Even a seemingly minor car accident can make you may feel like you dodged a bullet. But did you?
Even minor car accidents like a fender bender can cause you to experience injuries and pain following the accident. Regardless of how you feel in the moment after a fender bender, it is best to treat that accident like a significant crash and seek medical attention. It can help you in the long run should you need to seek compensation for your injuries.
Never assume that any car crash is too minor to suffer injuries or seek compensation for your losses. Consultations with car accident lawyers are free, and an attorney can advise you what your rights might be following a fender bender. Some people with seemingly minor injuries can recover compensation from liable parties for their medical bills and other losses.
“Minor” car accidents
A minor car accident is an accident that usually does not affect a car’s ability to operate, even if the car has suffered slight physical damage. Some minor car accidents include fender benders, small dents in vehicles, and damaged headlights.
A fender bender is a collision that generally happens at a slower speed. This type of minor accident can happen in heavy traffic when drivers are not paying attention. You might need a new fender, but the rest of the vehicle might appear fine. This does not mean that you are fine and injury-free, however.
Minor dents in the car
This damage can happen even when another car slightly scrapes against the other car. Because some drivers view this damage as a nuisance, they often decide not to pursue compensation for car repairs. However, even the slightest collision can cause injuries, for which you might need compensation.
Causes of minor car accidents
Both major and minor car accidents have one thing in common: they usually result from driver negligence. Drivers have a duty to other drivers and pedestrians to follow the rules of the road and drive defensively. A major or minor car accident will likely occur when drivers fail to do so.
Many causes of car accidents—distracted driving, aggressive driving, and driving under the influence—are all examples of driver negligence. A sideswipe accident or a fender bender often happens when a driver fails to pay attention or drives aggressively.
Fender bender injuries
Another similarity between major and minor accidents is the type of injuries that can result from both accidents. If you were in a fender bender, you are at risk of many injuries.
Some common ones include:
- Sprains, strains, or soft tissue tears
- Neck and back injuries
- Joint dislocations
While your fender bender might seem minor, it does not mean your injuries will be. In addition to immediate injuries, you can experience chronic back and neck pain for years after your accident. The pain can become so severe that it affects every aspect of your living, from your ability to work to your ability to spend time with your family and friends.
In addition to the physical trauma, you are still capable of experiencing severe emotional distress after a fender bender. You can suffer from mental disorders like anxiety and depression after your accident. The pain and suffering from these crashes can be much more severe than the crash itself.
More severe car accidents
Car accidents happen every day, and they vary in severity. Some people drive away with a minor disruption in their day, while others feel the consequences of the crash for years to come.
When we think of severe car accidents, we often think of the following types: head-on collisions, rear-end crashes, sideswipe crashes, and side-impact accidents.
This type of car accident results when two cars traveling in opposite directions collide with one another. This type of car accident is one of the deadliest because drivers and passengers can fly through the windshield due to the sudden impact of colliding with each other.
These result when one car following another car hits the front car from behind—whether a minor fender bender or a more serious collision. The most common cause of rear-end collisions is distracted driving.
This type of car accident happens when one car hits the side of another as they travel in the same direction. The sides of a car cannot absorb the impact from a collision, nor can the front or rear end, due to a lack of fenders.
Side impact collision
This car accident happens when a car traveling in a different direction hits the side of a car at a perpendicular angle, forming a “T” shape. These are also called T-bones or broadsides.
Side impact collisions often happen when a driver fails to yield or completely stop at intersections. While these car accidents are pretty severe, minor car accidents can cause drivers and passengers to experience pain.
Who is Liable for a car accident?
Many people choose not to pursue compensation for their fender benders because they may not consider it severe enough to take legal action. Still, a fender bender is undoubtedly a compensable car accident if you can prove another driver's liability and your injuries.
Many factors can make determining liability difficult. Even if a driver hits the rear of your car in traffic, they might try to blame you, which affects your ability to obtain compensation. You want a lawyer to investigate the crash and gather evidence to prove the other driver was at fault.
Common reasons for fender benders include:
- Distracted driving
- Failing to yield
- Failing to check blind spots
- Impaired driving
A driver might not think that a fender bender is a big deal. However, you can feel the effects of injuries for years. Always take any car accident injuries seriously, even if the accident was only a fender bender. The other driver should be liable for their actions if you suffered harm, and your car accident attorney can help you pursue a case .
Compensation from car accident injuries
In any case, if you can prove the other driver’s negligence caused your fender bender, you are entitled to receive compensation for your accident-related injuries and losses. Even fender benders can cause you to miss time off from work and pay for medical expenses.
You are entitled to compensation for any financial losses from the liable party of your fender bender. When you consult a lawyer, they can calculate the compensation and identify other damages you can include in your claim.
Some of the compensation that you can pursue include:
- Medical bills, treatment, and prescriptions
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
Many people underestimate the damages when a crash seems minor. However, many fender bender victims have costly losses.
What role do insurance companies play in car accident claims?
While pursuing your compensation, one challenge you will face is an attempt to shortchange you by the other driver’s insurance company. The other driver’s insurance policy will be the party that provides the compensation you request for your claim. However, insurance adjusters often feel you do not deserve compensation for a minor accident like a fender bender.
Insurance adjusters can respond to your claim in different ways. They will either insinuate that their driver did not cause your accident or offer you a low settlement. In either scenario, you lose out on the compensation that you deserve. Always have a car accident attorney handling your claim.
Verdicts and settlements
Because fender benders often appear minor, many insurance companies decide to settle the claim to avoid proceeding to trial. However, depending on the nature of your claim, it might require litigation.
Even if the insurance company offers you a settlement, it might be too low, and you can negotiate for a higher amount than the insurance company offers. There are various ways that you can receive the compensation that you deserve. It just depends on the course of action that you want to take or what your lawyer recommends. The important thing is that you receive what you deserve.
Hiring a lawyer after a car accident
A critical decision that you want to consider when pursuing your compensation is whether to hire a lawyer or represent yourself. While you may feel that you can represent yourself in your claim, there are many benefits to hiring a lawyer for your fender bender.
People without representation regularly receive much less compensation, and they might end up hiring a lawyer during the process anyway. It is best to hire an attorney upfront.
Filing your claim
One of the best ways your lawyer can help is by filing your claim. You may or may not be familiar with the protocols you must follow when filing a personal injury claim.
You must file your claim within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the period that you have to file a claim against a negligent party and pursue compensation. When you miss the statute of limitations, the insurance company can use that against you and throw out your claim.
A lawyer can help you avoid this issue by filing your claim and keeping up with all necessary deadlines for paperwork.
Investigating the car accident causes
Lawyers can also help strengthen your case by exercising several of their resources. Some of these resources include contact information of medical experts, accident reconstruction experts, and police reports. An experienced lawyer knows how to investigate various car accidents, even minor ones like fender benders. Instead of worrying about what evidence to include in your trial, your lawyer can seek the best evidence for you.
Calculating your claim
Even if you have carefully considered the types of compensation for your claim, a lawyer can identify other forms of compensation that you may not have even realized. Your lawyer can also calculate a realistic amount of compensation that you are entitled to for each loss. Your lawyer can determine compensation for medical expenses you may have to pay for in the future or future lost income, as well as intangible damages like pain and suffering.
Lawyers can also negotiate in your best interest against the insurance companies. Whether you are considering a settlement offer or preparing to take your claim to trial, a lawyer can exhaust all negotiation methods with an insurance company before taking you to court. Lawyers are also familiar with the fact that insurance companies will throw out a lowball offer to see if you will accept it. They can advise when an offer is inadequate and negotiate for the full amount you need.
Quality legal representation
When insurance companies decide not to meet your demands, you have the option of taking your claim to court. When that happens, you have a greater chance of receiving the outcome you want if you have a qualified lawyer. Just like a lawyer can use their experience to negotiate with insurance companies, a lawyer can use their experience to build the best case for you and prove that the other driver’s negligence contributed to your fender bender in litigation.
Call a car accident lawyer to schedule a consultation today
Like with any collision, you deserve compensation for your fender bender if you suffered harm due to someone else’s negligence. When you or a loved one have suffered an injury in a fender bender, consider your legal options before deciding not to pursue compensation for your accident. Contact a personal injury lawyer to receive a consultation.
You do not know the consequences you can face regarding your minor accident. The longer you wait to consult an attorney, the less time you have to file a compensation claim.