Minor Car Accidents: Do I Really Need a Lawyer?
Car crashes happen in the Antelope Valley every day. As we know, these accidents can be very serious, causing great personal injury and suffering to those involved. However, many car accidents are minor, resulting in minimal car damage and little to no injuries.
In these situations, many people assume that a lawyer isn’t worth the money. Why hire an attorney after a minor car accident if no one was hurt? However, many issues that follow minor car accidents, such as insurance claim issues, disputes over fault, and lurking long-term pain, don’t appear until later. In the wake of a minor car accident, many people do not realize how much a lawyer can help.
Whether you’re involved in a low-speed collision in a supermarket parking lot or a weekend fender bender on Lancaster Boulevard, you have legal rights, and you need someone to help you protect them. Let us tell you why you should always consider hiring an accident attorney after a minor car accident.
1. Gathering and Reporting Information
Calling the police after a minor car accident might not even cross your mind, especially if no one is injured. However, calling the police is almost always a good idea: when they arrive, they create and file an accident report, detailing how the accident happened. While the report might not assign fault, it may diagram how the officers perceived the accident to have occurred. This is incredibly useful evidence to help support your claim, especially when the other party disagrees with your account of the accident.
Recently, however, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has a new policy of not responding to minor car accidents due to budget cuts. Notably, this policy change does not affect the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or the LA County Sherriff’s Department (LASD), meaning that calling the police after a minor car accident is still the best option in most of the county – including in the Antelope Valley. However, people involved in an accident in the city of Los Angeles must now self-report the accident online and describe what happened.
Obvious problems exist with this process, including the fact that two people could see the exact same accident differently, making it more challenging for you to collect compensation. To mitigate this issue, you will need to contact trustworthy injury lawyers right away to get the guidance and defense you need.
2. Getting Medical Treatment
Major car accidents with extensive vehicle damage are more likely to cause injuries that call for comprehensive medical care. Still, even minor injuries require medical attention, and some injuries may not present on the day of the accident. Because medical care is costly, you must have a legal advocate fighting to get you the money you need to cover these costs.
For example: a concussion, one of the most common car accident injuries, may not immediately cause symptoms but can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in lifetime medical expenses for the victim. Never dismiss your injuries as too minor. Any and every injury is severe enough to speak with a lawyer.
3. Dealing with Insurance Companies
Sometimes, a fender bender causes nothing more than a little vehicle damage. For example, let’s say someone hits your rear bumper at nearly idle speeds while approaching a stop sign. This might startle you and cause a few dents and cracks in your car, but it most likely won’t cause you any physical harm.
This is about the only instance when you don’t need to hire a lawyer. Just submit a claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance company and get on with your day.
But if your car has been badly damaged, you may benefit from the guidance of a car accident lawyer. Repairing your vehicle may cost more than your car is worth, and the insurance company may try to pay a small sum of money for you to replace your vehicle. Most likely, that amount of money won’t even come close to getting you a new vehicle. Working with a minor car accident settlement lawyer can help you battle the insurance company and possibly increase the amount you get to buy a new car.
4. The Other Driver Won’t Admit Fault
When the other driver caused your accident but won’t admit fault, you’re headed for a contentious legal battle. Even if your accident only caused minor vehicle damage, getting stuck with increased insurance rates and paying for your car repairs shouldn’t be your responsibility.
To help you recover the compensation you deserve, your minor car accident lawyer can investigate your crash and attempt to prove the other driver was at fault. Without this legal guidance at your side, you risk having to pay out of pocket for your expenses.
5. Keeping Documentation
Another reason you should call a lawyer: you’ll need guidance from an advocate you can trust about how to best pursue your claim. Our first tip? Keep everything. Every police document, if you get any. Every doctor’s note and prescription. Every receipt from a repair shop. Keep all of this documentation as it can help prove the financial impact the accident has had on your life, besides the physical pain you may have suffered.
We at PARRIS would also recommend keeping a journal. Detailing in your own words can paint a powerful picture of the lasting impact the accident has had on your life. This information can be used by your legal team to hold the other driver accountable for your medical expenses and financial losses.
6. Time Constraints
Every state provides a window of time for a person to sue another person or company after an accident. In California, that time is two years.
This might seem like a long time, but if you’re spending this time dealing with car repairs, battling insurance companies, and recovering from your injuries, the time might pass by without you even noticing. Partnering with a trusted car accident lawyer right after your accident can help ensure this important deadline is met. Without skilled legal guidance, you risk missing out on your chance to collect the compensation you deserve.
Partner with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
After a minor car accident, you may just want to get home, shake it off, and forget it ever happened. But you may be staring down a legal battle that could result in increased costs to you. Speaking with a car accident lawyer right away is the best way to protect your rights.
You need to make that call as soon as possible, too. From the moment of your collision, the clock starts ticking on the time you have to sue the negligent driver and collect money from their insurance company.
Don’t delay. Contact PARRIS today to learn more about your legal options.