Minor car accidents occur every day, many of which result in no serious injuries or major property damage. Nevertheless, sometimes a minor car accident can lead to car accident injuries, medical expenses, and hefty payments to your insurance company. So, you might be wondering, “Should I hire a car accident lawyer for a minor car accident?” Even if you feel fine after an accident, it’s in your best interests to call a car accident attorney.
Your Minor Car Accident May Not Be So Minor: Call a Car Accident Attorney
Many car accidents seem minor on the surface, but the true extent of the damage may not be clear immediately after the car accident. What looks like a fender bender on the outside could actually be serious damage to your vehicle. An insurance adjuster might later find a bent axle or damaged frame and chalk it up as a total loss. You may not need to seek medical attention immediately, only to find nagging injuries that linger after the accident occurred.
You can hire a car accident lawyer for a minor car accident even if you don’t think there’s much room to seek compensation. A good lawyer will examine your case with a free consultation and try to get you a fair settlement. You will need to show that the other party was at fault to receive compensation. Consider how a minor accident could become a major problem and how you can fight back when a negligent driver causes you harm.
You May Have to Fight With an Insurance Company
Since Missouri is an at-fault state, you bear responsibity for your share of the damages from the accident in proportion to how much you contributed to the minor accident. If the accident was 80% the fault of another driver, then that driver’s insurance company will have to step in to cover 80% of the property damage and medical expenses for everyone involved.
However, it’s quite common for a car insurance company to underpay. You may get a small check for a minor car accident that doesn’t fully cover your expenses. A lawyer could help you sue the other party so that their insurance company pays fair compensation. A car accident lawyer could also help you pressure your own insurer in the event you the insurance company does not honor your insurance policy.
Preventative Medical Attention Can Still Result in Large Medical Bills
You might think a minor car accident wouldn’t result in serious medical expenses. However, even preventative or cautionary trips to the hospital after an accident can get expensive. For example, an unconscious driver cannot refuse treatment. If first responders suspect head trauma, they might rush the driver to the hospital in an expensive ambulance and order a costly MRI.
What started out as a minor car accident is now already worth five figures between the cost of treatment and the damage to the vehicle. An experienced car accident lawyer for a minor car accident case may help you get compensation from the other driver and alleviate these suprising expenses.
Hidden Injuries Could Emerge After the Car Accident
After a fender bender or other minor car accident, you may feel completely fine and able to walk away without heading to the hospital. However, you may have experienced an injury without realizing it. Even broken bones like ribs could go unnoticed after a car accident. Sometimes a physical injury doesn’t manifest immediately. For example, perhaps the day after the car accident you start to notice pain in your neck.
Besides hidden injuries, there are also cases where victims have suffered injuries but simply wanted to avoid an expensive trip to the hospital. They may have refused treatment for their injuries at the accident scene and simply exchanged insurance information with the other driver. Don’t let the fear of medical debt lead to greater personal injury. Hire a car accident lawyer after a minor car accident to ensure your health and wellbeing.
Vehicle Damage Could Result in Lost Wages
Even a minor car accident could put your vehicle out of commission for days or even weeks. During that time, you might need to rent a vehicle from a rental company to get to work. Otherwise, you might be unable to get to work, resulting in lost wages. In either case, your minor car accident is now causing significant financial hardship.
If you hire a car accident lawyer, the total cost of missing work or the cost of renting a replacement car while yours is in the shop could be added to your personal injury claim. A lawsuit can help you recover these damages in small claims court.
An Expensive Car May Require Costly Repairs
A minor car crash with a luxury or high-performance car may end up with a financial impact greater than that of a severe crash with common cars. If you drive an expensive import or sports car, you’re likely well aware that a minor car accident could easily result in damages that exceed your insurance coverage. Between more expensive replacement parts for your car, higher repair costs, and higher insurance payments, you may want to call a car accident lawyer.
There are also things your insurance claim may not cover, like aftermarket car parts. Vehicles that have been modified for specific purposes like offroading or drag racing likely won’t get the full value of those modifications covered in an insurance claim. Your only recourse in these situations is to take your car accident claims to a car accident lawyer.
Is It Worth Calling a Car Accident Laywer for Minor Car Accidents?
If your seemingly minor accident is beginning to seem much more expensive than you originally thought, you may be able to get compensation with the help of a car accident lawyer. Still, many people wonder if it will actually be worth it in the end.
If you want to get fair compensation for your damages, you’ll need a well-crafted lawsuit. However, the lawyer you choose to work with will have a significant impact on your final award. With personal injury lawyers that offer free consultations and work on contingency, you can get fair compensation for your damages.
Consider the Compensation You Could Receive
Compensation for car accidents in Missouri falls requires a personal injury claim. A personal injury attorney can prepare a personal injury lawsuit that calls for compensation for the entirety of your economic damages. In addition, you may be able to get more money in the form of noneconomic damages.
Know the differences between both of these kinds of damages and how they affect your lawsuit.
Economic damages will include every dollar you had to spend because of your motor vehicle accident, as well as every dollar you didn’t earn because of the accident. You can include treatment costs for your injuries, the value of any property damage that occurred, insurance payments, and of course any payments made to repair your vehicle.
Include lost wages or the value of any goods you were unable to use due to the minor accident. For example, if you were on your way to a concert and were then unable to attend, you could also argue that the cost of tickets was lost. You will need to gather evidence for these claims and present that information to your lawyer. Should you win your case, you’ll receive all of your demonstrated financial damages.
In addition to economic damages, you can ask for an additional amount in the form of noneconomic damages. These damages are meant to compensate you for pain and suffering related to your injuries. Noneconomic damages can also be awarded to offset the inconvenience of the minor accident.
You are more likely to receive noneconomic damages when the other drive was extraordinarly negligent in their actions. Even if there wasn’t much pain and suffering in your minor accident, an extremely negligent driver may be forced to pay more as a form of financial punishment. Your odds of receiving these damages will definitely improve if you hire a lawyer for a minor accident.
Look for a Law Firm That Offers a Free Consultation
With smaller collisions, there’s usually less room to recover massive headline-grabbing sums of money. Therefore, it’s important that you choose to work with a personal injury lawyer that isn’t going to take a large portion of your settlement before you even receive any compensation. You should not have to pay a lawyer to speak to one about your case. Always choose a lawyer that can give you a free meeting to discuss your legal rights.
Bring as many documents as you can to this initial consultation so that your lawyer can give your case a thorough review. The police report will be very important. The police report can show that the other party was at fault. You may even find in the police report that the other driver decided to admit fault privately to the officer. Then, bring receipts for your expenses and medical reports. If you have any other evidence, bring it with you.
Hire a Lawyer That Works on a Contingency Basis
Legal fees could easily eat away your final settlement if you work with a lawyer that charges you by the hour as you go through the legal process. You can avoid this problem when you hire a lawyer that works on a contingency basis. This means that if you don’t win, you don’t pay. If you do receive a settlement, your lawyer will take their fees out of your settlement.
Generally speaking, your lawyer will also try to add your legal expenses to your damages so that you don’t actually lose any portion of your settlement. The other driver will have to cover those legal fees, meaning that you have no risk when you choose to work with a reputable lawyer after a minor accident.
Make an Informed Decision With Legal Help
Trying to file your own claim will almost certainly result in failure. The Missouri legal system is nuanced and small mistakes can get a case tossed out immediately. If you’ve sustained injuries, even minor ones, you deserve the right to personal injury protection through a lawsuit. If a lawyer deems it worth pursuing, you may be able to get the compensation you need to be made whole.
Call Holman Schiavone, LLC at 816-399-5149 and ask for a free consultation today.