Car accidents, no matter how minor, are still considered road incidents. For example, if the accident involved a pedestrian, this should be treated with care by a professional such as https://www.keatingfirmlaw.
Car accidents fall under personal injury claims. If you eventually decide to file for claims, you need to remember that each state has different rules. In California, for instance, they have a two-year statute for filing such claims. You should find a lawyer within your county to make the process easier and faster because they know the local traffic accident rules and insurance claims. For instance, a personal injury lawyer in Orange County can help you file a traffic collision report with the California Highway Patrol, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, or the local city police department.
What is Considered a Minor Car Accident?
A minor car accident involves small damage to the vehicle that doesn’t prevent it from operating. It can be anything from a paint scratch, a slight fender bender, a broken tail light or headlight, a small dent on the body, a cracked windshield, or a busted tire.
A minor injury has no major threat to life. It can be a small skin bruise, a soft-tissue injury, pulled muscles, a bump, or a whiplash. Minor injuries may not require you to be rushed to the hospital. However, you should still have yourself checked by a medical professional, especially if you bumped into something and if you have underlying comorbidities.
Should You Get a Lawyer For a Minor Car Accident?
There are a lot of things that could go wrong following a minor car accident. For your own protection and insurance purposes, the best answer is a yes if the situation dictates. If you are unsure of the protocols following a car accident, a lawyer will help you straighten things out. If you don’t have a car insurance yet, you can check out the Youi comprehensive insurance quote here for more details.
Here are a few reasons why it’s better to get a lawyer even if you’ve only experienced a minor car accident:
Minor injuries can manifest into something major
A whiplash can seem minor at first, but actual symptoms can reveal themselves after a few days. It can escalate to joint dysfunction or a herniated disc. A head bump can seem minor, but if left unchecked, there may be a brain bleed that only manifests symptoms after a few hours or days. Lacerations can become infected if not given immediate treatment, and this is still considered a medical expense.
The other party refuses to pay for damages
If the other party was at fault and you agreed that they would pay for car damages but suddenly refused to do so, you can seek the help of a lawyer to help make the negligent party settle. These types of unjust negotiations can quickly escalate into a lawsuit. It’s best to have a lawyer represent you in court if necessary or handle settlement negotiations. Having a lawyer present can pressure the negligent party to pay for damages.
Things To Do After a Minor Car Accident
If you feel you are not badly injured and still have the presence of mind, here’s a checklist of the things that you should do on the spot after a minor car accident:
- Check for injuries. Check yourself thoroughly for injuries, making sure you take note of all muscle aches, strains, bruises, scratches, and lacerations. If you feel okay, check the people involved in the accident and see if anyone needs immediate medical attention.
- Check for car leaks, the smell of gasoline, and broken vehicle parts. Move away from the vehicle if you see any leaks or sparks. Take note of broken parts at the point of vehicle impact.
- Take photos and note down safety details. Use your phone to take photos of the accident area, the position of the vehicles, skid marks, and the broken parts. It is also important to note down discreetly if the other party follows safety driving procedures such as wearing seatbelts and airbags. This information can be vital in case the other party tries to sue you for injuries.
- Report the incident to the nearest police station. A police report should be made immediately while the incident is still fresh in everyone’s mind. Police reports are also required if you decide to file for small insurance claims along the way.
- Exchange contact information. Settlements do not happen onsite. It happens after car shop estimates and incident reports. It is, therefore, important that you know the contact information of the other party involved in the incident so you can get in touch and negotiate settlements.
- Call your car insurance. Whether you are filing for claims or not, it is always a good move to inform your insurance company that an accident has occurred. This is an important move in case you decide to file claims, or the other party decides to sue you. Some insurance policies require that you report the incident immediately.
- Take your car to a car repair shop for estimates. Don’t just rely on the estimate of one shop. Take your car to two or three other repair shops to verify the average price of repairs. Ask that they put the prices of the parts and services in full detail.
A personal injury lawyer can help guide you through the whole process of filing claims following a car accident. They can significantly increase your chances of getting the maximum compensation. When dealing with insurance claims, a lawyer can help you come up with the proper statements upon filing at the police station, what to say to the insurance company, conduct extensive fact-finding, find witness testimony, and handle settlement negotiations.