In the chaos of a car accident, you need to make sense of what to do next. You may be wondering, “Should I hire a lawyer for a minor car accident?” Remember that when your adrenaline is pumping through your system after a car accident, it’s easy to diminish pain, injuries, and even make poor decisions. Even car accidents with minor property damage can cause extensive injuries.
We all know that you need a lawyer to help you handle a large accident where vehicles have flipped or people are seriously injured. But do you really need to hire a lawyer for a minor car accident?
The answer depends on your circumstances. After reading this article, you’ll know whether your minor car accident requires a lawyer to help you handle filing a claim for damages, or if you can proceed on your own.
When Do You Need a Lawyer after a Car Accident?
Generally, if your vehicle was damaged but you weren’t injured in the collision, you probably will not need to hire an attorney.
However, if you suffered an injury for which you went to the emergency room or were treated by your primary care physician or another medical provider, you might want to consider hiring an attorney to represent you.
The insurance company is in business to make money. In addition, most people are not familiar with the claims process. While the insurance adjuster may act friendly, it’s important to understand that they are not your friend. Ultimately, they want to pay you as little as possible.
Many claims settle long before litigation, while others are unable to reach a settlement and must go to trial. The best way to win at trial is to start preparing early. At Scholle Law, we start preparing your case for trial from day one.
Don’t settle for less than your case is worth. Our initial consultation is free. A Scholle Law attorney will meet with you, evaluate your case, and help you negotiate the best possible settlement.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident that Wasn’t my Fault?
The answer is “maybe”. You’ll want to consider the following before you decide to hire a lawyer for a minor car accident that wasn’t your fault:
- Did anyone in the car experience minor or major personal injuries?
- Was there a fatality?
- Did you require medical treatment?
- Have you suffered an emotional trauma?
- Is there a dispute about who was at fault?
- Was the other driver uninsured?
- Was there any property damage?
If the answer to all of the above is “no”, then you likely don’t need to hire a lawyer.
However, if you answered “yes” to any of the above, then it is in your best interest to hire, or at least, consult a lawyer who can help you collect compensation for the damages you have suffered. Attempting to take on the insurance company yourself will almost never get as high of a settlement as working with a lawyer.
5 Reasons You Need a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident
1. The damages may be more than you think.
A minor car accident may not seem like it will cost you a lot of money, but bills add up quickly. Even treatment for whiplash and the repair costs to fix your bumper could quickly drain your finances.
In some cases, the damages may not be apparent for a while. You may have a cartilage or vertebral disc injury that slowly gets worse over time. You may have a concussive injury that lingers. You may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or anxiety, which can take months to appear. These mental illnesses can completely change your life, forcing you to quit the job you love or preventing you from ever getting in another car.
2. You may have suffered injuries.
Not all injuries are on the surface. Like anxiety and PTSD, many emotional and mental injuries do not appear at the scene of the accident.
Injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, soft tissue injuries, and internal bleeding can be difficult to diagnose unless you’re a medical professional. By the time you notice them, days may have passed. Left untreated, these injuries can forever alter your life.
3. You may accidentally admit fault, even if you aren’t at fault.
Admitting fault isn’t as simple as saying “I’m guilty.” There are many little things you can do that will make you seem like the at-fault party, or negate your claim for damages.
Insurance companies often trap victims using their own words. If you answered the phone and said you “felt good,” they may take that as a sign that you are not injured and reject your claim.
Working with a lawyer means that your lawyer handles these calls. They know how to speak to insurance agents to protect you.
4. Insurance companies are intimidating.
Insurance companies are focused on their bottom line. They care most about keeping their money in their pockets. That means that they don’t want to pay you, even if you have a legal claim for damages.
This is why insurance companies intimidate victims into accepting lower settlements. They will bully victims by diminishing their rights to damages, shifting blame, and outright denying their injuries.
5. You’ll have someone who can protect your rights.
Hiring a lawyer means that you have someone on your side every step of the way through your legal claim for your minor car accident. They will protect your rights, fight the insurance company, and ensure that you get the proper treatment you need.