What is a “minor” car accident? No matter where it happens or how fast the vehicles involved are traveling at the time, a car accident has the potential to cause serious bodily injury and property damage. If you were involved in a minor car accident, you may benefit from the help of a qualified legal professional.
Even in minor car accidents, victims may sustain injuries that will require costly medical treatment and physical therapy or hinder their ability to perform the duties of their job. After you get into a car accident, always get contact and insurance information from everyone involved and call the police to complete a report. Once you get medical attention, your lawyer can help you estimate your potential damages from a lawsuit and negotiate a settlement with the responsible party’s insurance company.
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we believe that every car accident injury victim should have access to the legal resources necessary to inform them of their options. To that end, we offer free initial consultations to all potential clients with one of our esteemed Ocean City car accident lawyers. Call us today to schedule yours. We can be reached at our offices at (410) 694-7291.
Common Injuries from Minor Car Accidents
Believe it or not, most car accidents in the United States occur at speeds lower than 20 miles per hour. While most cars sold in the past 10 years are well built to survive a low speed car accident, the human body is not. Any number of medical conditions may result from a car accident at any speed, particularly those listed below.
Whiplash is one of the most frequently identified injuries after a car accident, to the point where many people joke about it as a “fake” injury to back up a lawsuit. However, whiplash is very real and can impact the victim’s day-to-day function on every level. Whiplash is most common in head-on or rear-end collisions. Rear-end collisions are almost always the fault of the driver in the rear. If untreated, whiplash can become a source of chronic pain or nerve damage.
Airbags and other safety features do not discriminate based on the nature of the accident. If the car computer senses that the driver or passengers may be in danger, the airbags will deploy. Though meant to protect, airbags deploy with a velocity and force that has the ability to cause serious blunt trauma to the face and hands. If your airbag malfunctions, you may also have a case against the airbag manufacturer or the car maker. Talk to your Towson car accident lawyer about your options for suing if injured by an airbag.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The human brain is an incredibly delicate organ that can be damaged by even mild forceful impacts. When this happens, the victim is in danger of suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs occur when the brain collides with the inside of the skull after being jostled. Some kinds of TBI, such as concussions, do not even require direct contact with the head. You may not be able to detect the presence of a traumatic brain injury on your own, so you should always seek medical attention immediately after your accident.
Injuries that Appear After an Accident
While you might assume that all car accident injuries are glaringly obvious right away, that is not always the case. In fact, the most common injury victims can sustain from minor car accidents, whiplash, can take days or even weeks after a collision to appear.
As you have already learned, whiplash often results from minor car accidents, like rear-enders. When your car is hit from behind, the impact can cause severe soft tissue damage to the neck. This is known as whiplash and can take days or weeks to appear. Sometimes, car accident victims can confuse the aches and pains associated with whiplash with normal soreness after a car accident. In addition, the stress and trauma you feel in the days after a collision could cause you to ignore injuries like whiplash.
Because of this, victims may not recognize signs of whiplash, like soreness and dizziness, for weeks after a car accident. This can make victims fear that they won’t recover compensatory damages since they did not hire a car accident lawyer right away. Regardless of when you recognize signs of whiplash, even if they take time to appear after a minor car accident, reach out to an attorney. You can still recover compensatory damages to aid in your recovery.
Remember, whiplash is not an injury you should ignore. the longer whiplash remains untreated, the worse it can become and the more it can impact your quality of life. Because of this, it is important that victims hire an attorney even if they believe their car accident was minor. the car accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras believe that no injury is minor, including whiplash that’s recognized later on.
What to Do After a Minor Car Accident
You should always contact a lawyer after a car accident. However, there are a few steps that you should take before getting legal help that can help preserve your health and help your recovery.
Exchange Insurance Information
Immediately after an accident, you should obtain contact and insurance information from the other driver. the other driver may try to persuade you that the accident wasn’t serious and that you should just move along or try to offer you cash instead of their insurance information. the truth is, you simply do not know how serious the accident is until you get medical assessment and a quote from an auto repair shop. If they try to leave the scene, take pictures of the car and license plate and call 911.
Especially if you live in a fault state, it’s crucial to get a negligent driver’s insurance information. Even if a car accident appears minor at first, you may need to file an insurance claim with the negligent driver’s carrier when pursuing compensatory damages.
Call the Police
Regardless of an accident’s severity, you should always call the authorities after a collision. When police officers arrive, they will write up an accident report. An accident report collects critical information about the accident and parties involved. For example, accident reports can contain all drivers’ contact information and eyewitness statements. These reports may note police officers’ own opinions and point to an accident’s cause.
If you call law enforcement officials to a collision scene and they complete an accident report, you and your attorney can use it to your advantage when dealing with the other party’s insurance company. While a police report is not considered evidence in a lawsuit, your car accident attorney can use it to point to evidence and support your claim against a negligent driver.
Visit the Hospital
Once the issues at the scene of the accident have been resolved, always look to get medical care as soon as possible after the accident, even if you don’t believe that you are injured. Many conditions, such as TBIs and internal bleeding, may lie dormant and have the potential to become serious or even life-threatening if gone untreated.
Victims need to get medical treatment, regardless of whether or not injuries are apparent following a car accident. Such medical records can be crucial when building a case against a defendant and show that a victim sustained their injuries because of a negligent driver’s actions.
Should You Speak with an Insurance Company After a Minor Car Accident?
If you have been in a minor car accident, you may think that speaking with an insurance company is the best route to take to recover compensatory damages. the tricky part is that insurance companies are notorious for underpaying victims. Once that happens, it can become impossible to get the damages you deserve.
Car accident victims involved in even minor collisions should never speak to an insurance company by themselves. If you were not at fault for an accident and plan on undergoing settlement negotiations with a negligent driver’s insurance company, you risk accepting a low-ball settlement amount. Victims need representation from an experienced car accident lawyer that can handle difficult settlement negotiations and fight for the compensation amount their clients deserve.
Remember, you shouldn’t speak with an insurance company yourself after even a minor car accident. As you’ve learned, some injuries like whiplash, aren’t always apparent right away. Suppose you engage in settlement negotiations with an insurance company without an attorney by your side. In that case, you may accept a settlement amount that doesn’t fully cover the cost of your injuries. An experienced car accident attorney will advise you to visit a medical professional who can thoroughly assess your injuries so that you understand the full expense before you engage in settlement discussions with an insurance company.
It is also important to note that insurance companies may try to trick victims into accepting fault. If you misspeak during negotiations, an insurance company can use that against you to reduce your settlement amount.
Also, by hiring a car accident lawyer, you can learn if it’s wise to speak with an insurance company at all. Your attorney may believe the best route to compensation is to forgo such discussions and file a lawsuit against the negligent party responsible.
How Can a Lawyer Help You with Your Minor Car Accident?
You may be wondering whether it is worth it to hire a lawyer to help you recover for your minor car accident. the reality is that there is no such thing as a minor car accident. Every traffic collision has the potential to cause serious physical and financial consequences.
Lawyers can help you estimate the value of your potential claim. If the other party’s insurance company contacts you, you can have your lawyer speak with them on your behalf or negotiate a fair settlement.
If you are concerned about costs, you should know that many car accident lawyers will work for contingency fees. Contingency fees are only paid at the conclusion of your legal situation and depend on how much you recover. Therefore, if you are unsuccessful in your pursuit of damages after your car accident, you won’t owe your lawyer anything in contingency fees.
With that in mind, victims can rest easy knowing that there is no risk associated with hiring a car accident lawyer from Rice, Murtha & Psoras to represent their interests. Our Germantown, MD car accident attorneys won’t make a cent until you do, allowing all victims access to quality legal representation, regardless of their financial situation.
Additional Benefits of Contacting an Attorney After a Minor Car Accident
Contacting an attorney is crucial after a minor car accident, especially if you’ve sustained injuries. In addition to helping you estimate the value of your claim and engaging in settlement negotiations with an insurance company, hiring an attorney has more benefits for victims. A skilled lawyer can bring invaluable experience to a lawsuit and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the litigation process.
After a minor car accident, victims may not see the value in filing a lawsuit against a negligent party. If you’re unsure whether or not to sue a responsible party for compensation after a minor car accident, speak with an attorney. After a free case evaluation with our car accident attoreys, you can learn more about your case’s viability. From there, an attorney can compile important evidence that supports your claim. Your car accident lawyer can scan information found in a police report and speak to eyewitnesses. They can also collect any medical records regarding your injuries and gather potential camera footage or photos of the accident.
A car accident attorney’s main goal is to represent your interests and protect your rights. These experienced professionals exist to support you through litigation or negotiations with insurance companies and fight for your interests exclusively. Having a skilled attorney by your side is invaluable in your pursuit of compensatory damages after a car accident.
How to Hire the Ideal Car Accident Attorney
The idea of hiring an attorney can be daunting to car accident victims. Because of that, victims may decide that dealing with the aftermath of their minor car accident by themselves is best. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s why victims need to learn tips on hiring the best car accident attorney for the job.
The ideal car accident attorney should be supportive and sympathetic to your experience. We believe that no injury insignificant and that all car accident victims deserve compensation. When consulting with lawyers, don’t be afraid to ask any questions you might have. the right legal team should be receptive to your inquiries and transparent about its processes.
If you don’t feel comfortable with an attorney during a consultation, they may not be the right lawyer to represent your interests. Car accidents, even minor ones, can be physically and financially damaging to victims. If a prospective lawyer doesn’t appreciate your experience or downplays it, they aren’t suited to your needs.
When in doubt, go with your intuition, and hire an Essex car accident attorney that genuinely cares about getting you the compensatory damages you deserve.
Does Hiring a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident Mean You’re Going to Trial?
Some car accident victims may fear hiring an attorney because they do not want to go to trial. If you aren’t familiar with the litigation process, you may worry that a trial will be long and fruitless. So, victims need to know if hiring a lawyer means that they are definitely going to trial.
When you hire a car accident lawyer, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll go full steam ahead to a trial in a courtroom. In fact, many car accident lawsuits never even go to trial. Once you’ve hired an attorney, the first step is an investigation. Your attorney will compile all available evidence and begin forming a plan to proceed. Depending on several factors, your car accident lawyer may advise that you engage in settlement negotiations with an insurance company. If you get to that point, this will happen before you file a lawsuit.
If an insurance company doesn’t budge on their low-ball offer during negotiations, your lawyer may suggest that you file a lawsuit against a negligent driver. Just because you choose to sue does not mean that a trial will certainly happen. However, that is something to be prepared for since it is always possible. Depending on the available evidence and the chance a defendant has at a successful trial, they may suggest that you settle. In doing so, you can forgo a trial and discuss potential settlement amounts between your respective attorneys. Should negotiations fail, your lawyer may advise you to go to trial.
While car accident victims should be prepared for the possibility that they may have to go to trial to get the compensation they deserve, it’s not always guaranteed. In all likelihood, if negotiations with an insurance company fail, your lawsuit may settle out of court.
Can You Recover Compensatory Damages After a Minor Car Accident?
After a minor car accident, victims may be unsure whether or not they can even recover damages. the fact of the matter is any time a negligent driver’s actions cause injuries to you, you are entitled to compensatory damages. An experienced Aberdeen car accident attorney can help you recover both economic and non-economic damages in a lawsuit against a negligent driver.
In a car accident lawsuit, even seemingly minor ones, victims can recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to a car accident’s financial impact on a victim’s life. This includes expenses, like medical costs and lost wages, that a victim may incur as a result of their injuries. By compiling things like medical reports and documentation of lost wages, your attorney can attempt to recover the economic damages you deserve down to the dollar.
Non-economic damages are harder to quantify. These damages attempt to compensate victims for the emotional impact an accident has had on their lives. So, any pain and suffering you may have endured because of a car accident can be compensated for through non-economic damages.
How Long Does it Take to Receive Damages After a Minor Car Accident?
Once a car accident lawsuit ends in your favor, you will likely be awarded a settlement amount. That being said, you may not receive all of your compensatory damages right away. Generally, a defendant can compensate a victim via two payment methods: lump sum payments and structured settlements.
Depending on a defendant’s financial means and the settlement amount, they may agree to make a lump sum payment. This means that a defendant will pay the agreed-upon amount in one payment. Through a lump sum payment, victims can almost immediately receive the necessary damages after a car accident lawsuit has concluded.
The other option is a structured settlement. In some cases, your car accident attorney and a defendant’s counsel may agree to a structured settlement. This means that victims will receive their compensatory damages through agreed-upon periodic payments over time. Because of that, it will likely take long for victims to receive their entirety of their compensatory damages. That being said, your attorney will work on your behalf to ensure that a structured settlement still helps you pay medical bills and compensate for lost wages appropriately.
Regardless of whether you receive compensatory damages through a lump sum payment or structured settlement, your car accident lawyer will work to get the amount you deserve.
Involved in a Car Accident? Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras Today
Even if your car accident seemed minor, we may be able to help you recover damages. Call the experienced Baltimore car accident attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to schedule your free appointment today.