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Being involved in a car accident (no matter how minor) can be a harrowing experience. It can be difficult to stay calm and get all the information you need from the other driver. Although you may feel fine and your car may operate normally in the immediate aftermath, injuries and mechanical problems can creep up days or even weeks later, which is why after an incident it’s important to ask yourself: Should I get a lawyer for a minor car accident?
The answer will depend on the particulars of each case, but certain circumstances surrounding the collision can greatly complicate matters. Some such factors include:
- Whether or not the other driver is insured;
- How truthful the other driver is in their dealings and filings (i.e., police reports and communications with insurance); and
- what you or the other driver were doing when the collision occurred.
While some may choose to navigate the insurance process on their own after sustaining minor car accident injuries, it’s important to weigh the benefits of choosing a lawyer vs. insurance company. Remember that you can still hire a lawyer for your case even if you’ve already started dealing with an insurance company. In general, hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer is the best way to pursue a comprehensive settlement for a minor car accident.
Pursuing a Minor Car Accident Lawsuit for Non-Economic Damages in California
In California, you can claim both economic and non-economic damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Economic damages are tangible losses suffered as the result of an accident that can be backed up through documentation (such as medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and work needed to make your home or vehicle more accessible).
Non-economic damages, however, are damages that can’t be quantified on paper. These include emotional pain (including the development of mental health issues), chronic physical pain, disfigurement, disability, or a diminished quality of life.
The State of California has no set standard to determine non-economic damages; they are calculated on a case-by-case basis. A lawyer may be able to help come up with a realistic figure to include when filing a minor car accident lawsuit, and can help prove that the damages were directly caused by the at-fault party in a car collision.
There are some limitations to non-economic damage claims in California:
- Uninsured drivers who suffer injuries in a collision for which they are not at fault cannot claim non-economic damages.
- However, if the at-fault driver in the collision was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time, then the uninsured driver can claim non-economic damages.
- If the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of a collision and is convicted of such, they cannot claim non-economic damages, even if the other driver was at fault.
- Similarly, if the driver is committing a felony crime (or fleeing the scene of a felony crime) and is convicted of that crime, they cannot claim non-economic damages, even if the collision was not their fault.
A lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal situations that arise even in a minor collision, and can help you understand what you can and cannot claim. Some injury lawyers will gladly give a few minutes of their time for free to listen to a potential client and assess their situation, including Avrek Law, where a free minor car accident lawsuit consultation is just a click away.
Can a minor car accident cause injury?
The decision to hire a minor car accident attorney may have less to do with the collision itself, and more to do with the injuries sustained. Even a minor car accident can cause permanent, life-changing injuries that may only be felt well after the adrenaline of the collision has worn off. Remember that in California you have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit if you were not at fault.
Neck pain after a minor car accident may be caused by whiplash, which is: “a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” The onset of whiplash symptoms may be delayed for up to 24 hours after the collision, and can last months if not treated properly.
Delayed whiplash symptoms may include:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck, upper back, shoulders, and lower back
- Numbness and/or weakness in limbs
- Jaw pain
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Sleeping problems
- Memory or concentration problems
Can a car accident cause sciatica pain?
Another common injury stemming from car accidents is sciatica. This is pain resulting from an injury or irritation to the sciatic nerve, which runs from the pelvic area to the foot on each side of the body. Sciatica pain is often described as a burning sensation that radiates from the lower back all the way to the foot, possibly accompanied by numbness in the back of the leg. It can be caused by herniated discs, bone spurs on the spine, narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis), or traumatic injury — all of which could result from a minor car accident and could take time to develop. Read more about sciatica pain from car accident injuries understand why it’s important to consider hiring a lawyer if you think you may have been affected after a crash.
Even if you think your minor car accident injuries are not serious, you should be assessed by a doctor and keep track of your medical records. With this information, your lawyer can better help you determine what legal action to take going forward.
Should I get a lawyer for a minor car accident?
If you’re interested in pursuing a minor car accident lawsuit but still aren’t sure if it’s the right path for your case, our attorneys are more than happy to discuss your legal options. The consultation is free, and you’ll receive expert advice from a law firm with $1 Billion recovered in over 25,000 cases. As a “no win, no fee” law firm, you only pay our fee if we successfully resolve your case. Contact us today – our team is here to help!