The decision to hire a lawyer and pursue injury compensation is a personal choice. No one can tell you whether you should or should not hire a lawyer, since no one knows your exact situation.
But there are good reasons to hire a lawyer after a minor car accident. A lawyer can help evaluate your case and deal with the insurance company.
Here are some of the tasks a lawyer can do for you after a minor car accident in Miami, FL.
The Role of a Lawyer After an Accident
A lawyer performs many tasks for a client. Depending on your accident, a lawyer can help you with:
Valuing Your Case
You might not understand what, if anything, you can recover from your accident. A lawyer can analyze your accident and outline your options for your case.
The lawyer’s first step is to determine the extent of your losses. The term “minor car accident” does not have a fixed definition. Instead, some more descriptive terms include:
Property Damage Only (PDO) Accident
A PDO accident produces no injuries. In 2020, Miami-Dade County had 51,543 traffic accidents. Almost 34,800 of these accidents were PDO accidents. In other words, 67.5% of traffic accidents in Miami-Dade County caused no injuries.
When you have a PDO accident, you likely do not need an injury lawyer. But you may need an insurance lawyer to help you with your property damage claim against the at-fault driver.
Minor Injury Accidents
One way to distinguish minor injuries from serious injuries is whether they are life-threatening or have a risk of permanent impairments or disability. If your accident causes non-disabling injuries, you might call your accident minor. But you might still incur substantial losses from your injuries.
The cost for an ambulance ride, emergency room visit, and pain medication can run into the thousands. If you miss a few days of work and require physical therapy, your expenses could skyrocket. A lawyer can help you understand the extent of your losses and the compensation you can seek. They can help you calculate the damages you know of and help you value ones that can’t be proven with receipts, such as your pain and suffering.
Discussing Your Legal Options
You have several options after your minor accident, including doing nothing. A lawyer can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each option for your personal situation.
For example, if you do not have health insurance, you could get stuck paying all of the bills for treatment of your injuries. Under these circumstances, you might pursue an injury claim even if your accident was minor.
Documenting Your Case
Florida uses a no-fault auto insurance system. Your auto insurer will pay 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of your income losses up to $10,000 (if you have basic PIP coverage). In most minor accidents, you will deal with your insurer under your no-fault coverage.
Many people assume they can deal with insurers without the help of a lawyer. But insurance companies have a financial incentive to pay as little as possible for claims — even your own insurer!
A lawyer can document your claim with medical records and letters from your doctors and employer. This will increase the chances your insurer will pay your claim.
Negotiating with Insurers
Insurance companies settle most claims. This is particularly true for minor accidents in which neither you nor the insurer has much to fight over. But insurers can get greedy. In many cases, they will try to deny or undervalue your claim. They may even blame you for your accident.
A lawyer can help you get a fair settlement. Insurers tend to avoid playing games with lawyers who can sue them for bad faith settlement practices. A lawyer also has experience with settlement negotiations and makes sure you’re not settling for less than you deserve.
Finding a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident
After a minor accident, you should consider speaking to an injury lawyer. Most lawyers offer free consultations to new clients. During these consultations, lawyers review your case and tell you how they can help.
If a lawyer cannot help you, they will let you know. But in many cases, a lawyer can assist you, even with a minor accident.