Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident in Florida?
Bill Allen | June 14, 2022 | Car Accidents
Picture this: you’re driving through the middle of Gainesville after a long day of work, listening to your favorite podcast when tap-tap! Another driver has rear-ended you.
Neither of you were driving at high speeds, and after examining your cars, it seems like there’s hardly any damage – and neither of you are hurt. You both exchange information, including names and contact information, vehicle identification numbers, and insurance coverage, and decide not to call the police. Then, you get in your car and drive away.
However, this may have been a mistake.
Do I Need an Attorney After a Minor Car Wreck?
The short answer is yes. An attorney can protect you in many ways.
Suppose that you leave the scene of a car accident without alerting the police — which in many circumstances is illegal in Florida. What if the other driver hires a lawyer and files a lawsuit against you for damages and injuries you didn’t even notice at the time of the accident?
Now, you have to defend yourself, but you don’t have any supporting evidence, such as a police report, witness statements, photographs, or other evidence.
If you had called the police right after the accident, the responding officer would have completed an official report with the circumstances of the crash and a determination of which driver was at fault. And if you’d called a lawyer right away, you’d have a legal advocate protecting your rights and interests.
Car Accidents and Hidden Injuries
Some car accident injuries don’t show up right away, especially soft tissue damage or neck and spine injuries. You may think you’re fine right afterward, but the next day, you’re sore, can’t move your neck, or have a swollen wrist or shoulder.
You go to the doctor, but you may have your claim denied because you can’t prove that the injury resulted from the car accident.
A concussion is another common car accident injury that many people may not realize they have. You may feel lightheaded or disoriented and just attribute it to being a little shaken up after the crash. But without a proper diagnosis of a concussion, you may be at a higher risk of re-injury and permanent brain damage.
When you call for emergency medical treatment after an accident, you can get an accurate diagnosis and begin treatment immediately. Additionally, your emergency medical records document the injuries from the crash.
The Other Driver May File a Claim
Suppose that you notice a small dent or some scratches on your bumper after the accident. You decide to file an insurance claim only to receive notification of denial because the other driver reported the accident to the insurance company, blaming you.
In this case, you’ll have a hard time claiming damages without a lawyer. At this point, you can hire your own attorney to contest the claim, but you may not be able to find representation without medical records and a police report.
You Should Hire a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident in Florida
Many people think the cost of an attorney is more than the damages to their car or their medical bills are worth. But many car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means they don’t get paid unless they win your claim.
They’ll also explain your right to compensation and may be able to secure a larger settlement from the other party’s insurance company than you’d be able to negotiate on your own.
Finally, if you were involved in an accident with a commercial driver – either a semi or someone driving as part of their job – you may be entitled to file a claim against their employer. Lawyers can help protect your rights against a larger corporation and their insurance company.
Contact Our Gainesville Personal Injury Law Firm in North Central Florida
We have two convenient locations in North Central Florida: