Do You Need a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?
Minor car accidents in Baltimore happen all the time. A driver who is slow to step on the brake at a stoplight may accidentally bump into your car. Upon realizing their mistake, they apologize, admit fault, and offer to pay for the repairs out of pocket. They may also provide their insurance information so you can file a claim. In that scenario, getting lawyers involved is unnecessary.
However, you should not be so quick to accept that arrangement if you receive injuries. Your injuries may be worse than they initially seem, and whatever the other driver is offering to pay may not cover your treatment. Hiring a Baltimore car accident lawyer is highly recommended if you need treatment for your unknown accident injuries.
Injuries Are Not Always Immediately Apparent
We all want to get things done as quickly as possible. Even in the aftermath of a seemingly minor car accident, most of us only want to settle the situation immediately. It is hard to decline the option to settle an accident quickly, especially if you do not need to compromise your potential compensation. After all, $200 should cover repairs for your scratched bumper.
Handling things that way is fine if you feel no ill effects from the incident. You must handle the situation differently if you feel off or woozy. Remember that not all injuries you may sustain from a car accident are obvious. Some do not even register fully when you first sustain them. Traumatic brain injuries are prime examples of serious injuries that are not immediately apparent.
A concussion is a particular traumatic brain injury that may have delayed symptoms. According to the CDC, even a mild concussion may not present symptoms until hours or days after the accident. That wooziness you are experiencing could become accompanied by more severe neurological symptoms in the coming days.
Whiplash is another auto accident injury that does not always present symptoms right away. It may take a while before the whiplash-related pain and headaches register. Injuries like concussions and whiplash are why you should not assume that you are perfectly fine after a car accident. They also underscore the importance of securing fair compensation.
Recoup Compensation for Your Car Accident Injuries
So-called “hidden injuries” like concussions and whiplash are not only difficult to deal with because they have delayed symptoms. They can also be tricky to manage because they require specialized treatment. Concussion victims need to rest but may also require medication and light stimulation. You need a personalized treatment plan from a doctor if you are dealing with a concussion.
Meanwhile, whiplash victims may need both medication and physical therapy. Physical therapy is particularly important if your whiplash is restricting your range of motion. It can also alleviate your pain and restore your strength. You must get a lawyer involved to secure substantial compensation to cover your medical bills. The compensation you need may prove unattainable if you do not secure the assistance of a lawyer.
What Is Contributory Negligence?
Hiring a lawyer is necessary if you suffered injuries from a seemingly minor car accident. Of course, that is only one reason you need a lawyer on your side. Because we are talking about a car accident that took place in Maryland, the rule of contributory negligence could play a role in your case.
For those unfamiliar with contributory negligence, it is a rule that bars plaintiffs from recovering damages if they share any blame for an accident. For example, a plaintiff who is even 1% responsible for an accident will receive nothing from the defendant due to this rule.
Although many states have moved away from using contributory negligence, Maryland still abides by it. You must get a lawyer if you do not want that rule to affect your claim. During your time in court, your lawyer can counter any attempts made by the other party to cast blame on you. An experienced lawyer can prove to the court that you acted well within reason in the moments before the accident. They can show you did nothing wrong and push the blame all to one side.
Given how low the bar is set for contributory negligence to become a factor, you cannot afford to handle your car accident case without the aid of a lawyer. Even if contributory negligence stacks the odds against your personal injury claim, your lawyer can still secure the compensation you deserve.
What if the Other Driver Is Blaming Me for the Accident They Caused?
In the intro of this article, we mentioned that getting an attorney is unnecessary if you and the other driver already agreed on who is responsible for the accident. Since they already accepted fault and even offered to pay for repairs, introducing an attorney may escalate things needlessly. Consider yourself somewhat fortunate if the person responsible for your accident accepts the blame. Not all drivers are going to act that way.
Instead of accepting full responsibility, the driver who hit your car may suggest you are also to blame for what happened. They may know how contributory negligence works, so they are hoping you will accept some blame. Some negligent drivers may even be audacious enough to say that you are solely responsible for the crash and owe them money.
Partnering with an attorney is necessary if you are trying to combat false claims like that. To emphasize the importance of hiring an attorney, we have detailed how they can help you deal with that mess.
Your Attorney Can Collect Valuable Pieces of Evidence
If the other driver is already insisting that you are responsible moments after the crash, you can start collecting evidence right then and there. Take pictures of the accident site, the cars involved, and the road as they can help shed light on the events that unfolded. You should also speak to witnesses who saw the crash. Your collected evidence is valuable, but you can never have enough proof. That is why you need an attorney who can gather more evidence for your case.
Your attorney can visit the accident site for any evidence you might have missed. They can also follow up with witnesses and potentially get more detailed testimony. Attorneys can also speak to establishment owners near the accident site and check for video evidence. Later on, they can touch base with the police and see if they have a detailed accident report ready.
With all those pieces of evidence in your hands, you can easily disprove the other driver’s false claims.
Your Attorney Can Dispute Claims Made by the Other Party’s Adjuster
After the accident, the other driver may report what happened to their insurer. Because they know the facts are not on their side, they twist things around to make it seem like you are at fault. Even the adjuster assigned to their case may buy into their bogus claims.
Do not allow the adjuster to make a ruling based on faulty evidence. Ask your attorney to contact the attorney so they can voice your complaints about the ruling. You and your attorney can also send a letter to the adjuster outlining your complaints. Deny the other party a legal advantage by getting your attorney on the case.
Your Attorney Can Put Together a Comprehensive Personal Injury Claim
The other party may have been the first to fire a shot across the bow, but that does not mean you get stuck playing defense. After collecting evidence and disputing the claims made by the adjuster, you can now focus on filing a personal injury claim. This is the time when your attorney can truly shine.
Allow your legal representative to draft a personal injury claim that accounts for all the pieces of evidence available in your case. They will review all the evidence and explain how they demonstrate your innocence. Your attorney can put those statements forward based on facts instead of biased speculation.
Filing a detailed personal injury claim can shift things permanently in your favor. The other driver and their attorney may review the claim and concede that the facts of the case are indisputable. They may decide to negotiate a settlement instead of letting things drag out further.
Is It Necessary to Call the Police After a Crash?
So far in this article, we have established that a lawyer’s assistance is most helpful if you sustain injuries from your accident. Seeking assistance from a lawyer also makes sense if the other party refuses to accept blame for an accident they clearly caused.
But how do you evaluate the need for law enforcement? How can you tell if the police should get involved in your car accident case? To answer those questions, you must assess the severity of the accident.
Situations When You Should Not Call Police
Let’s say the accident was only a fender bender, and both vehicles are still in good enough shape for driving. There is no need to call the police if that is the situation after your accident. In that scenario, you and the other driver should move your vehicles to the side and exchange information. You must exchange names, addresses, contact details, vehicle information, insurance information, and driver’s license numbers.
Maryland law compels both drivers involved in an accident to provide those details. You should only call the police if the other driver refuses to provide their information.
Situations When You Should Call Police
Calling the police is necessary if someone is hurt at the scene of the accident. You should also seek help from the authorities if the accident results in one or both cars being rendered immovable. Police should also be at the scene if the accident causes damage to public property. Police involvement is also required if the other driver is intoxicated. The same holds true if the other motorist has no license.
Finally, you should also call the police if the other driver tries to flee the scene of the accident.
Should I Go to a Doctor After a Minor Car Accident?
Going to the doctor can be a hassle. You typically have to schedule a doctor’s appointment during the day, which likely means taking a shorter shift or missing work altogether. Regardless of how troublesome it is to see a doctor, you must make time for it if you were recently involved in a car accident. As we noted previously, some of the injuries you may sustain from a car accident may take a while to emerge. You cannot be certain that you emerged from the accident until you have consulted a doctor.
If you are injured, an early visit to the doctor will help with your treatment. They can better manage your symptoms because they have not gone unchecked. Furthermore, consulting a doctor early also shows that you were not taking your situation lightly. When the time comes for you to file a lawsuit, the fact that you went in for a medical appointment as soon as possible will be a point in your favor.
Baltimore Car Accident Attorney
Attorney John Leppler is committed to the cause of making expert legal representation available to all Baltimore residents. Unlike the mega firms that have taken up residence in Baltimore, John is eager to work with anyone in need of legal assistance and is never too busy to speak with you about your case.
Contact us at Leppler Injury Law today and let John handle your car accident claim!