Can You Sue Someone For a Minor Car Accident?
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that there are over 5 million motor vehicle crashes on US roads each year. Fortunately, many of these collisions did not result in serious injury. However, even minor car accidents can leave victims with medical bills, property damage, and other losses.
If you were involved in a minor car accident, you may be wondering whether you can sue the driver for damages. Yes, you have the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver anytime you are involved in a car accident. However, before suing, you should ask yourself, “Is filing a lawsuit in my best interests?” and “Will my lawsuit be successful?”
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you answer these questions and determine your best options to recover maximum compensation. Our law firm is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact Phillips Law Group to get the professional legal help you deserve during a free, no-obligation case review session.
Examples of Minor Car Accidents
Any car accident that you are involved in may seem major to you, but there is a difference between a major and a minor car accident. Whether a motor vehicle accident is major or minor depends on various factors, such as the level of physical and psychological injuries sustained, the extent of damage to the vehicle, and how much money it will take to settle the matter.
Examples of minor motor vehicle accidents include but are not limited to:
- Broken headlights or taillights
- Damage to one or more tires
- Cracked or broken windshield
- Small dings or dents on the side of the vehicle
- Damage to a side mirror
An auto accident is usually considered to be minor if there are no serious injuries and you are able to drive away in your own vehicle. For this reason, the damage in a minor collision is usually aesthetic only.
Minor Car Accident Injuries
Most minor car crashes occur at low speeds, such as while driving in a parking lot, which is why they typically do not result in serious injury or property damage. However, minor auto accidents can still result in injuries that require medical treatment.
The following are examples of injuries that are commonly sustained in minor car accidents:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Whiplash and other soft tissue damage
- Broken bones
- Pulled muscles
It is important to seek medical attention even if your injuries seem minor. A superficial cut left untreated could become infected and turn into a more serious wound. In addition, the extent of some injuries, such as a concussion, may not be apparent until days after the crash.
When it comes time to file a claim or sue the negligent driver for damages, it is important to have a solid medical record built up over time, starting from the date of your collision. This proves that you were injured in the car accident and that your medical condition is not the result of something else.
Deciding Whether to Report a Minor Car Accident
After being involved in a minor collision, you may be debating whether to report the accident to the police and insurance company.
Reporting a car accident to law enforcement
Every state has different laws regarding the reporting of car accidents. In Arizona, drivers are required to report all motor vehicle accidents that caused injuries or property damage. Reporting the collision at the crash scene is an important step to protecting your legal rights.
You can report the car accident by calling 911 immediately after the incident occurs. The 911 operator may then put you in contact with local law enforcement, who will dispatch an officer to the scene of the accident. Depending on the severity of the accident, the officer will fill out an official police report.
A copy of the police report is usually requested by the insurance company when pursuing compensation for damages. When filing a lawsuit against a negligent driver, the police report can be valuable evidence.
Reporting a car accident to your insurance company
You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible after being involved in a car accident, even a minor one. The only exception might be if no one was injured and there is no discernible property damage.
Be sure to exchange insurance information with the other driver and contact his or her insurer as soon as possible after the accident. It is recommended to inform the insurance company within 24 hours of the collision to ensure that you meet any deadlines the insurer may have.
The sooner you start the claims process, the better chance that you will have for a positive outcome. If you wait days or even weeks to report the accident, the insurance company might use this delay against you. They could claim that you did not really suffer any injuries or property damage in the collision and that your losses were sustained in a prior incident.
Reasons to Sue Following a Minor Car Accident
Most minor car accident damages are settled through negotiations with the insurance company. However, there are some situations where you may choose to hire a car accident attorney and sue the negligent driver.
The following are some reasons why it may be in your best interests to sue following a minor car accident:
- The at-fault driver does not have insurance. If the driver who hit you is uninsured, you may consider suing for damages to recover compensation. However, the reason why many drivers do not have auto insurance is because he or she cannot afford to pay the premiums. Filing a lawsuit against the driver may not be beneficial if he or she does not have any financial assets to draw from.
- The insurance company does not offer a fair payout. You may choose to sue if you filed a claim with your own insurer and the negligent parties, and your medical bills, property damage, or other losses are not covered by the amount the insurance company is offering. Generally, just filing a lawsuit is enough for the insurance company to agree to negotiate a fair settlement.
- You want to recover damages for pain and suffering. If you are suffering mental and emotional effects from the car accident, you may want to sue for damages for pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you gather the evidence needed to file a lawsuit for pain and suffering.
Schedule a Free Case Review Today
If you have been involved in a car accident, you have the legal right to pursue money for the damages you have suffered as a result. A personal injury attorney can offer legal advice and explore all of your options for compensation. If necessary, our car accident lawyers are prepared to sue and litigate your case in court if that is what is needed to obtain fair compensation for you and your family.
Our car accident lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means that we charge no upfront fees and only require payment if we successfully recover compensation on your behalf.
At Phillips Law Group, we have 30 years of experience helping car accident victims in Arizona and the surrounding area and have helped our clients recover over $1 billion in damages.
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