Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident in Jacksonville?
No one ever gets into a car thinking they will be involved in an accident. Unfortunately, thousands of car crashes occur each day. The FLHSMV reports 401,076 traffic crashes in 2021 throughout Florida.
Some car accidents cause catastrophic injuries that could result in permanent impairments and significant economic damages. However, other car crashes are “fender benders” or minor car accidents. The collision appears to have caused minimal property damage, and you feel okay.
You might wonder if you need to hire a lawyer after a minor car accident in Jacksonville. Is hiring an attorney for a fender bender worth the trouble and expense?
If you are unsure if you need an attorney, you should call a car accident lawyer now. Consider these things about a minor car accident:
A Jacksonville Car Accident Lawyer Gives Free Advice
Most law firms offer free consultations. It does not cost you anything to talk to an attorney about your car crash. Therefore, you have nothing to lose by making an appointment.
Furthermore, most car accident attorneys accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. You do not pay any attorneys’ fees until they recover money for your claim. Again, it does not cost you anything upfront to get help with a car accident case.
When in doubt, err on the side of caution. You do not want to realize you need an attorney only after you settle your injury claim without legal advice.
Minor Car Accidents Can Quickly Become Complicated
What you believe is a minor car accident can turn out to be a costly experience. In addition to repairing your vehicle, you could incur other expenses related to the accident. Economic damages could include:
- Medical bills
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Physical therapy
- Loss of income
- Help with household chores
- Nursing and/or personal care
Minor aches and pains could be symptoms of a severe injury. Your doctor then tells you that you need surgery and/or months of physical therapy. You are now looking at significant time off work and costly medical expenses.
Lawyers help you document your damages while gathering evidence to prove the other driver caused the accident. You have the burden of proving fault before recovering compensation for damages.
You Are Unsure What Damages You Can Recover
Florida no-fault insurance laws can be confusing. Unless you sustain serious injuries, you cannot sue a driver for damages. However, how do you know what qualifies as serious injuries without legal advice?
Furthermore, do you know what damages you could receive if you sustain serious injuries?
The insurance company wants to minimize how much it has to pay for your claim. The insurance adjuster is not going to tell you that you can recover compensation for non-economic damages in addition to your financial losses.
A personal injury lawyer ensures all damages you are entitled to receive are included in a settlement demand. Your lawyer also calculates the maximum value for damages.
Insurance companies routinely undervalue damages when a person is not represented by an injury attorney.
You Are Blamed for Causing the Car Accident
You might not think you need to hire a lawyer after a minor accident because the other driver said they caused the crash. Then, suddenly, the driver changes his story. Now, the other driver blames you for causing the accident and is suing you for damages.
Even if the other driver does not change their story, the insurance company might allege you contributed to the cause of the accident. Shifting some of the blame for the car crash to the victim is a common insurance tactic to undervalue claims.
Florida’s contributory fault laws reduce the amount of compensation paid to an accident victim if the victim contributes to the cause of the accident.
Suppose the insurance company alleges you were equally to blame for causing the accident because you were distracted. It bases that allegation on something you said to the insurance adjuster about running late the morning of the crash. Therefore, since you were 50% at fault, the insurance company reduces your compensation by one-half.
Because you gave a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster before talking with a lawyer, it can be more challenging to prove the other driver was entirely at fault for the cause of the car crash.
Things to Keep in Mind After a Minor Car Accident in Jacksonville
It is always best to consult with a car accident lawyer before talking with an insurance company, signing documents, or agreeing to a settlement. Having sound legal advice protects your best interests. The insurance company is only looking out for its profit margin.
Things to keep in mind about a car accident include:
- Stay at the accident scene and call 911 for help
- Gather evidence at the accident scene, including taking photographs, making a video, and asking witnesses for contact information
- Never admit fault for the cause of the accident, including saying you are sorry
- Always see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident to document injuries
- File a PIP claim with your no-fault insurance provider (you must see a doctor within 14 days to file a claim)
- Do not provide statements or answer questions for an insurance investigator or claims adjuster without legal advice
- Never agree to a settlement or sign a settlement agreement without an attorney reviewing your case
There is nothing “minor” about a car accident. The insurance company might describe the crash as minor, but being involved in a collision is always a traumatic event.
Reasons to Hire a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident in Jacksonville
You might not need to hire a car accident attorney to handle a minor car crash. However, you cannot know whether you need help unless you talk with a lawyer.
The benefits of hiring a lawyer to handle your case include:
- The lawyer investigates the crash to gather evidence proving the other driver is at fault
- An attorney files insurance claims and handles all matters with the insurance company
- Your lawyer documents your damages and calculates an accurate value for your injury claim
- You do not need to worry about missing deadlines for filing claims or lawsuits set by the statute of limitations
- An attorney has the resources to hire medical experts, accident reconstructionists, and other expert witnesses to assist with your case as necessary
- Your lawyer aggressively negotiates for the maximum value of your claim
- If the insurance company refuses to settle the claim for a fair amount, your attorney is ready to file a lawsuit
In addition to protecting your legal rights, a lawyer provides support and guidance throughout your case. Your attorney protects your best interests and handles all matters for you so that you can focus on healing from your injuries and getting back to a regular routine.
Contact the Jacksonville Car Accident Law Firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help
Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Jacksonville
9471 Baymeadows Rd #105,
Jacksonville, FL 32256, United States