If you have been involved in a car accident, even a minor one, you may wonder whether you need to hire a lawyer. The answer depends on several factors, including who’s at fault, the accident’s severity, the damage to your vehicle, the extent of your injuries, and the insurance coverage available.
If you were injured in the accident and are facing significant medical bills, then it’s probably in your best interest to at least consult with a car accident lawyer. Even if you ultimately decide not to hire an attorney, most no-injury car accident lawyers will give you a free consultation and evaluate your case to give you an idea of what to expect.
Similarly, if the other driver was at fault for the accident and does not have insurance or enough insurance to cover your damages, then you will likely need to hire a lawyer to help you recover compensation. In any case, it is generally advisable to at least speak with a car accident lawyer after being involved in a minor car accident.
What is Considered a Minor Car Accident?
A car accident is considered minor if there is little damage to the vehicles involved. Minor car accidents usually occur at low speeds and often result in a minor rear-end collision or fender bender.
The following are some factors used to determine if a car accident is minor or not:
- There were no severe injuries or fatalities.
- The vehicles were able to drive away from the scene.
- There were less than $3,500 in repair damages per vehicle.
- The accident involved hitting a fixture like a curb, a sign, or landscaping.
- The damage was limited to dents, scratches, or broken lights.
Although a minor car accident may not seem like a big deal, it can still be disruptive and cause financial strain. In addition to the cost of repairing the damage to your vehicle, you may also have to pay rental car fees and other unexpected expenses.
How Hiring a Minor Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Car accidents are always inconvenient, but they can be especially stressful if you don’t have a lawyer. Many people think they don’t need a lawyer for a minor car accident, but the reality is that a qualified attorney can save you a lot of time and hassle. Here’s why:
- An experienced minor car accident lawyer will know how to deal with the insurance company. Insurance adjusters are trained to minimize the amount of money that the company has to pay out, and they can be very aggressive. Moreover, the insurance company will likely lowball you when it comes time to settle your claim. An experienced accident lawyer knows how to handle the insurance company and get you the maximum compensation possible. Remember: the insurance company doesn’t work for you; your attorney works for you.
- A minor car accident attorney can also help you if you’ve been injured in the accident. If you try to handle your own personal injury claim, you may not get the medical treatment you need to get better. By speaking with an attorney on the day of your accident, you can get referred to doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists who specialize in minor car accidents.
- A skilled minor car crash lawyer can also help you if your car has been damaged in the accident. If you try to deal with the repairs yourself, you may not get fully compensated for all of the damage. An attorney can review the repair estimates from the body shop and the auto repair shop to make sure you get enough money to cover all of the repairs for the damage to your car.
- Finally, a lawyer can simply take care of all the paperwork and phone calls required after an accident. Dealing with insurance companies and auto repair shops, and finding the right doctors can be very time-consuming, and it’s something that most people would rather not have to deal with. A minor car accident lawyer can handle all of that for you so that you can focus on recovering from the accident.
If you were even mildly injured in a minor car accident or if the other driver was at fault, or if there is a dispute about who is responsible for the damages, then it may be worth getting a lawyer. An attorney experienced in minor car accidents can help you understand your rights and options and can represent you in negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company.
In some cases, having a lawyer may even help you get a higher settlement than you would have without one. If you are unsure whether or not you need a lawyer, it is always best to find a minor car accident lawyer in Houston who offers a free, no-obligation consultation to get advice specific to your situation.
What To Do in a Minor Car Accident in Houston
In Texas, a reportable crash occurs every 57 seconds; and on average, 239,539 people are injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes every year. Even though most of these crashes are minor car accidents, they still cause confusion and anxiety in people’s lives. If you find yourself involved in a minor car crash, the following steps can help legally protect you:
Step 1: Stop your vehicle at the scene. Turn off the engine and turn on your hazard lights.
Step 2: Check for injuries. If there are any passengers in your car, make sure they and the occupants of the other vehicle are okay.
Step 3: Move your vehicle if possible. If the cars involved are obstructing traffic or the accident occurs on a main traffic lane or ramp and the cars can be safely driven, each driver should move their car to a safe area suitable for exchanging information. This will help prevent any further accidents and make it easier for emergency vehicles to access the scene, if necessary. Do not drive away, as it is a crime to leave the scene without reporting the accident to the police.
Step 4: Call emergency services. Additionally, make sure a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report is made. If there are any witnesses to the accident, try to get their contact information as well.
Step 5: Assess the damage to your car. Take notes and take plenty of pictures of all the vehicles involved and of the accident scene. Do not admit fault even if you think you may be partially at fault. Do not talk about the policy limits of your car insurance with the other driver. Only give your name, address, registration number, and the name of your insurance company. You can show your driver’s license if the other driver requests to see it.
Step 6: See a doctor or other medical professional immediately after the accident. If you cannot see your primary care physician, go to an urgent care clinic or an emergency room for a diagnosis to rule out any serious injuries, since some injuries are not immediately apparent right after an accident.
Step 7: Hire a minor car accident attorney to handle your case. An attorney can help you contact the insurance company and report the accident. When you call an insurance company to file a claim, your conversation is being recorded – and it’s not for quality assurance purposes! It’s evidence that can and will be used against you. Any conversation you have with anyone about your accident should be done with your attorney present and in their office. It’s your attorney’s job to protect you, and the initial call to file a claim is just one of the many benefits of hiring a skilled minor car accident attorney.
As a final note, if you are involved in a minor car accident, it is important to stay calm and take care of the situation peacefully. If the driver of the other car appears angry or starts yelling, get back in your car, lock the doors, and wait for the police to arrive. We all know that road rage can cause accidents, but road rage can happen after an accident as well.
Can Someone Sue You for a Minor Car Accident?
While it’s true that someone can sue you for a minor car accident, in order to win the lawsuit brought against you, the person suing you (the plaintiff) will need to prove that the accident was caused by your negligence.
Driving is a common activity that has risks that a reasonable person would be aware of. If a driver fails to appreciate the risks inherent to driving a car and causes an accident, then that driver could be considered to be negligent.
To prove negligence in a minor car accident, it must be shown that you failed to use ordinary care while driving your vehicle. Ordinary care means the degree of care that an ordinary and reasonable driver uses when driving in the same or similar circumstances. This creates a duty that drivers must exercise ordinary care when driving. If this duty is breached and it results in an accident, and the accident causes injury, you could be found to be negligent.
For example, if you rear-ended the plaintiff because you were following too closely, the plaintiff would argue that an ordinary and reasonable driver would have kept a greater distance between the two cars, thus allowing for more space to brake to avoid hitting the car in front of them.
Moreover, the plaintiff would also need to prove that since you didn’t use ordinary care, your negligence was the cause of the accident, because if you had been using ordinary care and not following too closely, you would have foreseen that you were going to rear-end the car in front of you and therefore would have allowed for more distance to stop, to avoid the accident.
Last, the plaintiff would need to prove that because of your negligence, you caused the plaintiff to suffer damages in the form of personal injury and/or property damage.
At the Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Firm, we understand that minor car accidents can have a major impact on your life. Whether you’re dealing with damage to your vehicle or injuries, or both, the aftermath of an accident can be stressful and overwhelming.
Our team of experienced minor car accident attorneys is here to help you navigate the legal process and get the compensation you deserve. We work on a contingency basis, and our No Fee Guarantee® means you won’t owe us any fees unless we win your case.
We’ve won over $1B in settlements for our clients and we’re definitely not afraid to take on insurance companies and big corporations — we’ll fight for the maximum compensation possible. We have the courage to take your minor car accident from confusion to compensation.
Contact us today at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. If you’re looking for an attorney who will advocate for you every step of the way, we invite you to come to our office and see if the Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law Firm is right for you and your family.