incur costly medical bills and affect your ability to work and pay your bills. Call a car accident lawyer for a free case consultation and get the assistance you need to recover the compensation you deserve.
Hire the Dolman Law Group
Do not think that a minor injury in a car accident isn't worth pursuing compensation for your injuries. You don't know what might come later or if your injuries will create more significant problems for you in the future. Our lawyers at the Dolman Law Group can help you fight for compensation you may be entitled to due to your injuries from a minor car accident. Contact us today to receive a free consultation to discuss your personal injury case.