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Do I Need an Attorney for a Low-Impact Collision?

March 26, 2024

Do I Need an Attorney for a Low-Impact Collision?

Getting into a car accident is never fun, even if it’s just a minor fender bender. But do you really need to hire a lawyer for a low-impact collision? The answer may surprise you.

What Qualifies as a “Low-Impact” Collision?

First off, let’s define what we mean by a “low-impact” collision. Generally speaking, this refers to accidents with minimal property damage and no apparent injuries at the scene. Think along the lines of:

  • Rear-end collisions at low speeds
  • Minor sideswipes in parking lots
  • Bumping into a pole or tree at slow speeds

Basically, if you can drive away from the scene without your car looking like an accordion, it probably qualifies as low-impact. 🚗💥

Why You Might Need a Lawyer Anyway

So if it’s just a little dent or ding, no biggie right? Not so fast. Even seemingly minor accidents can lead to major headaches down the road if you’re not careful. Here are a few reasons why lawyering up might be a smart move:

1. Injuries Aren’t Always Obvious

Just because you feel okay after a crash doesn’t mean you are okay. Some injuries, like whiplash or concussions, may not present symptoms until hours or days later. And without prompt medical attention and documentation, it can be tough to link those injuries back to the accident. A lawyer can help you navigate the process of getting checked out and creating a paper trail.

2. The Other Driver Might Be Shady

Maybe the guy who rear-ended you seemed nice enough at the scene. But what if he later tries to claim the accident was your fault? Or disappears when it’s time to pay up? An attorney can run interference with the other party and their insurance company to make sure you’re treated fairly.

3. Insurance Companies Aren’t Your Friend

Here’s a little secret: insurance adjusters are trained to pay out as little as possible on claims. They might seem sympathetic on the phone, but their job is to protect the company’s bottom line, not yours. Having a lawyer on your side levels the playing field and ensures you don’t get lowballed on a settlement.

4. Paperwork is a Pain

Dealing with insurance forms, police reports, medical records and repair bills is no one’s idea of a good time. An experienced car accident attorney knows how to cut through the red tape and handle the boring stuff so you don’t have to.

When You Can Probably Skip the Attorney

Okay, so there are definitely situations where calling a lawyer after a minor collision makes sense. But in the interest of fairness, let’s look at a few scenarios where you might be able to handle things on your own:

1. Zero Damage or Injuries

If you literally kissed bumpers with another car but there’s no visible damage and everyone feels fine, you can probably exchange info and move on with your life. Just snap some photos of the scene first in case the other driver tries to get sneaky later on.

2. You Have Quality Insurance

If you’ve got good collision coverage and the accident was the other driver’s fault, your insurance company should handle everything without much fuss. No need to get a lawyer involved. Of course, if they start giving you trouble, it might be time to call in reinforcements.

3. The Damages Are Minimal

If the repair estimate for your banged-up bumper comes in under your deductible amount, it’s probably not worth filing a claim or hiring an attorney. Just pay out of pocket and save yourself the headache.

How to Find the Right Lawyer

So let’s say you’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided you do want an attorney in your corner. How do you find a good one? It’s not like they teach “Car Accident Lawyer Shopping 101″ in school.Here are some tips:

  • Ask for referrals. Check with friends, family or coworkers who have been in accidents to see if they recommend their attorneys.
  • Check online reviews. Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell and Google are good places to start. Just take reviews with a grain of salt.
  • Look for experience. You want someone who specializes in car accident cases, not your cousin who does real estate law on the side. Sites like AvvoLawinfo and FindLaw let you filter by practice area.
  • Schedule consultations. Most car accident lawyers offer free initial consultations. Take advantage and meet with a few different attorneys before making a decision.
  • Trust your gut. You want an attorney who makes you feel heard, respected and confident they’ll fight for you. If something feels off, keep looking.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, whether you need a lawyer after a low-impact collision comes down to the specifics of your situation. But here’s a good rule of thumb:If there are injuries, significant damage or fault is disputed, you should probably lawyer up. If not, you might be okay going solo.The most important thing is to put your health and well-being first. Get checked out by a doctor, take photos of the damage, and notify your insurance company. Then you can decide if calling an attorney is the right move. And if you do end up needing legal representation, don’t be afraid to shop around until you find someone you trust.Hopefully this article has given you a better idea of what to do if you find yourself dealing with a low-impact collision. Remember, accidents happen to the best of us. The key is to stay calm, know your rights, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Safe driving out there! 🚘🚦

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Todd Spodek

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CLAIRE BANKS

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RAJESH BARUA

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