Picture this, you’ve had a long, exhausting day at work and all you want is to get home and relax. Suddenly, amidst the frustration of rush hour traffic, another car bumps into yours. You both step out, visibly unhurt, and the damage to your vehicles seems minimal. Given the hectic day you’ve had, you decide not to involve the police or exchange any information. You might think, is it necessary to involve a lawyer in a minor car accident like this?
Well, let’s hit the brakes right there. Your immediate reaction might just lead to a serious legal error. Although it might appear to be a minor inconvenience in the moment, neglecting to report the incident to the police is, in many states, considered a violation of the law. Leaving the scene without reporting the incident could be considered a hit-and-run case, regardless of the scale of the accident. Furthermore, not reporting a minor car accident can blur the facts and makes it challenging to sort out the truth later.
The Potential Legal Impact of Any Car Accident
Disregarding the legal implications, you might unknowingly jeopardize your rights to claim against the other driver. No matter how minor the accident may seem, it is important to make sure that all of the details are properly reported. Not only does filing an official police report help clarify what happened, but it also creates a valuable document for use in court during any civil proceedings.
In any car accident case, expect the other driver’s insurance company (or your own) to try to limit their financial responsibility. By having an official report, you can help make sure that the other driver is held accountable for any wrongdoing or negligence. In cases where there are serious injuries, a car accident lawyer may be able to assist with getting the maximum settlement possible from all involved parties. A lawyer can also provide legal advice on how to best proceed after a car accident.
Here’s why making a report and consulting with an attorney is important:
- Hidden Injuries:
Medical research indicates that minor accidents can lead to subtle injuries that don’t manifest immediately. These could include minor strains, sprains, or even bruises which may only become apparent days after the accident. Adrenaline often masks injuries immediately after an accident. Therefore, local personal injury lawyers would advise you to seek immediate medical attention regardless of the perceived impact of the accident.
Avoiding a report of the incident to the police or your insurance company could make it harder to link these latent injuries to the accident, complicating any personal injury claims you might have in court.
- The “Other” Party:
What if the other party files a claim against you weeks later, claiming exaggerated injuries or property damage? Your decision to leave without a police report just landed you in a “he said, she said” situation. Although such suits might not make it far since the other party left the scene too, it is an unnecessary hassle that could have been avoided by reporting the incident. Insurance companies also recommend not to admit fault or reveal policy limits. What you say and do in the aftermath of an accident can have significant legal implications.
So, What Should You Do After a Minor Car Accident?
Should you decide to report the minor accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company may offer you a settlement. While it might seem like the quickest way to fix your vehicle, it’s important to consider the potential costs of any latent injuries.
Insurance companies are businesses, and their bottom line is profit. Accepting their initial offer without consulting a legal expert can mean losing out on a larger settlement that would cover both the damage to your vehicle and any medical costs you might incur.
Even in minor accidents, it is wise to consult a personal injury attorney before accepting any insurance settlement. A qualified attorney will assess the details of your case, and advise you on whether pursuing a lawsuit is necessary to ensure that your interests are protected. They can also help evaluate any settlement offer from the at-fault party’s insurance company in order to ensure it covers any future medical costs or lost wages due to your injury. Medical issues may not present themselves right away, so it is important to consider the long-term consequences of a car accident when considering any offer.
By working with an experienced attorney, you can ensure that your rights are fully protected and that you receive a fair settlement for your losses. An attorney will help negotiate the terms of the agreement, as well as prepare any necessary paperwork to make sure your claim is handled in a
Here are the top 10 things to remember after a car accident:
- Never leave the scene of an accident without reporting it to the police.
- Gather as much evidence at the scene as possible.
- Never admit fault.
- Seek medical attention immediately, even if you feel fine.
- Take advantage of your Personal Injury Protection insurance policy.
- Understand that insurance companies aim to pay as little as possible.
- Always review the police report for accuracy.
- Don’t accept the first settlement offer from the insurance company.
- Don’t try to settle your case on your own.
- Consult a car accident attorney even after minor accidents.
Remember, most attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if they win your case. So don’t hesitate to consult an attorney. They can help you navigate the legal system and ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
If you have been involved in a minor accident in Florida, reach out to the Miami car accident attorneys at Wolfson & Leon. We offer free consultations 24/7 and are committed to ensuring you understand your legal rights and options. Florida recorded nearly 400,000 car accidents in 2018, and over 3,000 of these were fatal in 2019. Don’t let yourself become a statistic. Reach out to us today.
We are here to ensure you receive the compensation and justice you deserve. Let Wolfson & Leon help you get the best possible outcome for your case with offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Hialeah, Fort Myers, and Cape Coral. Contact us now and schedule your free consultation. We look forward to working with you!
Our team is here for you and your family. We will work tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve. Don’t rely on an insurance company to do what’s right; rely on us. Give us a call anytime; justice never sleeps. Call us now at 305-285-1115!