Minor Car Accident Lawyer in Wheeling, WV
Many people assume minor car accidents always have minor consequences. Instead of exchanging insurance information with the other motorist, they might leave the scene and go about their day, assuming they are unhurt. Unfortunately, some injuries aren’t apparent until hours or days later. Many accident victims lose precious time by not seeking a doctor’s evaluation immediately after a seemingly minor crash.
At Jividen Law Offices, PLLC, our dedicated legal team has more than 50 years of combined legal experience handling car accident cases. We firmly believe that you should not have to pay medical bills for injuries caused by a negligent driver. Let us help you seek a full financial recovery. Call or contact us online for a free case review with a car accident lawyer.
What Qualifies as a Minor Car Accident?
A minor crash is one that causes little property damage or injuries. Often, the injuries are confined to bumps and scrapes. These accidents are often called fender benders. You may be able to settle a fender bender claim for repairs to your automobile without the help of a lawyer.
That said, some accidents that seem minor can have more serious consequences than were apparent at first. It’s a good idea to have an attorney review the facts of the accident and provide guidance. The initial consultation is free.
Difference Between a Minor and a Serious Car Accident
The primary difference between a minor and a serious car crash is the type of injuries. Minor collisions often occur at low speeds. The impact causes minimal damage to one or both cars. Injuries might include some minor muscle aches, sprains, or pulled tendons. However, symptoms subside within a few days or weeks.
A serious accident can lead to severe injuries and destructive property damage. The occupants of each car might need immediate medical attention. Treatment is necessary to address broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, or internal bleeding. Sometimes, long-term medical problems or physical disabilities can result. The vehicles may require significant repairs or replacement.
A knowledgeable Wheeling personal injury attorney can help you evaluate the scope of your losses and whether you have a valid personal injury claim against another driver.
Examples of Minor Car Accidents
A minor car accident often involves minimal damage. The impact of a minor accident doesn’t cause significant injuries or prevent the vehicle from functioning. Common examples of minor collisions include:
- Fender benders
- Parking lot collisions
- Low-speed accidents
- Back-out crashes
- Rolling-stop accidents
Common Minor Car Accident Injuries
Injuries in minor collisions sometimes cause symptoms that don’t appear until days or even weeks later. Going to the hospital or a doctor may not seem necessary. However, many injuries aren’t visible and can cause complications if not treated promptly.
Common types of injuries in minor car crashes include:
- Soft tissue injuries– A sudden and forceful impact can jolt the body forward and backward. It can overextend tendons, muscles, and ligaments in the neck and back, causing a whiplash injury. Headaches, pain, and neck stiffness are common symptoms.
- Head injuries– A concussion results from a blow or bump to the head. Some people don’t realize they hit their heads on the steering wheel during an accident. Some head injuries that don’t have outward symptoms can involve internal bleeding and prove fatal if left untreated. That is why going to the hospital for a medical evaluation is essential even after a minor accident.
- Lower body injuries– A collision resulting in minimal damage to a vehicle can cause severe injuries to a person’s lower body. A fractured pelvis, meniscus tear in the knee, or torn cartilage can lead to ongoing pain and mobility issues.
- Back and chest injuries– Wearing a seatbelt prevents occupants from being ejected from their car. However, it can also cause chest and back injuries. The seatbelt restrains a person, pushing against their chest as the momentum carries them forward. It can cause a cracked rib, punctured lung, or soft tissue injuries.
- Facial lacerations and other injuries– An airbag cushions a person’s body and softens the blow of an impact during a collision. To do so, the airbag must deploy quickly and violently toward the face and body, potentially causing facial lacerations, a broken nose, or a concussion.
- Arm injuries– The sudden change in direction and momentum can cause an occupant’s arm to bang against something in the car, leading to injuries like fractured elbows, wrists, and hands.
Cars are designed to withstand the forces placed on them during collisions. However, the body isn’t. Regardless of how minor a crash might seem, it can result in injuries you might not initially realize. That’s why paying attention to the symptoms you experience is crucial, as is seeking prompt medical attention.
Watch Out for Hidden Injuries
Injuries that aren’t visible to the naked eye often go unnoticed. A minor collision can cause you to suffer internal injuries that go untreated because you go home to rest instead of visiting your doctor.
Hidden injuries can include soft tissue injuries, back or neck injuries, and brain injuries. Any of these can cause chronic pain, loss of mobility, and other serious medical problems if you don’t seek prompt treatment.
Going to a doctor promptly allows you to receive a diagnosis, start treating your injuries, and connect the injuries to the car accident.
What To Do After a Minor Car Accident
Knowing how to handle a minor car accident can improve your chances of recovering compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Your first instinct might be to drive away without exchanging information with the other motorist. However, if they are at fault for the crash, they should be financially liable for your injuries and property damage, no matter how minimal.
You should obtain the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information. West Virginia Code § 17C-4-6 requires you to notify law enforcement of a car accident if it causes injury, death, or at least $1,000 in property damage. Reporting any accident to the police is a good idea. The police can complete an accident report that will help you prove what happened if you need to file an insurance claim.
Go to the hospital once you leave the accident scene if you are not transported by ambulance. You should let a doctor examine you even if you feel fine. Some injuries cause immediate symptoms. Others take some time before causing physical problems. A physician can determine the nature of your injury and whether follow-up care is necessary.
If the initial medical provider recommends ongoing treatment, listen to their orders. You should attend every appointment your doctor advises. Medical evidence is valuable in car accident cases. If you can prove you were injured and required medical treatment, you will have a stronger claim to present to the insurance company and a better chance of recovering compensation.
Maintain all documents related to the collision as your case progresses. Besides medical records, you’ll need other evidence to establish liability and show the expenses you incurred due to your injury. You should keep a copy of any repair estimates for the damage to your car. The at-fault driver’s insurance should compensate you for the repairs even if the cost is minimal.
Talk to a minor car accident lawyer with Jividen Law Offices, PLLC. You should contact us immediately after you visit the hospital or see your doctor. When you’re in pain and trying to recover, the last thing you should have to deal with is an insurance claim or lawsuit. We can handle the process for you so you can focus on treating your injuries and getting your life back on track.
Types of Compensation in Minor Car Accidents
You are entitled to compensation if someone else is at fault for your injury. Minor car accidents resulting in injuries and vehicle damage can lead to significant expenses that should not be your responsibility to pay.
The compensation you receive from an insurance claim or lawsuit can cover your:
- Emergency room visits, doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, and other medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Cost of car repairs
- Incidental out-of-pocket costs
Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?
You might think you can file an insurance claim and receive an adequate settlement without hiring an attorney. However, the insurance company isn’t on your side. Insurance companies want to avoid significant payouts. They don’t want to accept liability for their policyholders. If they can find a reason to deny your claim, they will.
Speaking with a minor car crash lawyer after a car accident, even a seemingly minor accident, can help you understand your legal rights and what to expect. An attorney with Jividen Law Offices, PLLC, can be there to protect your rights and fight for the maximum possible compensation. Insurance companies know they have to take our clients seriously because of our track record of success at the negotiating table and in the courtroom. Our award-winning lawyers have a reputation for getting our clients the money they need to rebuild their lives.
If you were injured in a minor car accident in Wheeling, WV, and someone else is to blame, contact Jividen Law Offices, PLLC, for a free case review today. Let us help you hold the negligent driver accountable for their actions and demand the justice you deserve.