After a car crash that another driver caused, you may feel fine, so you may be wondering, do I need a lawyer for a minor car accident? If the facts surrounding the cause of the traffic accident are clear, and if you did not end up with significant medical bills or missed time at work, you have a decent chance of being able to handle any negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company on your own.
However, it is common in a car accident to feel fine in the immediate aftermath of the crash, only to have significant pain and limitations in movement the next morning. You should always see a doctor if you have any questions about your health after a car crash, as this is the only way to truly know if you have an injury.
If the doctor gives you a clean bill of health, attributing your pain to normal bumps that can occur after even a minor car collision, you probably do not need to hire an attorney. But if the doctor tells you that you should do some physical therapy, see a specialist, or take some time off work to deal with injuries, you may need an attorney to help you pursue damages that reflect your level of pain and suffering.
Determining the Level of Damages in Minor Accidents
When you have a car accident in which you are not at fault, the insurance company representing the other driver will be liable for compensating you for pain, suffering, lost wages as you recovered, and medical bills.
You may not have any of these items, which means you would have no reason to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. Additionally, personal injury lawyers typically do not become involved in negotiations where you are only trying to receive compensation for the physical damage to your vehicle.
Negotiating with the Insurer
If you have any medical bills or missed any time at work, the insurance company may contact you and offer you a settlement amount.
You do not have to accept this settlement. You can choose to attempt to negotiate a better settlement amount with the insurer. A personal injury lawyer can help you with these negotiations if you choose to retain one, but if the amounts being discussed are small, you may be able to do the negotiations on your own. If you are uncertain, you can contact an attorney to see if he or she is interested in taking your case.
For a free legal consultation, call (972) 535-6377
Establishing Fault in Your Traffic Accident
If the insurance company for the other driver is claiming that its client was only partially at fault for the crash, and that you bear some responsibility, the insurer may reduce its settlement offer based on this information.
In a situation like this, you have the right to continue negotiating on your own, seeking to show that you did not do anything wrong. If this is not going well, this is an area where a personal injury attorney can help, using the facts in the case to show that the other driver should be fully at fault for the motor vehicle accident, increasing your settlement amount.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations in Car Crashes
As you are trying to decide whether you should consult with or hire a lawyer to help you with a personal injury lawsuit after a car wreck that was not your fault, you should be aware of the statutes of limitations for cases like this.
A statute of limitations simply refers to deadlines you need to follow with regard to filing a lawsuit. These include:
- Texas: where Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 says that plaintiffs must begin the personal injury lawsuit proceedings within two years of the accident.
- West Virginia: where WV Code § 55-2-12 specifies that victims have up to two years from the time of the accident to start the proceedings.
Learn How Our Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You During a Free Consultation Today
So after an accident in which you were not at fault, you may be wondering, do I need a lawyer for a minor car accident? Some of the time, in a minor accident, you can handle the negotiations with the insurer on your own, as the amounts of compensation involved will be limited.
However, if the amount of compensation you deserve to receive is a larger amount because you missed work and have extensive medical bills, you can be sure that the other driver’s insurance company will have lawyers working on its behalf. You may be at a disadvantage in negotiations if you do not have an attorney representing your best interests.
If you are unsure whether you need a lawyer after the car accident, contact Underwood Law Office. We offer a free consultation, where we will review the facts in your case and provide advice about the best path to take going forward. For your free consultation, contact us at (972) 535-6377 today.
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