Vehicle accidents are not uncommon throughout California. The vast majority of motor vehicle accidents are relatively minor and are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. However, many people wonder whether or not they need an attorney after being involved in a minor auto accident. The answer is that there are some cases where an attorney may not be necessary. However, there are also cases where a person involved in a minor vehicle accident may, in fact, need an attorney. Here, we want to discuss some relevant factors you need to consider when determining whether or not you need an attorney for your California auto accident case.
Insurance Settlements May Be the Quicker Route, but Are They the Right Choice?
Most minor vehicle accidents tend to be resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. In general, this is the quickest and easiest way to get a vehicle repaired and cover any minor medical expenses that may have occurred. However, it is important to understand that insurance carriers are generally reluctant to pay out any settlement at all, regardless of how clear the fault is. Insurance carriers will use various tactics to get property damage and injury victims to settle for much less than they could actually settle for. One of the tactics that these carriers use is to try to get the victims involved to settle quickly before they have time to realize the full extent of their property damage or injuries.
That said, there are various circumstances where a minor vehicle accident could be handled without an attorney. There are indeed many circumstances where the injuries and damages are straightforward and clear for every party involved. However, if any of the following situations should arise, we strongly urge you to seek assistance from a skilled Upland car accident attorney:
If there is a dispute over who caused the crash
If there is a dispute about how much compensation you should receive for your property damage or injuries
If you realize that your injuries are more serious than you thought
If the other party files a lawsuit against you
If you are unsure about how to proceed with your case
Disputes about liability and compensation amounts should be resolved through negotiations with insurance carriers or even through a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Many of these cases will need to be heard in front of a judge or a jury, but even cases that involve only insurance carriers may require assistance from an attorney. Insurance claims adjusters are trained negotiators, and they understand what it takes to limit the amount of money they pay in a settlement. However, an attorney will counter these tactics to help their client obtain full compensation.
The Accident May Not Be “Minor” After All
Sometimes, what seems like a “minor” vehicle accident is not actually minor after all. In the aftermath of the crash, adrenaline begins to run through a person’s body and can mask the severity of many injuries. It is not uncommon for car accident victims to begin to experience injury signs and symptoms hours or even days after a crash occurs.
Additionally, what may only look like minor cosmetic damage could mask more severe damage to the vehicle. A person may be quick to write off a fender bender as a minor incident only to realize that they have actually sustained damage to the frame of the vehicle.