Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer for a Minor Accident

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Minor car accidents happen every day. In fact, they happen so frequently that society has a name for them: fender benders. If you were involved in a fender bender or an equally minor collision in Michigan, you may feel annoyed that you now have to deal with your auto insurance company. Beyond that, though, you may not feel a need to make a fuss out of the incident, and you certainly may not think to hire a car accident lawyer. However, maybe you should make a big deal out of the accident or, at the very least, consult with a personal injury attorney.

It Costs You Nothing To Consult With a Car Accident Attorney

At Mike Morse Law Firm, we offer free consultations to car accident victims throughout Detroit, Southfield and the surrounding areas. This is not an uncommon practice. Many personal injury lawyers willingly meet with car accident victims and/or their family members to discuss the potential of a claim and to identify steps victims should take to build a strong case. Without meeting with an attorney, you may unwittingly make mistakes that could cause you to forfeit your right to file a claim in the future, should you decide you need to.

Your Damages May Be More Extensive Than You Think

Aside from the fact that consulting with an attorney will cost you nothing, the best reason to have a lawyer on retainer is the fact that your damages may be more significant than you think. Following a car accident, you may experience a rush of adrenaline that masks the pain you may otherwise feel. This is your body’s fight or flight response kicking into gear, which helps it to better deal with traumatizing events. Once the adrenaline wears off, however, you may notice symptoms you did not notice at the scene of the accident. It can take up to an hour for the rush of endorphins to leave the body once they kick in.

If your symptoms do not develop within a few hours following the crash, that does not necessarily mean you are in the clear. For certain injuries, the symptoms may not develop for hours, days or even weeks following a crash. Unfortunately, many of these injuries require ongoing treatment and rehabilitation efforts. Below are the most common types of hidden injuries for which you want to keep an eye out.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries occur when the tendons, muscles or ligaments sustain damage during a traumatizing event, such as a car accident. Whiplash is an example of a soft tissue injury that is a common result of car crashes — even crashes that occur at low speeds. Per the Cleveland Clinic, symptoms of whiplash may not manifest for days following a crash. When they do, you may experience the following:

  • Neck pain with movement
  • Neck stiffness and swelling
  • Headaches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Memory loss
  • Shoulder pain
  • Fatigue

Symptoms of whiplash should resolve within a few days to three months of the crash. However, studies show that as much as 50% of whiplash patients experience chronic neck pain for up to a year after the triggering incident. You are more likely to experience lingering pain if you develop memory problems, experience severe pain immediately, and/or experience shooting pain that travels up and down the arms into the fingers.

Head Injuries

Head injuries are another common type of car accident injury. You can develop a head injury in a minor fender bender just as easily as you can develop one in a more severe collision. Though head injuries are severe, many associated symptoms do not develop for hours or days following a collision. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, fatigue, ringing in the ears, blurred vision and confusion.

Regardless of how minor a head injury may seem at first, without proper treatment, it can drastically affect several areas of your life. More severe head injuries can have long-term effects, which may include behavioral changes, sensory issues, communication problems, cognitive dysfunction and a higher risk of early-onset degenerative brain disease.

Psychological Injuries

Following a car accident, it is only natural to feel some sort of adverse emotional reaction. When the accident initially happens, you may feel shock and anger. Immediately afterward and in the days following, you may become frustrated and overwhelmed by the logistics that you now have to handle, such as filing an insurance claim and seeking quotes for car repairs. You may also experience slight anxiety over driving, particularly when you drive near the scene of the accident or a scene like it.

All these emotions are normal to feel in the days, weeks or even months following an accident. However, if those emotions begin to consume your everyday life, or if they intensify with time rather than subside, you may have a more serious issue to contend with, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. If you have PTSD, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • An ongoing and general sense of uneasiness
  • Irritability or excessive anger or worry
  • Excessive anxiety regarding riding in vehicles or driving
  • Trouble sleeping or nightmares
  • Feelings of disconnectedness
  • Ongoing memories of the accident that you cannot stop or control

Without proper treatment, PTSD can last for a lifetime.

Receiving Compensation for Delayed Injuries

Though not immediately obvious and, therefore, not immediately alarming, delayed injuries can drastically interfere with your long-term physical, emotional and financial well-being. The good news is that you can recover compensation for delayed injuries, so long as you file your claim in a timely fashion. The bad news is that recovering compensation for delayed injuries is more difficult than recovering for immediate harms, as victims often do not have adequate evidence linking their symptoms to the accident.

To ensure you can recover compensation for delayed injuries without having to overcome too many obstacles, proceed as if you sustained severe injuries from day one. Seek medical treatment as soon after the accident as possible, avoid accepting the first settlement check the insurance company offers and consult with a reputable personal injury attorney in Michigan. By taking appropriate steps from day one, you can protect your rights to compensation should you need it.

Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims in Michigan

If you do decide that you need to hire an attorney and file a personal injury claim for damages, you will need to act quickly. The statute of limitations on personal injury claims in Michigan is three years from the date of the accident or from the date you discover your injuries. If you fail to file your claim within this time limit, you may forfeit your rights to recovery entirely.

Consult With a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

Remember, it will cost you nothing to consult with a Michigan car accident attorney. However, even a single one-hour meeting can provide you with a wealth of information regarding ways to protect your rights should you later decide you need to pursue additional compensation.

Regardless of what time of day or night your accident happens, call 855-Mike-Wins to schedule your free case review. If you do not have a case now, our team will keep your information on file should things change for the worse in the future. Taking preemptive measures can go a long way to securing your future rights to compensation.

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