Fender benders may not seem all that significant. That’s because they’re generally defined as accidents in which a pair of vehicles strike each other at speeds of just 10 mph or less. Oftentimes, these incidents occur when somebody is stuck in rush-hour traffic and, while inching forward, either accidentally hits the car in front or is hit by the car behind. In many cases, those involved in the minor accident will step out of their cars, look at the damage, see none, take note of how they themselves feel, not notice anything out of the ordinary, and they may simply shake hands and head off without taking down any information.
However, this is not the best strategy to take. Although, in many cases, there is no damage to the vehicles or the people involved, sometimes damage to one or more of those entities may show up later. It’s always best to take down as much information about the accident as possible in addition to the insurance information and vehicle identification number of the other car as well as its license plate number and a description of the vehicle. Also, if the accident has taken place in South Carolina, make sure to contact the police so that a traffic accident report can be compiled. All of this may seem obvious if damage or injuries have clearly been suffered as a result of this minor car wreck, but it may feel unnatural and unnecessary if neither of those things is apparent. However, it’s essential to do the same amount of due diligence in every case as it’s always preferred to have the information if it’s not needed than to not have it when it is.
It’s especially important to note that soft-tissue injuries such as whiplash might not be apparent at the time of the accident.
Impact of Whiplash Possibility on Necessity of Calling an Attorney
If a whiplash injury has occurred, it may be difficult to prove despite the pain and impact on the recipient’s life being real. Some of these symptoms can include stiff muscles in the neck, no longer being able to enjoy a full range of motion with the neck muscles, pain and tenderness in the area around the neck, dizziness, blurred vision, pain or stiffness when attempting to look over the shoulder, pain in the shoulder, back or arm and headaches that start from the base of the skull and spread towards the forehead. But many people, including car insurance claims adjusters, are skeptical when they hear of others claiming that injuries such as these have resulted, especially when they have occurred after a fender bender. However, those who have suffered injuries as a result of a small car accident obviously deserve to receive compensation for this and any other accident-related expenses.
People who do experience neck pain or other whiplash-related injuries as a result of a car accident should seek medical treatment and consult the services of a personal injury attorney. Contacting an experienced one is especially important in the case of soft-tissue injuries such as whiplash since those can be especially hard to prove. However, medical documentation will help support the injury claim, which should be filed as soon as possible. Establishing that care was sought as soon as symptoms were felt will help the case, and the sooner that this claim is filed, the sooner that any compensation to pay for things like medical bills, emotional trauma and lost wages can be received.
Note that, at the scene of the accident, it’s important to not claim that no injuries were received as this statement could come back to hurt the person attempting to receive compensation for injuries that had not been felt in the immediate aftermath of the accident. As a result of that type of statement at that time, the insurance company can make a case for the injuries having not actually been experienced.
What Happens if No Police Report Filed, Insurance Carrier Not Told?
If somebody involved in an accident does not file a police report or tell his or her insurance carrier, several risks have been undertaken. Of course, it’s possible that no damage was done to either car, and neither person was or becomes injured as a result, resulting in no negative repercussions from the accident. However, the risk of taking this action is significant. One possible result is being injured and either not being able to be compensated for it or experiencing a much tougher fight than should have been necessary to receive any compensation. Another is the other party suing at a later time and possibly being left out to dry with his or her own insurance carrier possibly deciding not to take responsibility as far as legally defending the suit since the accident was not reported to them or to the police. In this case, an attorney would need to be paid for out of pocket.
Although it may seem like a hassle at the time to contact the police and the insurance carriers connected with the parties involved with the accident when no damage is believed to have been experienced by anybody in either vehicle or to the cars themselves, it’s worth it to do so. It’s just a few minutes of time, and the insurance companies would then have the paperwork if anything unexpectedly escalates later. But, if the due diligence is not done, the worse-case scenario options are pretty dire. The most positive outcome that will likely occur if the accident is reported at a later time by the other party will be some tough questions from the person’s own insurance company.
It should be noted that, in some cases, one party can be sued by the other after an accident even if the police were not called at the time.
Importance of Attorneys After Minor Traffic Accidents
On the one hand, those hurt in minor traffic accidents are welcome to represent themselves in cases resulting from those incidents while insurance companies will always be glad to work with claimants who simply accept their settlement offers without considering that they may not be even remotely as fair as they might seem at first look. However, consulting a personal injury attorney will help ensure that fair compensation, sometimes a significant increase over what had been initially offered, is received.
Part of the reason why having an attorney is essential is because the more damage that has been done to people involved with the accident or to the vehicles that were a part of it, the more likely that the insurance company being sued will be less willing to initially approve a fair amount of compensation.
Another benefit of consulting an attorney is that the entire process will generally be completed in a much quicker manner than if it was attempted without the assistance of a lawyer. It should also be noted that attorneys who are experienced in these types of cases will know just what needs to be done in order to complete every step of the process in a complete and correct manner. Ensuring that a case is not denied due to a technicality, including that the case was filed prior to the statute of limitations running out, and knowing which experts, if any, should be consulted in ensuring that a fair settlement is achieved are important contributions that a lawyer will make as well. Attorneys can also help determine if a settlement in a lump sum or one that incorporates a payment system is best in addition to ensuring that those hurt in an accident receive compensation from time lost at work as a result of their injuries. Additionally, if the accident resulted in injuries significant enough that the victim is not able to ever return to the line of work that he or she had been involved with beforehand, a lawyer will be able to ensure that this amount of damage to the victim’s quality of life is compensated for as fairly as possible.
Regardless of the circumstances of an accident, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and speak to an attorney as this is another case in which the risk of doing so is low, but the risk of not doing so is quite high.
Who to Call in Charleston After a Fender bender?
Those located in the Charleston, S.C., area should contact The Hartman Law Firm, LLC as Frank Hartman, Charleston’s personal injury and accident attorney, is experienced in these types of cases and will ensure that all of his clients receive the attention, advice and legal representation that they deserve and that they will receive fair settlements. Contacting his office is free, so it’s best to do so immediately, prior to the insurance company being contacted if possible, in order to see if a claim is in the client’s best interest as opposed to not doing so and possibly ending up with unnecessary and uncompensated medical bills or property damage expenses adding up.
Call Frank now at (843) 300-7600