Should You Hire a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident?
If you were in a car accident, you might think the damage is minor and you won’t need a lawyer to help you with your claim. However, you could be owed more compensation than you think, even for a minor car accident. By failing to get a lawyer, you could wind up losing out on valuable compensation or lose your right to pursue a claim entirely. Additionally, if your damages turn out later to be worse than you thought but you’ve already settled your claim, it’s too late to do anything about it and get the care and compensation you need.
Many people hesitate to hire a lawyer due to the perceived cost, but a car accident lawyer can help you by reviewing the details of your accident without charging for the consultation. In addition to offering a free initial consultation, most personal injury attorneys, including those at the Kohn Law Firm in The Bronx, work on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay nothing unless you win the case. When you consider the potential benefits, the cost of hiring an attorney often justifies itself.
Even in minor accidents, insurance companies will start an investigation immediately. Their goal is to minimize any payout. Having an attorney ensures that your rights are protected and that you are not taken advantage of.
In New York, you have a three-year window to file a personal injury lawsuit, which also applies to car accident cases. This countdown starts on the day the accident takes place. However, be aware that specific situations could significantly shorten this time frame for taking legal action. Talking to a lawyer promptly helps protect your rights to file a claim. In addition, the sooner you act, the sooner you can get started on your case for damages.
Evidence is also more likely to be found if action is taken sooner rather than later. Evidence can include eyewitness statements, camera footage, medical documentation, pictures of the damage, and mechanic statements. This evidence can deteriorate or disappear if it is not secured in a timely manner.
New York’s No-Fault Insurance Law
New York is a “no-fault” insurance state, which means that your Personal Injury Protection insurance will cover your medical expenses and lost wages up to a certain limit, regardless of who was at fault. However, the no-fault law has its limitations and complexities. And if you suffered a “serious injury” as defined in New York’s no-fault insurance law, you might have a claim for damages against the at-fault driver. Even after a minor accident, it’s important to get thoroughly checked out by a physician to determine the nature and extent of any injuries you may have suffered. A skilled auto accident attorney can help you navigate all aspects of the legal process to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Minor accidents can sometimes result in injuries that manifest later or damages that aren’t immediately apparent. An attorney can help you get a comprehensive medical evaluation and vehicle assessment to ascertain the full extent of damages.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators. They aim to settle claims for as little as possible. An experienced attorney can negotiate on your behalf, ensuring that you receive a fair settlement.
When to Consider Legal Help
1. Unclear Liability: If your claim falls outside of the no-fault system because of your injuries but it’s unclear who was at fault, an attorney can help gather evidence to support your case.
2. Multiple Parties Involved: When more than two parties are involved, determining liability becomes complex. Legal counsel can simplify this process.
3. Injury Symptoms Appear Later: Some injuries, like whiplash, don’t show immediate symptoms. An attorney can help you claim compensation for such injuries, ensuring you get appropriate medical care, building your case, and not settling your claim until the full extent of your damages are known.
Contact Kohn Law Firm
While it may seem unnecessary to hire a lawyer after a minor car accident, the complexities of New York’s no-fault insurance law, coupled with the tactics insurance companies employ, make it a prudent choice. An experienced attorney can protect your rights, accurately assess damages, and negotiate effectively with insurance companies. If it turns out you don’t need an attorney to handle your case, a trustworthy and experienced car accident lawyer will let you know your options without charging for their time.
If you’ve been involved in a minor car accident in The Bronx, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice. Contact the Kohn Law Firm today for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.