Low-impact car accidents occur at low speeds and cause little harm to the body of the car. Most of the time, they also cause little or no significant injury. Examples are rear-end collisions at red lights, parking lot accidents, and other fender benders.
While low-impact car accidents usually are not life-threatening, they can cause significant and lasting injuries. It is important to take them seriously and get medical care if you have signs or symptoms of an injury. A car accident attorney can help you understand your legal options for paying for this care, any lost income, and other costs.
Can I File a Claim or Lawsuit Based on a Low Impact Car Accident?
If you suffer injuries or property damage in a low-impact crash, you can file an insurance claim or lawsuit to recover compensation for your expenses and losses. Most states have laws that allow victims hurt in a crash to recover fair payouts to cover their related costs.
You will need evidence to show the other driver caused the collision and you suffered damages. Working with a lawyer will make developing this type of case easier. You can focus on your treatment or get back to your previous activities while a lawyer manages your claim or lawsuit.
Most low-impact car accident cases settle without filing a lawsuit or going to trial. Instead, the victim or their lawyer files a claim and demands fair compensation from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. Since these damages are rarely catastrophic, they usually do not reach policy limits. This could make it easier to negotiate a fair settlement.
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Why Is It Important to Ensure I Am Not Hurt Following a Low-Impact Crash?
Many people assume they are fine when there is little damage to a vehicle and a crash occurs at low speeds. However, this is not always true. Injuries can happen in any collision. Research published in Spine shows a possibility of neck strain, whiplash, and other related injuries in low-impact car accidents.
Whiplash is a soft tissue injury that affects the neck, shoulders, and upper arms. When the head whips back and forth beyond its normal range of motion because of a crash, this can cause strains and sprains in the soft tissues that support it. Whiplash often goes away with minimal treatment in a few days or weeks.
Sometimes, whiplash requires physical therapy or develops into a chronic pain condition. Even a minor collision could result in lasting issues with working and other activities because of a limited range of motion, chronic pain, or the medications necessary to manage the pain.
What Are My Recoverable Damages in a Low-Impact Car Accident?
The goal of pursuing compensation following any crash is to hold the at-fault driver accountable and recover money to pay the expenses and cover the losses you suffered because of it. To this end, almost any costs incurred are recoverable damages as long as you can show they occurred because of the collision.
Each case is unique, and you must document your damages with bills, receipts, estimates, and other paperwork. For future expenses, expert input might be necessary. Some common recoverable damages in a low-impact crash include:
- Medical bills related to your injuries, current and future
- Future care costs if you suffer lasting injuries
- Income losses if your injuries or treatment caused you to miss work
- Reduced earning capacity if you have lasting injuries and cannot earn the same income as before
- Property damage, including car repairs
- Related expenses with receipts
- Pain and suffering from damages
Your attorney will help you determine what a fair settlement value might be in your case. Of the common expenses and losses in a low-impact collision, pain and suffering are the most difficult to calculate. In catastrophic or serious injury crashes, these are often significant. However, these damages are not worth as much when there are only minor injuries. In this way, it will depend greatly on the case facts and supporting evidence.
What Are My Options for Recovering Damages in a Crash?
There are usually two ways to recover compensation after any traffic accident:
- File a claim against the at-fault driver
- Sue the at-fault driver
Most low-impact car accident cases settle through an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. This process requires you or your attorney to:
- Investigate the crash
- Gather evidence to show fault and liability
- Document your damages
- Demand fair compensation based on the evidence
- Negotiate with the insurer for a fair settlement
Because these cases rarely result in high payouts, lawsuits are rare. They usually do not continue to trial even when there is a lawsuit. The cost of a lawsuit and trial could quickly eclipse the expenses related to the crash.
If you have full coverage insurance, you might use your collision and medical payments coverage to pay for your medical care and car repairs, then let your insurance company handle the rest. This is common, especially in property damage-only crashes.
You receive the payout from your insurer—minus your deductible. Then, your insurance company uses a process called subrogation to get their money reimbursed. Finally, they pay you the money from your deductible when the other insurer pays them.
Discuss Your Next Steps With a Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Car accident lawyers from the Morris Bart law firm represent crash victims hurt in all types of collisions in our service area. That includes low-impact collisions. We serve all parts of the Gulf South: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas.
We offer free case consultations with an attorney and serve clients based on a contingency fee. You do not have to pay anything to speak to a lawyer or hire our team to represent you. Contact us today on the phone or using our online form. We can discuss your next steps now.
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