It is a good idea to consult a Los Angeles car accident lawyer after a collision, regardless of the severity of the crash. Seeking legal advice before you talk with the insurance company can help you avoid mistakes that could reduce how much your claim is worth.
Furthermore, an experienced lawyer will tell you whether you need legal representation after a minor car accident in Los Angeles or whether you can handle the claim yourself.
What Is a “Minor” Car Accident?
Minor car crashes are often called “fender benders” because they result in minor damage but no serious injuries. However, how do you know the property damage is minor until a licensed mechanic inspects your vehicle? Likewise, how can you be sure you did not sustain injuries until your doctor examines you?
A “minor car accident” can quickly become complicated and overwhelming. What you thought were aches and pains could be symptoms of a severe injury. So, instead of a property damage claim only, you may also need to pursue a personal injury case.
If you have already discussed your case with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, you are a step ahead in filing a car insurance claim for damages.
Situations and Factors That Indicate You Need To Hire a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident in Los Angeles
The factors and circumstances of your accident dictate how complicated the claims process might become with the insurance company. However, these same factors and circumstances can also be strong indicators that you need to speak with an accident attorney about your case before continuing to work with an insurance company.
Typically, you can benefit from hiring a personal injury lawyer if one or more of the following situations applies:
- The insurance company tries to blame you for causing or contributing to the cause of the car accident (i.e., allegations of comparative fault)
- You sustained severe injuries due to the car crash
- Multiple vehicles or parties are involved in the accident case
- Your accident involved a commercial motor vehicle, semi-truck, or government vehicle
- The insurance adjuster claims your delay in medical treatment caused your injuries to worsen (i.e., failure to mitigate damages)
- You have substantial medical bills or require ongoing medical treatment, physical therapy, or rehabilitation
- Your physicians advise you that you sustained a disability or permanent impairment
- You cannot work because of the injuries sustained in the crash
- A child was injured in the car accident
- You are unsure what damages you could receive and/or the value of those damages
This list is not all-inclusive. There are many situations where hiring a lawyer after a car accident in Los Angeles is in your best interest.
Fortunately, Los Angeles personal injury lawyers offer free consultations. Therefore, talking with an attorney about your case will not cost you any money. In most cases, hiring a car accident lawyer does not cost any money upfront because they accept cases on a contingency fee basis.
What Damages Could I Receive After a Minor Car Accident in Los Angeles?
Many factors impact the amount you can receive in a car accident settlement. The strength of your evidence proving liability and the severity of your injuries are two significant factors that affect the value of a personal injury claim.
Typically, the value of damages increases with the severity of injuries. For example, if you sustain a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage, the cost of medical care, lost wages, and other damages are higher than if you suffered a minor case of whiplash.
- Physical pain and suffering
- Medical bills and the cost of rehabilitation
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of wages, benefits, and other forms of income
- Permanent impairments, disabilities, scarring, and disfigurement
- A decrease in earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Ongoing nursing and skilled care
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Assistance with personal care and household chores
You must prove the value of your damages. Therefore, careful documentation of all financial losses and expenses is crucial. For example, keep copies of medical bills, receipts, and invoices. Keep a log of all income losses and missed time from work.
Writing details about your recovery in a notebook or journal is also beneficial. Pain and suffering damages can be challenging to prove. Everyone suffers differently, and there is no standard formula for putting a price tag on suffering.
However, a journal allows you to recall critical details that help demonstrate the severity of your pain and suffering. Those details can help jurors realize why you should receive a large award for your non-economic damages.
How Can a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer Help After a Minor Car Crash?
Car accident attorneys provide legal advice, guidance, and support for accident victims and their families. They protect their clients from aggressive insurance adjusters and bad-faith insurance practices.
- Conduct an independent accident investigation to discover why the car accident happened
- Identify all parties who contributed to the cause of the car crash
- Review insurance policies to verify insurance coverage and file insurance claims
- Work with you, your doctors, and expert witnesses to document the extent of your injuries and damages
- Hire accident reconstructionists and other expert witnesses as necessary
- Calculate how much your personal injury claim is worth
- Negotiate a settlement agreement equal to the value of your claim
- File a lawsuit and argue your case in court, if necessary
Knowing whether to retain legal counsel after a minor car accident in Los Angeles is not always clear. While hiring a lawyer has many benefits, people involved in minor car accidents that do not cause injuries might not benefit from representation.
The best way to know whether you need a car accident attorney is to ask a lawyer. If you are unsure, meet with another attorney for a second opinion. This decision can significantly impact your future, so you do not want to make it lightly or without sound legal advice.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.