Auto Accident Settlement
Is It Worth Getting a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?
If you’ve been involved in a minor car accident, you may be wondering if you need to have an attorney get involved. After all, maybe it was just a minor collision or a little fender-bender. And it’s true: some car accidents will be easily solvable without the help of an attorney, although others may need the expertise and insight of an experienced Florida car accident attorney, even if the need is not immediately apparent. Being represented by a lawyer can ensure that insurers fully respect your rights so that you can seek a fair settlement for your accident.
Here are some situations in which your minor car accident may require an attorney to make sure that your best interests are represented in the claims process:
Were You Injured?
Even car accidents that are not categorized as “serious” can leave you with significant injuries and long-term effects.
Immediately following your minor accident, you may not feel any aches or pains due to the adrenaline released from the accident. However, many people can and do sustain significant injuries from these accidents. An accident attorney can help you determine a fair settlement amount to recover your medical expenses and other damages, and they will fight to give you the best chance of receiving these damages in full.
Here are some common injuries that occur as a result of car accidents:
- Concussion or other head injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Facial injuries
- Neck and/or back strain
- Dental injuries
Unfortunately, many of these injuries may seem mild immediately after the accident but can quickly worsen over time. The soft tissue in your neck and back can be especially susceptible to injuries, with worsening nerve and muscle symptoms developing days after the accident.
Latent soft tissue injuries are especially common during car accidents, given the violent back and forth motion many people experience during a collision. This sudden motion can compromise your nervous system, connective tissue, or even your spinal health, which can cause serious health issues down the line.
If your accident caused you to hit your head, either on your window or the steering wheel, you might suffer from a mild TBI: traumatic brain injury. These injuries can cause significant long-term impacts, especially when left undiagnosed and untreated.
If you believe that you have been injured at all, or if your accident had any significant impact force, it is important to seek the care of a medical provider as soon as possible. This diligence gives you the best chance to minimize long-term health impacts while also working to document your injury claim.
Is There a Dispute Over Fault?
Another time it may be in your best interest to hire a personal injury attorney is if there is a dispute over who caused the accident. In some scenarios, it may be obvious (such as if you were stopped at a red light and were rear-ended), but both sides often argue that the other party caused the accident or is at least more at fault for it.
Florida is a comparative negligence state, meaning that if you are partly at fault for the accident, the percentage of the compensation you’re eligible to receive is reduced based on how at fault you are. For example, if you have a serious injury and pursue a liability claim against a driver for $100,000 in medical bills and other damages, but you are found to be 20% at fault for an accident, then the maximum damages you can reclaim are $80,000.
Unlike many other states, Florida allows you to still recover money for your damages even if you are 50% or more at fault. In fact, you can be up to 99% at fault and still recover 1% of your total damages from other parties. However, you will be left paying for the remaining costs on your own, which can have a devastating financial impact. This risk is why it’s so important to thoroughly investigate an accident, research applicable laws and prior cases, and fight to establish liability on the part of other parties.
Proving liability after a car accident can be difficult, and this is one area where an experienced lawyer can help. An accident attorney has the experience and resources to investigate and seek to establish fault in your accident claim, using the types of evidence and legal arguments most likely to compel insurers.
Is an Insurer Refusing to Pay a Fair Claim?
The insurance company you use may be reluctant to pay a fair claim for your injuries. After all, as a for-profit company, it is in their best interest to pay you as little as possible for your injuries. Because of their profit-driven nature, insurers are likely to give you a “low-ball” settlement offer, or they may even deny the accident caused the injury or that their policyholder is at fault.
It is extremely difficult to take on the insurance company and win by yourself. However, an experienced lawyer from Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd and Lloyd can stand up to the insurance companies and fight on your behalf to give you the best chance at recovering the compensation you need to move forward from your accident.
Do You Feel Confident Handling the Claims Process on Your Own?
In addition to undervaluing claims, insurers also understand that making the claims process complicated or cumbersome can reduce the number of claims they process. Even with the best intentions, insurers can cause claims to drag on, and they may frequently make new demands. They may continually ask you to submit new paperwork, for example, as well as record statements, or even ask you to sign a blank medical waiver — whatever they can do to wear you down and limit your ability to recover compensation.
This is another situation where having a personal injury lawyer in your corner, fighting for you, could be very beneficial. You can leave most of the tasks of dealing with the insurance company to your lawyers while you spend your time and energy recovering from your accident.
Do You Have to Go to Court?
If you can’t reach a satisfactory settlement amount with the insurance company, or if you are being sued by another third-party, you may have to go to court to resolve your injury claim. Even though no one wants to bring an injury claim from a minor accident before a judge or jury, it may be necessary to reach a fair resolution and seek the damages you need.
While taking an insurance company to court isn’t fun, it is often an effective way to force their hand to possibly offer a bigger settlement amount — one more in line with the actual consequences of your injuries. Settlement can occur any time, causing the lawsuit to be retracted and the case to be resolved out-of-court.
However, to give yourself the best chance to receive the compensation you need to heal, hiring an experienced car accident attorney is the right move. They can help you through the lawsuit process, including preparing your case for a jury trial if that’s what is needed to bring about a satisfactory resolution to your injury claim.
Contact Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd When You Have Been Hurt
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, either major or minor, that resulted in a significant injury, contact the law offices of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd. With over 30 years of experience in serving the residents of the Treasure Coast, one of our knowledgeable attorneys will be by your side every step of the way in your personal injury case.
Call us today to set up your free, no-obligation case review. One of our experienced attorneys will listen to the specifics of your case and offer you personalized advice about how to best proceed to maximize the amount of compensation you can receive. Let us take care of you while you’re busy taking care of yourself. Call us at (866) 930-6435 or reach out to us online to get started.
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