When most people think of a car accident, they think of a dramatic crash with mangled wreckage and serious injuries. The truth is that most of these incidents are minor fender benders that the drivers and passengers walk away from relatively unhurt. When this occurs, many people wonder whether they need an attorney.
The answer is always yes. You should hire a lawyer, even for a minor car crash. Having a legal expert on your side means that you receive professional counsel on how to proceed with the case. It increases your chances of a favorable outcome and receiving higher compensation. Not to mention the added benefit of relief, knowing that your case is in the hands of a professional.
The Damages May Be More Than You Think
Consider the following scenario. You are involved in a minor crash, and the damage is minimal. Just light damage to the driver’s side door. Nothing a mechanic can’t knock out in a few hours. You exchange information and maybe agree to pay for the damage between the two of you.
A week later, your car starts having problems, and you take it to a mechanic, only to find out that there is extensive damage to your car. Who will pay for it? Will your insurance company cover the damage? You definitely need a lawyer now.
Your Injuries May Be More Severe Than You Think
People often fail to seek medical treatment after a minor accident because they have not received serious injuries. They also think they don’t need an attorney because they were not badly hurt. However, some injuries may take days or weeks to manifest.
Soft tissue injuries like whiplash don’t always appear immediately. You may develop a herniated disc and not feel pain until weeks later. It is always a good idea to allow medical personnel to check you out at the scene. Follow up with your primary care physician and call your attorney immediately following an accident.
The Other Driver May Sue You Later
First of all, if you get into a minor crash, don’t apologize. Don’t say, “I’m so sorry, I wasn’t paying attention and hit your car.” Don’t call someone to unwind and say, “I was texting and driving and crashed into someone’s car!”
Simply exchange information and stay at the scene until the police arrive and take a report. Consider what can happen if you leave the scene and the other party stays behind and talks to the police, placing the weight of the blame on you for the accident. You move on with your life, and a few days later, you get a call from the other driver’s attorney. You’re being sued. It’s best to have your attorney on standby if this situation happens to you.
You May Be Offered a Settlement… That You Shouldn’t Accept
First and foremost, it is important to understand how insurance companies work. They are a for-profit business and don’t necessarily want to pay out claims for accidents. If their client was at fault, they will likely want to pay you off with a quick settlement to avoid having to pay more if the case has to go to trial.
When you accept this settlement, you forfeit the right to sue for damages later and often get less than you deserve. If you accept the settlement, you will have to pay out of pocket if you discover more injuries or vehicle damage later.
The Bottom Line
If you get into a minor crash, you need a Birmingham car accident attorney who can protect you and fight for your rights. There are legal ramifications that can come manifest only later. By having an attorney on your side, you can make sure that you steer clear of any legal complications and maximize your chances of winning a lawsuit. Furthermore, by having experts deal with legal proceedings, you have more time to focus on your recovery.