Minor accidents happen all the time. Things like low-speed collisions, small dents, or a cracked windshield may make you wonder if it’s worth the time to call a lawyer over the matter. Even though a car accident might seem minor, there may be hidden costs or injuries.
You might not realize until after the accident that you were injured or your vehicle sustained more damage than you originally thought. A law firm representative can review your case and tell you if you should hire a car accident lawyer for your minor accident.
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Injuries Can Show Up Weeks or Months After the Accident
Even if your vehicle has little to no damage, you could still suffer physical injuries in the following weeks or even months. Sometimes the symptoms of an injury don’t appear until many days after your minor accident.
As stated by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a minor car crash can cause injuries like whiplash, which can require expensive medical care later on if left undiagnosed. Here are some possible hidden injuries you could end up paying for later on.
According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash results when a rapid and forceful movement makes the neck jerk back and forth. Whiplash is a common injury caused by minor car accidents and may not appear until after your shock wears off and your muscles try to relax.
Pulled or Strained Muscles
Even in minor car accidents, our bodies tense up and brace for impact. Like with whiplash, you may not know how much your accident hurt you until after your body relaxes and your adrenaline wears off. This includes back pain injuries.
Concussion or Brain Injury
Even slightly hitting your head can cause a concussion or brain injury. Concussions happen when your brain strikes the inside of your skull. These cause several symptoms that may not appear for weeks after your accident.
Even if you think the car accident is minor, see a medical professional as soon as you can after the accident to ensure you have no injuries due to the accident. Catching a hidden injury early will improve the quality of your life.
Why You Should See a Doctor After Your Car Accident
In a minor accident, the damage might not seem obvious. A doctor can help prove the injuries you sustained from a minor car accident. Your doctor’s office will also keep records of any visits, hospital stays, prescriptions, image testing, and rehab.
Without these records, the insurance company might try to prove that your injuries were not severe enough to warrant a higher settlement. Ideally, you’ll want to see a doctor as soon as possible after your accident so that you can hold the at-fault driver responsible through an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Is It Worth It To Hire a Lawyer?
Besides treating your health, a doctor’s diagnosis will help your lawyer decide whether it’s worth pursuing extra compensation. Sometimes a chronic injury can be far more devastating to your life than an acute one. If you hire a car accident lawyer for your minor injury case, you could receive compensation for damages that include:
Even if you have a minor injury, medical treatment can be costly. Diagnostic tests alone can be expensive. You might also have to receive medical treatment, such as physical exams, physical therapy, or even surgery.
Vehicle damage might seem minor, but even minor damage can cost hundreds of dollars to repair. Also, if your car’s frame is damaged, you may find it hard to sell your car later without expensive repairs. Your minor hit may have damaged more than you think!
Time Off Work
Depending on how physical your job is, you could lose significant income throughout your treatment and recovery. You could pursue compensation for any time you missed at work and any time you are going to have to miss in the future.
Pain and Suffering
Many people do not consider pain and suffering when they are in a minor car accident. However, suffering from back pain, headaches, and soreness can have a significant impact on your day. A car accident is physically and mentally stressful, no matter how minor it might be.
Do I Need To File an Accident Report?
Although it is not required unless there are injuries, fatalities, or vehicle damage, the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) recommends filing a report for vehicle collisions, no matter how minor the accident might seem.
Accident reports are proof that an incident happened. Should you need to pursue compensation later by hiring a car accident lawyer, you’ll need this document to build a strong case. It doesn’t hurt to give one, even if it looks like there’s no damage to your car.
Should I Accept an Insurance Settlement Offer?
If you think that you only have a minor accident and receive a reasonable settlement offer from an insurance company, think twice. Many companies try to rush a settlement so that they don’t have to pay for injuries that show up later.
Never take an offer until you’ve spoken with a medical professional and a personal injury lawyer. If you take the offer, you lose the right to make another claim later if you discover additional injuries or damages.