Any accident you’re in may feel like a major one, but there is a difference between a major and a minor accident. It depends on the level of damage to the car, the injuries to your body and mind, and the amount of money it will take to settle the matter.
A car accident lawyer might encourage you to take a settlement if your accident is too minor to merit the cost and time of a longer trial. Let’s talk about some examples of minor auto accidents and their differences from major accidents.
Examples of Minor Car Accidents
Minor auto accidents typically involve slight damage to the vehicle that does not impede the vehicle’s ability to operate or cause severe injuries. Examples of minor auto accidents may include:
- A slight fender bender
- Busted headlight/ taillight
- Small dent in the side of the vehicle
- Cracked windshield
- Busted tired
For instance, a person may rear-end your vehicle and cause a few dents or scratches to the bumper. As far as car damage goes, a minor accident is one where you can still drive away from the scene of the accident. If your car is totaled, that’s a major accident.
Major vs. Minor Injuries
A major injury is one that threatens your life or makes you disabled, like a traumatic brain injury. A minor one does not. A soft-tissue injury like a bruise or whiplash isn’t likely to kill you. However, some minor injuries can turn into major ones after the fact.
This is why it’s important to get checked out as soon as possible after your accident. A doctor can find these hidden progressive injuries and treat them before they have a major impact on your health.
It’s also why you shouldn’t take a settlement offer early from an insurance company even if you feel fine. It can take days or weeks for an injury to worsen. If you’ve already accepted a settlement, you won’t be able to get more money.
Reporting Minor Auto Accidents
Regardless of how minor the damage is to your vehicle, you should always report it to your insurance company, and, if possible, alert the police. There are several reasons why reporting the accident to the insurance company and the police is beneficial including:
Reporting the Accident Is Required By the Insurer
Your insurance company may require you to report any damage that occurs to your vehicle after an accident. Even if you do not plan to use your coverage, the insurer wants to document the incident in case future accidents occur in the same area of your car. Therefore, make sure you report the accident and give the details of the damage.
A Police Report May Be Evidence of Fault and Liability
You are not required to report an accident to the police unless you or someone else was injured in the accident. However, it never hurts to contact the police regardless of how minor the accident is. Your lawyer can use the police report as a basis for your personal injury claim.
A police report contains details of the accident such as the property damage, the nature and extent of the injuries, how the accident occurred, and who is presumed to be at fault. So, you may want to call the police when you are in an accident.
Common Injuries in a Minor Auto Accident
A minor accident may cause minimal damage to your vehicle. However, it can still lead to severe injuries, leaving you with medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Injuries associated with minor auto accidents may include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Scratches or severe bruises
- Broken bones
- Pulled or strained muscles/ligaments
Whiplash occurs when the force of the impact causes your head and neck to move back and forth in a whip-like motion. This type of movement can hurt your skull, neck muscles, or spinal cord. Symptoms include dizziness and loss of range of motion in the neck.
Head injuries like concussions or traumatic brain injuries may have a delayed reaction after the accident. It may take weeks or months for you to realize that you have a head injury.
It is crucial that you seek emergency medical attention after an accident regardless of how minor your injuries may appear. You may also want to consult a car accident lawyer.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim After the Accident
If you are injured in an auto accident, you have the right to explore your legal options and pursue compensation for your damages. You may be entitled to recover losses such as:
Regardless of the severity of injuries, you may be able to recover up to 100 percent of your medical bills. This may include a visit to the ER, surgical procedures, hospital expenses, physical therapy, or pain medication. The at-fault party should compensate you for all your accident-related medical expenses.
If you spent time at home recovering from your injuries, you may have lost pay from being out of work. Your attorney can work with your employer to determine how much total income you lost.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is compensation for your physical and emotional distress. Recovering from injuries after a car accident is never easy. You may experience ongoing physical pain and emotional trauma. If so, your lawyer can help you estimate the value of these types of damages.
If you have never been in an auto accident, you may not realize what your personal injury claim is worth. An attorney can investigate the accident, help you establish who is at fault, and help you calculate the actual value of your claim.
Call Morelli Law Firm Today for Legal Support
Even a minor auto accident can lead to major damages. If you have questions about your auto accident, contact Morelli Law Firm. We can answer our questions and get started on your personal injury case. Call us or use our contact form to get a free case evaluation from a member of our team.