Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | June 20, 2022
Picture this: you’re peacefully driving through Buckhead, meeting a friend for lunch or shopping. You’re looking for a parking spot and moving slowly when another driver hits your car.
After checking over yourselves and your vehicles, you both get out and agree to exchange contact and insurance information. Then, you leave.
Was this a good idea? Should you have called the police? Do you need to call a lawyer?
Do I Need an Attorney After a Minor Car Accident?
The short answer is that it’s always a good decision to protect your legal interests. In fact, not hiring a lawyer can cost you more in the long run. Suppose the other driver — the one who hit you — files a claim blaming you for the car accident. Without a police report, it’s your word against theirs.
Now, you’ll have to defend yourself. But without photos of the accident, witness statements, or the police report, you don’t have any evidence that you were not at fault. You may even have legal trouble for leaving the scene of the accident without reporting it.
However, if you have a lawyer, you have an advocate on your side who knows Georgia law and will protect your rights.
You May Have Hidden Injuries After a Minor Car Accident
Many car accident injuries don’t show up right away. You may feel sore and lightheaded after the accident, or perhaps your back hurts. You may chalk this up to just being shaken up after the collision.
A few days later, you might realize that you can’t move your wrist or neck. You’ll get medical care, but your insurance (or the at-fault driver’s) may not cover the costs.
A concussion is another common car accident injury, and those symptoms don’t always present immediately, either. Without proper diagnosis, care, and rest, you could suffer serious re-injury risks, including brain damage.
When you call 911 right after a car crash, you’ll get a police report and the emergency medical care you need, which can support any claim you file and give you a better chance of recovery.
The Other Driver Could File a Claim Against You
A couple of days after the accident, you may notice a small dent or scratches on your bumper. You file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company only to have it denied, and the carrier states that you caused the accident instead of their client.
Even worse, the other driver could hire a lawyer who is now filing a suit for damages against you.
Of course, you can hire your own attorney to represent you and fight the suit, but you may end up paying a lot more than you would have if you’d hired a lawyer right after the accident.
Hiring a Lawyer After a Minor Crash Benefits You
You may think it’s too expensive to hire a car accident attorney, but personal injury lawyers often assess fees on a contingency fee basis. That means they don’t get paid unless they win your case. Their legal fees are a percentage of the settlement or verdict they win for you.
Additionally, your lawyer can help you understand what compensation you’re eligible for and your rights under the law. They will seek the maximum settlement from the other party’s insurance company and often may be able to negotiate a higher one than you would be able to obtain on your own.
If the other driver was working or driving a commercial vehicle, like a salesperson calling on clients, your lawyer might include their employer in the case. Your personal injury attorney is your main advocate against the other driver and insurance companies and will fight for your interests from start to finish.
Contact the Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers at Hasner Law, P.C. For Help
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