A Minor Car Accident May Cause Serious Injury

February 20, 2024 | By Hancock Injury Attorney
A Minor Car Accident May Cause Serious Injury

When we think of the word “minor,” we might mistake it for “harmless.” In truth, minor car accidents can be severely harmful, causing severe injuries and affecting the victim’s life for the foreseeable future.

Whiplash is one of several injuries that may not be immediately obvious after a car accident. If you discover that you have suffered injuries, consider hiring a car accident attorney to seek fair compensation for medical bills and other damages.

Never Assume You’re Fully Healthy After a Car Accident

Minor Car Accidents Can Cause Injuries

There are several mistakes to avoid making after a car accident, which include:

  • Telling insurance companies, law enforcement officials, or anyone else that you are not injured
  • Refusing medical attention 
  • Waiting too long to hire a car accident attorney

You should assume you have suffered injuries until a medical professional proves otherwise. Once you seek medical attention, you may find that you have one or more injuries that can cause many damages.

Injuries That Can Result from Even Minor Car Accidents

Whiplash is one of the more common injuries that result from car accidents and is especially common in rear-end collisions. Many other injuries can result from even low-speed collisions, including:

  • Slipped discs and other spinal cord injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Internal injuries affecting vital organs
  • Broken bones
  • Severe cuts and bruises
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)

This is only a brief list of the types of injuries that car accident victims suffer. Much can go wrong when your body endures an auto accident, so it’s pivotal that you allow a medical professional to evaluate you for injuries.

Protect Your Health (and Your Case) After Any Car Accident

You can protect your health and your compensation case right now by:

  • Getting a complete medical evaluation: Only a medical professional can properly diagnose or rule out injuries from a car accident. You can go to your own doctor, emergency rooms, walk-in clinics, or other qualified medical providers for a thorough exam. 
  • Following the doctor’s orders: You should not view a doctor’s treatment plan as optional but as gospel. Following your physician’s orders will protect your health and also benefit any case you choose to pursue. 
  • Documenting your symptoms: You may keep a journal detailing the physical, psychological, and emotional toll of your car accident. Take note of how your symptoms interfere with your daily routine and quality of life. 
  • Avoid making statements that can harm your case: Be immensely cautious when dealing with insurance companies or those involved in your accident. Anything you say may be used against you during the claims process or a later lawsuit. Avoid speaking with insurers until you have retained a car accident lawyer.
  • Retaining a car accident attorney: You can hire a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney will protect you from insurers and present clear instructions for proceeding after your accident.

These are all time-sensitive priorities. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. The next priority should be to hire a lawyer, as they will want to secure evidence straightaway.

Why Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer If I Think My Collision Was Minor?

Why Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer If I Think My Collision Was Minor

There are several compelling reasons to lean on a car accident lawyer after your case, as a lawyer’s services will:

  • Provide peace of mind about the claims process: Car accident victims are often under stress because they were in a traumatic scenario. Doctors appointments, disruptions in your work, and pain can worsen stress. Allowing a lawyer to handle your case protects you from any additional stress from your claim.
  • Relieve the financial stress of your case: Law firms don’t just take the demands of your case off your hands. They also take the financial burden off your shoulders. Your law firm will pay filing costs, expert fees, and any other expenses related to a claim or lawsuit
  • Give you access to a law firm’s resources: A law firm may have experts it regularly uses for car accident cases. The firm may also have mock courtrooms, mental health services, and other beneficial resources for you and your case. 
  • Enable you to prioritize your health: Without the obligation of handling your claim, you can focus on rest and recovery. You and your lawyer will partner up, with you holding up your end of the deal by following your doctor’s treatment plan.

Hire a lawyer as soon as possible.

Your Attorney Will Begin Building Your Case Immediately

A car accident lawyer will waste no time in building your case. They will develop a personalized case plan and handle every step of the process, including:

Ensure You Receive the Treatment You Need

Lawyers frequently work with doctors and mental health professionals. You may need formal documentation of injuries, diagnoses for mental health struggles, and other services. Your attorney will ensure you have the resources you need.

Gathering Evidence

Your lawyer will obtain any evidence relevant to your case, which can include:

The police report detailing the collision (and possibly including the accident’s cause)

  • Eyewitness accounts of the accident or of events that led to the accident
  • Video of the collision
  • Photographs of damaged vehicles
  • Expert testimony about the cause of the accident
  • Experts’ digital or physical reconstructions of the collision

Your lawyer may also use your own account of the collision, though it will be one of many types of evidence supporting your case.

Documenting Damages

The cost of car accidents can vary greatly, and even minor collisions can cause expensive damages. Your attorney will work to prove each of your damages with the following:

  • Medical records
  • Work-related records (to prove lost income)
  • Invoices for vehicle repairs
  • Bills for temporary transportation
  • Bills for mental health treatment
  • Images of your injuries

Your damages are unique to you, so your attorney will need to complete a detailed investigation. Car accident lawyers evaluate damages as compassionately as possible, knowing your unsettling experience.

Calculating a Settlement Target

Your case has a precise value. Before negotiating with insurers, your attorney will determine the precise value.

You may have fairly obvious financial losses (like medical bills) and other damages (like pain and suffering) without an obvious financial value. Your attorney will consider both types of damages when valuing your case.

Negotiating with Insurers

Your attorney will eventually meet with insurance representatives (either in-person, remotely, or by phone) to negotiate a settlement. This process will involve:

  • Explaining the injuries you suffered during the car accident
  • Presenting any necessary documentation of injuries
  • Presenting settlement demands
  • Going back-and-forth with the insurance representatives in pursuit of a fair settlement offer

Favorable settlements often require significant legwork, and your lawyer will negotiate tenaciously on your behalf.

Filing a Lawsuit (if Necessary)

Car accident attorneys usually seek a settlement first. They will do everything they can to entice a fair settlement from insurers, but there’s no guarantee that liable parties will pay you fairly.

If your lawyer needs to proceed with a lawsuit, they will get your feedback and move forward as necessary.

Proceeding to Trial (if Necessary)

Once your attorney files a lawsuit, they can still negotiate a settlement with liable parties. If no financial agreement comes to pass, your attorney can argue your case to a jury.

Minor Accidents Can Cause Major Damages

Minor Accidents Can Cause Major Damages

If you or a loved one suffered injuries during a car accident, your recoverable damages may include:

  • Medical costs: Car accident victims often need ambulance transport, emergency treatment, diagnostic procedures, specialist appointments, and many other medical services. Medical care is expensive by nature, and your lawyer will work to have liable parties cover your medical bills.
  • Lost income: Injuries can lead to income losses. In addition to your base pay, you may also lose opportunities for bonuses and promotions. Your lawyer will review your past earnings when calculating the cost of such damages. 
  • Diminished earning power: Some car accident victims return to work shortly or long after the wreck. However, long-term injuries may cause the employee to reduce their hours, alter their role, or make other changes that decrease their earning power.
  • Pain and suffering: Your attorney will account for the non-economic toll of your accident, including pain and suffering. This class of damages can include emotional anguish, psychological distress, lost quality of life, physical pain, and other non-economic hardships. 
  • Mental health treatment: Car accident victims who need mental healthcare should not have to pay for treatment out of their pocket. Your lawyer will demand that liable parties cover any mental health services you require.
  • Vehicle repairs: Your lawyer will consult automotive professionals and evaluate vehicle repairs. 
  • Purchase of a new vehicle: If your car was totaled (rare for a minor accident, but possible), your lawyer will identify the vehicle’s replacement value. 

If any personal property (like your phone or laptop) became damaged during the car accident, your attorney will calculate replacement costs. Lawyers and their teams overlook nothing when evaluating the total amount of damages of your collision.

Car accidents that seem minor can cause life-threatening injuries. There are many cases where internal bleeding and other insidious injuries claim an accident victim’s life.

If you are grappling with the unexpected loss of a loved one, you must also consider the time-sensitive nature of wrongful death lawsuits. Hire a fatal car accident lawyer to seek compensation for:

  • The decedent’s pain and suffering
  • Your pain and suffering
  • Funeral costs
  • Burial or cremation costs
  • Loss of the decedent’s household services
  • Loss of the decedent’s financial support
  • Any other damages you have suffered

A wrongful death lawsuit should not occupy anyone’s time or attention during the mourning process. An attorney can take this important obligation off your hands.

When Is the Appropriate Time to Hire a Car Accident Attorney?

Right now is the right time to hire a car accident lawyer. In fact, those who wait long to hire a car accident lawyer may:

  • Prevent their attorney from securing evidence that might have helped their case
  • Cause the filing deadline for a lawsuit to expire
  • Give insurers more leverage in settlement negotiations if the lawsuit filing deadline is no longer active
  • Harm themselves financially because they failed to hire a lawyer promptly

Uncertainty and confusion are common after car accidents. This is all the more reason to hire an attorney as soon as possible. Rather than letting your claim or lawsuit fall by the wayside, entrust it to a lawyer who will fight for all the compensation you deserve.

Attributes to Seek in Your Car Accident Attorney 

The ideal law firm for your case may:

  • Have endorsements from former clients who speak highly of their work ethic and case results
  • Have a long record of leading car accident cases
  • Make you feel comfortable, respected, and reassured during your consultation

Finding a lawyer is not a science. You should consider all available information about prospective law firms but also give credence to the fit you feel (or don’t feel) when speaking directly with the firm’s representatives.

Hire Your Car Accident Attorney as Soon as Possible

Mike Hankcock, Car Accident Lawyer
Tampa Car Accident Attorney, Mike Hancock

If your attorney eventually needs to file a lawsuit, they will have a deadline to beat. Your lawyer will also want to begin securing evidence as quickly as possible. These are good reasons to find and hire your car accident lawyer immediately after you receive an injury diagnosis.

If seeking legal representation seems daunting, it shouldn’t be. In reality, having someone working on your claim frees up your time and alleviates stress. You can focus on your injury recovery while your personal injury law firm in Tampa handles everything else.