Do I Need a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?

5-7 minute read | Published: March 28, 2024 | Updated: April 20, 2024

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Fender Bender

According to Statista, there were 286 million vehicles on the roads in the first quarter of 2023 alone. That’s an average of 3 million vehicles everyday. With such a huge number of motorists, car accidents are bound to happen.

Fortunately, most car accidents are minor.

Minor car accidents typically arise from distractions (texting, adjusting the stereo, etc.) or fatigue (sleepy). The vehicle is driven at low speed so the collision is minor.

  • Low impact
  • Minor damage to your car
  • Typically occur at low speeds
  • Minor or no injuries

With major accidents, the impacts are at higher speeds, causing substantial damage to the vehicle/s involved and often resulting in severe injuries or even death.

  • Hard impact
  • Significant damage to your car, sometimes with multiple impacts
  • Moderate to high speeds
  • Major, sometimes life-threatening, injuries or fatalities

Should You Hire a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?

It’s a question people who have figured in a minor car accident ask. Do you really need a lawyer for a minor car accident?

While you’re not required to hire legal representation, there are clear advantages to doing so.

With minor car accidents, you have the option to handle matters yourself – filing insurance claims and representing yourself in court if necessary. This approach is known as pro se representation (Latin for “self” or “in one’s own behalf”).

While representing yourself can save you money on legal fees it also means taking on the responsibilities of investigating the accident, gathering evidence, and negotiating with insurers.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to negotiate with insurers?

Well, let’s just say it’s anything BUT easy.

Getting the help of a lawyer can offer several benefits. First of all, they can thoroughly investigate the details of the crash, interview any witnesses, and gather expert testimony. All these will help strengthen your case.

Plus, they’ll handle the complexities of assigning liability who is at fault, estimating your accident-related expenses and negotiating a fair settlement.

Keep in mind that even with a minor car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your vehicle repair costs, medical bills and lost income, among others.

Insurance companies are businesses and have their own interests to protect. They will always find ways to minimize their financial liabilities.  

They often downplay the value of your claim, seeking ways to diminish their responsibility or even outright reject it. But you can avoid all these when you have a lawyer to help you out.

Many personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if they successfully recover compensation on your behalf. Usually lawyers take 33%, but it can be less especially for minor car accidents.

What to Do Immediately After a Minor Car Accident

After a minor car accident, follow these steps to protect yourself and your rights:

1. Check yourself and your passengers.

Pull over to a safe spot and check for injuries. If everyone is okay, exchange information with the other driver, including names, numbers, and insurance details. Don’t forget to take plenty of photos of the damage.

2. Contact the authorities.

Consider calling the police to the scene or reach out to them afterward so you have an official record of the accident, which can be crucial when filing an insurance claim.

3. Call your insurance provider.

You need to report the incident to your insurance provider so they will also have a record of what happened, which may come handy later on when you file an insurance claim.

Be Wary of Quick Settlements

Speaking of insurance providers, these companies may offer speedy settlements, but don’t be in a hurry to accept it. As mentioned earlier, insurers prioritize profits, not your best interests.


Minor Accidents Could Result in Injuries

Even minor accidents can lead to significant expenses. Damages like a dented bumper or electrical wiring issues can rack up repair bills and you could end up spending over a thousand dollars in repairs.  In some cases, the other driver might even try to shift blame onto you, which will make insurance claims even more difficult for you. But that’s not the only thing you should worry about. Minor car accidents might also lead to injuries that don’t show up immediately.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Abrupt braking during an accident can cause the neck and muscles to jerk, resulting in soft tissue injuries like whiplash. Symptoms include neck and shoulder pain, dizziness, and headaches, and these might not surface until a few days after the incident.

Head Injuries

Symptoms, such as headache, nausea, and balance issues, could arise hours or days later. Concussion treatment can involve costly hospital stays, imaging tests, and rehabilitation services.

Hidden Injuries

Even if you didn’t feel much pain initially, you need to seek medical attention after getting into an accident. Your healthcare provider can diagnose hidden injuries like herniated discs or spinal injuries, which may not present symptoms right away.

How a Lawyer Can Help You

Having a lawyer on your side can make a world of difference. Even if it’s just a fender bender and believe your case is straightforward, there might be things that only a seasoned legal expert can uncover.

Your attorney can leverage your medical records and bills to demonstrate the severity of your injuries and the treatment required. This evidence strengthens your claim, ensuring you receive the full benefits outlined in your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy.

Maximizing Your Compensation

A car accident attorney possesses the expertise to assess the full extent of your losses, including intangible damages like emotional distress and future expenses resulting from the accident.

But that’s not all.

They can also build your case by gathering important evidence such as police report, witness statements, photographs, medical records, surveillance video, vehicle damage reports and so on.

A seasoned car accident lawyer will make sure your case is strong enough to warrant a fair settlement. But should negotiations with the insurance company fail, then your lawyer can take your case to trial.

Hiring a lawyer after a minor crash may seem like an unnecessary expense, but it’s actually a way to protect your rights. Your lawyer will make sure you don’t settle for less than you deserve.

Category: Your Legal Rights