Sometimes, a fender bender is just a fender bender. When that’s genuinely the case, it’s a good reason to be grateful. In other situations, what initially seems to be a relatively minor accident can turn into something more significant—and here are reasons why it can be in your best interests to contact a personal injury attorney when injuries don’t seem to be severe.
How the Body Responds to Injuries
The human body is amazing. After a stressful or traumatic situation, certain chemicals can be released (adrenaline and endorphins) that can give a person extra energy to deal with the situation and sometimes even temporarily block pain. Think of an athlete who keeps going in their quest in spite of injuries and this can be an example of the body supplying these chemicals.
The problem, though, is that the response of these chemicals is temporary. Although you may feel fine immediately after the accident, pain can then set in from your injuries—sometimes taking days or weeks for the extent of your injuries to become apparent. This is why it’s recommended that you get medical attention after an accident, even if injuries don’t seem significant.
Types of Injuries
Some of the more common types of injuries that may not immediately be apparent can affect the back, neck, or spine. Whiplash is a good example. According to the Mayo Clinic, this condition is caused by having your head “forcefully and quickly thrown backward and then forward,” which can lead to spinal injuries, as well as to “disks between the bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves and other tissues of the neck.”
The medical site notes how many people can recover within a few weeks but adds that others continue to have pain for months, even years—and it’s “difficult to predict how each person with whiplash will recover.”
Other conditions that may not be fully apparent after an accident include concussions and traumatic brain injuries. Plus, a minor headache after an injury may not seem too significant but, for some people, this can turn into a chronic painful condition. Other times, damage to organs or internal bleeding can initially go unnoticed, post-accident.
Since not all injuries are immediately obvious after an accident, we recommend getting medical attention after the accident occurs and also reach out to a personal injury lawyer as a proactive measure.
Other Reasons to Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
In some situations, the injuries sustained and property damage that takes place during an accident may not be severe—and yet, they can still be significant.
After the accident, the other driver may dispute the specifics of what happened and claim to not be at fault.
The other party’s insurance company will likely try to get a statement from you and, when possible, they will use it to offer the lowest compensation possible. Then, it can be tempting to accept the settlement from the other party’s insurance company when you’re still recovering from an accident. Medical bills can be piling up and you need to get your vehicle repaired or replaced—but, by accepting that settlement, you very well may be leaving money on the table that you’ll need to properly recover from the accident.
As a recap, three reasons why it’s beneficial to contact a personal injury lawyer after an accident, even if injuries don’t seem severe, include:
- Your injuries may be more significant than you first realize.
- The other party may try to deny fault.
- Insurance companies will offer the lowest settlement.
In each of these cases, an experienced attorney can advocate for you to receive fair compensation.
Statute of Limitations
Although a personal injury claim does not need to be filed immediately after the accident, there is a time frame that, in legal terms, is its “statute of limitations.” If your claim isn’t filed within that time period, it’s likely that a court would refuse to hear it, even if you have a good case.
In Florida, you typically have four years from the accident’s date to file a personal injury claim, although there are exceptions.
Contact Our Law Firm: Harrell & Harrell, P.A.
The personal injury attorneys in our law office are highly experienced in aggressively pursuing the compensation our clients deserve. We’ve represented accident victims with a broad range of personal injury types and have former nurses on our staff, with an in-house medical library for our team. We also retain professional services from top medical doctors who provide careful analyses and expert testimony.
As just one example, we’ve secured a $9,400,000 settlement for the victim of a motorcycle accident. This off-duty police officer was hit by a woman who made a sudden turn and he became an “incomplete paraplegic.” The insurance company initially offered a $1 million settlement, so we took the case to court.
Here at Harrell & Harrell, P.A., we view damages from the physical viewpoint, but also factor in your long-term financial and emotional future when pursuing compensation and fighting for justice. Plus, our law firm doesn’t just take “big” cases or ones with “serious” injuries. We have a commitment to excellence across a broad range of situations. For a free consultation about your personal injury situation, please contact us online or call our law office at (904) 251-1111.