Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident?
The moments following a car accident can be confusing and stressful, no matter how minor. You may think that since the accident is a simple fender bender, the process of dealing with the aftermath will be straightforward. However, New Jersey’s legal and insurance landscape can quickly become overwhelming. Seemingly minor injuries can also develop into major concerns.
If you or a loved one were in a minor car accident in Freehold, NJ, hiring a car accident lawyer may be more beneficial than you think. An attorney can help victims of even minor car accidents recover compensation.
Evaluating Hidden Injuries After a Car Accident
The term ‘minor’ is often used to describe car accidents that seem trivial. Your mind may jump to fender benders, scratches, or dents. However, even minor accidents can cause injuries to drivers or passengers. It is not uncommon for people in accidents to walk away feeling unscathed, only to wake up the next day with pain.
Whiplash, concussions, and soft tissue injuries are injuries that may not show immediately. Days or even weeks can pass before the full extent of some injuries becomes evident. Without proper medical evaluation and follow-up, what begins as a seemingly superficial injury can quickly evolve into a chronic condition. This can lead to prolonged pain, disability, or other health consequences.
You may settle with your insurance company before understanding the full extent of your injuries, potentially leaving you responsible for future medical expenses. This is where the expertise of a personal injury lawyer becomes invaluable. Following a minor car accident, a lawyer with experience can guide you.
Your lawyer can help you with medical attention and establish documentation for injuries should symptoms arise. Documentation may include medical records, treatments, and diagnoses. This information is vital for substantiating your injuries and claim for medical expenses or lost wages after an accident.
Navigating No-Fault Insurance in Freehold, NJ
New Jersey’s approach to car accidents is based on the ‘no-fault’ insurance system. This system is designed to streamline the process of dealing with most accidents, including minor ones. Under the no-fault system, it is not necessary to determine who is responsible for your accident to get compensation for your injuries.
New Jersey drivers are required to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on their auto policies. This covers medical bills and a portion of lost wages after an accident, regardless of fault. PIP coverage is not without its limitations. There are caps on the amount of benefits you can receive. These limits may not fully cover all your medical expenses or lost earnings. This is especially true if your injuries are more serious than initially thought.
The ‘no-fault’ system has several exceptions. If injuries sustained in the accident are considered serious by legal standards, you may have the right to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver. Determining what constitutes a serious injury can be subject to interpretation. A skilled car accident lawyer can help you determine whether you are limited to PIP or have a path to filing a lawsuit.
Maximizing Your Claim
A common misconception is that hiring a lawyer is an added expense that is unnecessary for minor accidents. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer can increase your total compensation. This compensation can be valuable as it covers not just the immediate costs associated with your accident but also any long-term expenses for unexpected medical treatments.
You may see medical bills and repair estimates after your accident. A personal injury lawyer can help you accurately calculate the damages you are entitled to. These include economic damages or out-of-pocket losses you incurred from the accident.
Even after a minor car accident, you may have expenses related to:
- Medical Bills: A lawyer can help you tally bills from doctors’ visits, medications, or unexpected medical treatments if your minor accident causes hidden injuries.
- Lost Wages: You might miss work after a minor accident. A lawyer can help you recover lost wages related to your accident.
- Property Damage: Vehicle damage is common in minor car accidents. A lawyer can help you navigate the process of securing compensation for repair or replacement costs. You may also be entitled to compensation for other personal property damaged in the accident.
Many victims undervalue these damages after minor car accidents. This can lead to accepting compensation that does not adequately compensate you for your losses. Car accident lawyers play an important role in ensuring you get every penny you are entitled to.
No Upfront Legal Costs
Many personal injury lawyers represent car accident victims on a contingency fee basis. This is an important arrangement for victims with many benefits. Under the contingency fee model, car accident lawyers get paid a fixed percentage of what they win or settle your case. If you do not receive compensation, your lawyer does not get a fee.
This allows anyone, regardless of financial status, to consult with car accident lawyers after an accident. You do not have to worry about additional costs. Your car accident lawyer can discuss the specifics of contingency fee representation during a free consultation.
Consult a Car Accident Lawyer in Freehold, NJ
According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation, 276,861 accidents occurred in 2022. Even in minor accidents, navigating insurance claims and unexpected damages often prove challenging to do alone. Consulting a car accident lawyer in Freehold, NJ, ensures that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.