You are not always sure whether you should consult an attorney for a minor vehicle accident. You may not feel hurt at the time of the crash. Some people think that it would not be worth the effort. A rule of thumb is, it is always safer to make a claim. Injuries may not show up right away – it could be days, weeks, or even months before a pain or injury shows itself after an accident. You could lose out on having your medical bills paid for and a chance of a monetary benefit for pain and suffering.
Can I make a claim?
The main question concerning a claim for a “small” accident is whether your state is a no-fault state. What that means is your insurance company will pay some of the charges incurred in the accident whether or not it was your fault. Legislatures in various states made that law to process claims more quickly.
You can argue whether the no fault law is a wise one or not, but in most states it has cut down on smaller claims. If and when a claim reaches a higher amount of injury damages, then the no fault no longer applies. It is then considered a serious case and your lawyer will proceed accordingly.
Of course the wording of the no fault bill varies from state to state. In many of the states, a limit of $2000 applies to a no fault claim. Anything over that amount can go to an attorney. Other states put a minimum amount to the medical bills or certain injuries. A few of the states have made a higher amount mandatory statute before allowing a claim – some as high as $40,000 and loss of job. In the states that do not have a no fault law, you are allowed to file a claim no matter what the injuries. As you can see, it is wise to always consult an attorney to make sure what your state law is.
What are your symptoms?
You do not usually have serious injuries from a “minor” accident. Then again, sometimes it is hard to know just how an accident will affect your body. Some of the symptoms from a minor accident might be pain in your neck and shoulders, headaches, pain in your muscles or strains in your ligaments. Pain may not happen immediately after an accident. Many people only feel pain and suffering after a few hours, days or even weeks.
Should I or should I not seek treatment?
By all means if you do not feel right after an accident, if you are aching or your neck or shoulders hurt, you need to visit your doctor or even an emergency center if you think it could be serious. One fact you should know – most insurance companies will consider you “ok” if you don’t at least visit your doctor after an accident. And then if you later try to claim you have injuries due to the accident, you will have a lot of trouble proving it!
Pain and Suffering – how much is it worth?
A small claim may not have much of a value, but you need to know a few facts. You had a car accident where someone hits you and it is their fault. The damage is not much to your car, but you are having headaches and some pain in your neck by the next day. You went to your doctor and after examining you, he tells you to give it a few days and see how you feel. Let’s say the pain did not go away, so you decided to see a chiropractor. After a few weeks of treatment, you had no more pain. No work was missed. If you lived in a no fault state, you would probably not be allowed to file a claim. When your insurance adjuster views your car he will probably state that this was indeed a minor accident, and that you would be qualified for reimbursement or compensation. No major injury, no major damage, no major settlement.
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