Hawk Law Group | March 29, 2022 | Car Accidents
No one can tell you when to hire a lawyer. Many insurance claims are resolved without the involvement of a lawyer. Non-lawyers can even get a fair settlement in a lawsuit without hiring representation.
But these outcomes represent outliers. Most of the time, you will get a better resolution in your personal injury case if you have an experienced lawyer representing your interests.
Here are some situations in which you should consider hiring a lawyer after a minor car accident in Aiken County.
What Is a Minor Car Accident?
South Carolina does not classify accidents as minor. Instead, it classifies accidents as:
- Property damage-only (PDO)
- Other injury
- Serious injury
If an accident only damages property, no matter how large the damages might be, South Carolina classifies it as PDO.
If someone involved in the accident complains of pain or has a visible injury but does not require transportation to the hospital, the state considers it to be an “other injury” collision.
When someone requires transportation to the hospital, South Carolina classifies the accident as a “serious injury” collision.
Some examples of serious injuries include:
- Severe lacerations
- Exposed tissue or organs
- Significant loss of blood
- Broken or distorted limb
- Crush injuries
- Second- or third-degree burns
- Head, chest, or abdominal injury (more severe than bruises)
- Loss of consciousness
What a lawyer can do to help you will depend on what you mean by “minor.” If you suffered any injuries at all, you should consider hiring a lawyer. If your crash was a PDO collision, you might also need a lawyer, depending on the value of your property.
When You Should Consider Hiring a Lawyer After an Injury Accident
You should always consider hiring a lawyer after an injury accident. Without compensation from the at-fault driver, you will need to bear the expenses associated with your injuries. This could include your medical bills and the income you lost while recovering.
If you do not pursue and win compensation, you could end up with an unfair result in which you, the accident victim, are left to pay for the damages from the accident. Meanwhile, the at-fault driver gets away without paying anything, including increased insurance premiums, for causing the accident.
Bear in mind that minor injuries can mask serious injuries. Pain from a bruised knee might conceal torn ligaments or cartilage in your knee. Once your bruised knee heals, you may need to deal with a more serious knee injury.
Minor injuries can also worsen with time. Concussions often have symptoms that appear days or even weeks after the initial injury. Concussion symptoms appear as the brain begins to become inflamed and swollen.
This process takes time. Your headache after a car accident could turn out to be a debilitating concussion as your symptoms increase in frequency and severity when your brain swells.
There are some specific situations where winning compensation becomes essential, including:
You Lack Health Insurance
Medical care is expensive, even when your injuries are relatively minor. An emergency room visit for stitches and X-rays will probably cost you a few thousand dollars.
Medical providers in Aiken County have two options for treating you after a minor car accident.
In most cases, you can use your health insurance to get medical treatment, therapy, and medication. You can then pursue a compensation claim to reimburse you for all of the out-of-pocket expenses you face, including copays and deductibles.
Alternatively, the medical providers can take a lien on your injury claim. This means that the medical providers agree to wait until your claim gets settled before receiving payment from your settlement.
Medical liens help accident victims without savings or health insurance to get necessary medical treatment. If you have no health insurance, medical liens might provide the only path to getting the treatment you need. But to get a medical lien, you usually need an injury lawyer to provide documentation of your case.
Your Claim Is Taking Too Long
After you file an injury claim for your minor injuries, the insurer will assign a claims adjuster to it. The adjuster reviews the proof of loss documents you submit with the claim. The adjuster decides whether to accept or deny your claim. If the insurer accepts your claim, you will negotiate with the insurer for a fair settlement.
Adjusters must take good-faith steps to reach a “prompt, fair, and equitable settlement” of your claim. But these words have different meanings to claimants and insurers. If the insurer has dragged out the negotiations, you should consider calling a lawyer.
Insurers tend to avoid playing games with lawyers. They know that a lawyer can prepare and file a lawsuit quickly if the negotiations are bogged down. They also know that a lawyer has the background to tell when the insurer has acted in bad faith. This could expose the insurer to a lawsuit for breaking South Carolina’s Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act.
The Insurer Denied Your Claim
If you receive a claim denial, you should call a lawyer. Oftentimes, a lawyer can overcome a claim denial by submitting additional documents.
Thus, if the insurer denies the claim because you received unnecessary treatment, the lawyer can submit a letter from your doctor explaining the necessity of the treatment.
You Suffered Mental or Emotional Injuries
Mental and emotional injuries are compensable injuries. But these injuries might require more detailed documentation to establish a right to injury compensation.
If you can prove mental or emotional injuries, you can pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. If you suffered from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or anxiety in the aftermath of the accident, you might be eligible to receive substantial damages.
Picking a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident Case
Injury lawyers typically offer free initial consultations. You can use this time to interview the lawyer and determine what the lawyer can do for your case. If the lawyer cannot help you with your minor car accident, the lawyer will explain why.
Bear in mind that reasonable minds can differ. If a lawyer declines your case, you could contact another lawyer for another opinion.
Lawyers can provide essential skills, experience, and knowledge to guide your case to a fair conclusion. Even if you get into a minor car accident, you may benefit from a lawyer’s assistance.
Contact the Car Accident Lawyers In the Central Savannah River Area at Hawk Law Group for Legal Assistance Today
We serve throughout the Central Savannah River Area and its surrounding areas:
We also serve in Edgefield County, SC.