No one starts their day expecting to be in a car accident. And when it happens, you may feel shocked, upset and unsure what to do next. If you believe the accident doesn't seem too serious, you may be wondering if it's worth it to get a lawyer for a minor car accident.
What is a Minor Car Accident?
While there is not a technical definition of a “minor car accident”, there are a few factors to consider when determining the seriousness of the accident.
Amount of Damage
First, depending on the state you live in, the extent of damage caused by the accident determines whether or not you need to report the accident to the police. You may be surprised to learn that the threshold is relatively low. In New Jersey, if a driver is involved in a car accident, he or she is required to report it to law enforcement if the crash involved more than $500 of property damage. Given the costs of auto repairs and body work these days, even a minor fender-bender can have more than $500 worth of property damage.
Type of Damage
Minor damage in a car accident is typical after a fender-bender or crash at very low speeds in which your vehicle is driveable after the incident. Examples of minor damage to a vehicle include broken headlights or tail lights, small dents, cracked windshield and punctured tires. Keep in mind these types of damages may still may cost well over the reporting thresholds required by state law.
Don’t equate the level of damage done to your vehicle with injuries that may occur because of the accident. Even accidents causing a minor amount of damage can cause injury. You should consider any vehicle crash a serious accident if it results in personal injury. Like property damage to your car, it can be difficult to determine the extent of your injuries without a medical evaluation. Common injuries like whiplash and other soft tissue injuries may be slow to present themselves. It’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as you notice the onset of symptoms.
Signs You Need a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident
If you, a passenger, other driver or pedestrian was injured in a vehicle accident, its in your best interest to discuss your case with a car accident lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other financial awards for intangible losses, like pain and suffering. If your injuries are serious, it’s even more critical to ensure you receive the maximum compensation available to cover what could be large expenses and a long period out of work.
Often, insurance companies will attempt to contact an injured victim and try to settle for very little as quickly as they can. It’s critical to give yourself time to fully consider the scope of your injuries and how those injuries not only affect your expenses now but also how those injuries could affect your quality of life later.
Both New Jersey and New York are no-fault insurance states, which means that your own auto insurance will pay for your injuries under Personal Insurance Protection (PIP) insurance, regardless of who was at-fault in the accident. Keep in mind that even though you may be dealing with your own insurance company, it doesn’t mean you will automatically be fairly compensated for your losses. Many New Jersey car accident lawyers, like Brandon J. Broderick, also specialize in PIP arbitration.
Contact the Car Accident Lawyers at Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law
It can be hard to determine if you have a case and what your options are without the help of an attorney. Most car accident lawyers, like the attorney team at Brandon J. Broderick, offer a free consultation.
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in exceptional client care, empathy, and results. That’s what makes us one of the top-rated car accident law firms in the area. With offices in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, we’ve got you covered. We have decades of experience championing for our clients and succeeding, even when other attorneys say there is no case and insurance adjusters deny or devalue your claim. Contact us today for a free consultation.