Do You Need a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?

A minor car accident might seem like a small inconvenience, but it could potentially turn into a major legal battle, depending on the accident, the damage to the vehicles, and any potential injuries. Here's what you need to know.
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    city street with two cars that have just been in a minor collision

    Handling Minor Accidents Yourself

    If you are involved in an auto accident, but are not injured, filing an insurance claim on your own with your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company is often the quickest and easiest way to get your vehicle repaired or replaced. This process can often be done without the assistance of an auto accident attorney. Similarly, if you go to the doctor to get checked out, but have no injuries and require no follow-up treatment, it may make sense to resolve the case on your own. However, there are some situations when you might want a lawyer’s help. 

    You can call us to discuss the best way to resolve your claim, and there is no cost or obligation connected to that discussion. 

    When to Consider Legal Help

    You might want to consider seeking legal help in situations that involve any of the following issues:

    • Disputes about who’s at fault.
    • Reimbursement obligations to insurance companies other than the at-fault carrier.
    • injuries that require ongoing medical care.
    • If you’re being taken to court by the other driver or their insurance company.
    • If you don’t want to handle your own claim.

    Benefits of Having a Lawyer

    Legal complexities can be overwhelming, especially in the stressful aftermath of a car accident. One complicating factor is that the at-fault driver’s insurance company has the obligation to protect that driver from liability to you, as well as the duty to maximize its shareholders’ profits; the way it best accomplishes those goals is by underpaying on claims.

    Engaging an experienced lawyer can help you navigate the intricate legal landscape without undue stress or costly missteps. Here are some key benefits of having an experienced lawyer on your side:

    • Understanding the Local Court System: Lawyers, especially those well-acquainted with the local court system, can help you anticipate and navigate potential challenges that could arise during your case. They understand the local legal procedures and nuances of the court system, enabling them to guide you through the process efficiently​​.
    • Experience in Car Accident Cases: Whether it’s an auto accident, motorcycle accident, or commercial truck accident, experienced lawyers know how to handle these specific types of cases. They can provide you with the right advice and strategy tailored to your unique situation​.
    • Evidence Collection: Gathering the necessary evidence to support your case is crucial. An experienced lawyer knows what evidence is needed and how to collect it, which can significantly strengthen your case​. More importantly, they also know how to get that evidence into form to be admitted in court, which is an important part of presenting a credible threat of litigation, which is a crucial component of compelling an insurer to pay fairly.
    • Negotiation Skills: Experienced and dedicated lawyers possess the necessary negotiation skills to ensure a fair settlement. They can prevent you from being forced into an inadequate settlement. We can, and will, work tirelessly to secure the best possible compensation for you​​.
    • Stress Relief: Having a lawyer on your side can significantly alleviate the stress of handling a legal case on your own. They can take the pressure off by dealing with legal procedures, paperwork, and communication with the other party or their insurer​​.
    • Deadline Management: Legal cases often come with strict deadlines. Missing a deadline can have serious implications for your case. An experienced lawyer ensures that all necessary documents are submitted on time, helping you avoid potential pitfalls​​.
    • Protection of Your Rights: Above all, a lawyer’s job is to protect your rights. They will ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the legal process and that your rights are upheld.

    Remember, a minor car accident doesn’t have to turn into a major legal ordeal. With the right legal support, you can navigate the process with confidence. Contact us today for a free case review and consultation.

    WV personal injury attorneys discussing a car accident case

    Beware of Hidden Injuries

    Even minor car accidents can lead to injuries that may not be immediately apparent due to the adrenaline rush that often accompanies such incidents. Here are some things to keep in mind:

    • Delayed Symptoms: It’s not uncommon for symptoms to be delayed after a car accident. You might feel fine right after the incident but start experiencing pain or discomfort several days later​​.
    • Soft Tissue Injuries: These include injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which can be overstretched or strained during a car accident. Symptoms might not appear until hours or even days later​. They also may not appear on radiological exams such as x-rays, CT scans or MRI’s.
    • Whiplash: This is a common injury in car accidents, especially rear-end collisions. Also called “lateral acceleration-deceleration syndrome,” this injury is caused by stretching of the soft tissues of the neck when a sudden impact causes the body to move while the head remains stationary.  It might take a while for symptoms like neck pain, stiffness, and headaches to appear​​.
    • Concussions: Even a minor blow to the head can result in a concussion. Concussions can also be caused by the forces exerted on the head, even without a direct impact. Symptoms can be subtle and may not show up immediately​.
    • Emotional Impact: Don’t overlook the emotional impact of a car accident. It’s not uncommon to experience stress, anxiety, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a car accident.
    • See a Doctor: It’s very important to see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident, even if you feel fine. They can conduct a thorough examination and detect any potentially hidden injuries​.
    • Document Your Injuries: Make sure to document any injuries, symptoms, and medical treatments. This documentation can be crucial if you decide to pursue a legal claim.

    Your health is your most valuable asset. Always seek medical attention after a car accident, no matter how minor it may seem. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

    The Risk of Not Reporting an Accident

    In most states, failing to file a police report after a car accident, even a minor one, is illegal. Leaving the scene of a car accident can make it more difficult to get the facts straight. Therefore, you should think about calling the police before leaving the scene, regardless of whether you think at the time that you may not want to hire a lawyer.

    broken front of the car after a minor auto accident

    Dealing with Insurance Companies

    Insurance companies are businesses and they prioritize their bottom line, not your best interests. If you accept an insurance settlement, the paperwork will likely say that you are giving up your right to any future legal action. It’s therefore important to have a personal injury attorney look at your case before agreeing to any settlement. They can help you get the most compensation possible for your case, ensuring you will not have to come out of pocket for your car and medical bills.

    Seeking Legal Advice

    Don’t let a minor car accident turn into a major legal dispute. Our West Virginia car accident attorneys are here to help you understand your options and protect your rights. We’ll take the time to review your case, explain the potential outcomes, and work tirelessly to secure the best possible result. Contact us today for a consultation and let our team provide the legal assistance you need.

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    About the Editor

    Kevin Kaufman
    Kevin Kaufman

    A 1977 Bridgeport High School graduate, received multiple scholarships including a National Merit Scholarship. He went on to earn a BS in Business Administration, an MBA, and a law degree from West Virginia University.

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    About the Author

    Kevin Kaufman
    Kevin Kaufman

    Kevin S. Kaufman is a 1977 graduate of Bridgeport High School, where he received a National Merit Scholarship, a Consolidated Natural Gas Company full scholarship, and a West Virginia Achievement scholarship. Mr. Kaufman completed his education at West Virginia University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, an MBA, and his law degree.

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