Should I Hire A Lawyer For A Minor Car Accident?
If you were recently involved in a fender-bender or seemingly minor car accident, you may be wondering, “Should I hire a lawyer for a minor car accident?” You might be worried about the cost of hiring a lawyer and whether it might be more than you can afford. However, hiring a lawyer may be prudent in certain circumstances. Consider contacting the experienced car accident attorneys at Labrum Law at (615) 338-9500 to learn more and ensure your legal rights are protected.
Many Injuries Go Unnoticed
If you did not suffer any injuries, you may be wondering, “Should I hire a lawyer for a minor car accident?” It is important to note that not all injuries are immediately apparent after a car accident. Many times, car accident victims may experience a surge of adrenaline that masks the signs of injuries. According to the United States National Library of Medicine, adrenaline causes epinephrine to flood the bloodstream, which allows a person to actively face a stressor and conquer it more easily, such as an injury from a car accident. Adrenaline also causes several self-preservation techniques that can mask the symptoms of injuries, including:
- Increased energy
- Reduced pain
- Increased flow of oxygen
- Increased strength
It may take some time (hours or days) after an accident for adrenaline to leave the system and symptoms of injuries to appear.
Inability To Return to Work
A common misconception is that collisions that involve low speeds are “minor” and do not result in injuries. Researchers studied the impact that low-speed collisions had on vehicle occupants and published them in The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. These scientists discovered that there is a “lack of relationship” between the injuries a person in a motor vehicle sustains in a collision and the vehicle's speed. Additionally, there does not appear to be an absolute speed or amount of damage to a vehicle that automatically resulted in a passenger injury. These studies included crash tests that indicated a change of vehicle velocity of just 2.5 mph can produce symptoms of injury.
Therefore, even at lower speeds, accident victims may still experience severe injuries. When these injuries are serious, the car accident victim may be unable to work. Tennessee law allows accident victims to recover lost wages, as well as compensation for a reduction in their lifetime income they sustain because of their injuries.
Insurance Company Unscrupulous Tactics
In some accidents, the insurance company may try to turn things around and blame the victim for the accident, especially if they do not have someone advocating for their rights. If this happens, the other driver may be able to sue the victim. Some people choose to hire an experienced car accident lawyer to negotiate on their behalf.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. These companies ultimately profit by bringing in more money in premiums than they pay out in claims. Therefore, they are heavily incentivized to minimize the value of valid claims as much as possible
Insurance companies may use various tactics to minimize or deny the full value of claims by:
- Offering a quick settlement before a victim has an opportunity to consult a lawyer
- Getting the accident victim to give a recorded statement they later use against them
- Questioning whether all medical treatment is necessary
- Claiming the victim was partially at fault for the accident
A car accident lawyer may be familiar with these tactics and will know how to handle them. The experienced accident attorneys at Labrum Law know how to handle the unscrupulous and manipulative tactics of insurance companies.
Statute Of Limitations
Under Tennessee law, accident victims generally only have one year from the accident date to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Once this statute of limitations expires, the accident victim may have no recourse. Insurance companies know this and may try to delay the claim until the time limit passes.
Even if an accident victim has up to one year to make their claim, they may not want to wait this long before considering visiting with an attorney, as an experienced attorney may need a substantial amount of time to investigate the claim and try to negotiate a settlement before filing a lawsuit.
Understanding Contingency Fees
One of the reasons accident victims are uncertain whether they should hire a lawyer for a minor car accident is due to the perceived cost. However, personal injury lawyers generally accept cases on a contingency-fee basis. This means that they do not charge any upfront fees to their clients. Instead, they take out an agreed-upon percentage out of any insurance settlement or court verdict they receive. If they do not win the case, they do not collect any attorney fees. Note, however, that “attorney fees” and “costs” are two different things, so accident victims may want to ask about how other costs like filing fees, expert witness fees, postage, medical records requests, and other expenses are handled. Labrum Law typically works on a contingency-fee basis.
Personal injury lawyers often offer a free consultation to accident victims to explain their legal rights and options. This consultation also gives the lawyer a chance to assess whether there is a viable claim and if they are interested in representing the victim. The consultation is free and there is no obligation, so accident victims can learn more about the law and their potential claim by talking to a lawyer in this no-risk situation.
Contact the Experienced Car Accident Attorneys at Labrum Law To Learn More
If you are still wondering, “Should I hire a lawyer for a minor car accident?” then let the experienced personal injury attorneys at Labrum Law explain some of the advantages of receiving legal counsel during this difficult time. Our legal team can provide a free consultation to explain your rights and ensure they remain protected. Contact us today at (615) 338-9500 to learn more.