Auto Accident Claims: Personal Injury vs. Car Crash Damage
Car crashes vary in severity depending on many factors, including the angle of impact, the size of the vehicles involved and the speeds they were traveling. Some crashes might mangle cars but leave the driver injury free. Other accidents lead to only minor car body damage but cause serious harm to the people inside.
That’s why, when you’re involved in a crash, it’s helpful to know what kind of representation you might need. Should you hire a personal injury attorney for a fender bender? If you’re not hurt in an accident, do you still need a lawyer?
When do you have a property damage claim?
Many people assume personal injury cases are the default for any car accident. In truth, though, accidents where the damage is strictly limited to property don’t fall under a personal injury attorney’s practice. Instead, the driver makes a property damage claim against the insurer, negotiating for a payout that covers necessary auto repairs, plus extra costs like towing fees, rental car expenses and the value of items damaged in the crash.
Because such settlements are low compared to medical-related settlements, insurance companies are usually inclined to move quickly and process claims, allowing for speedy car repairs.
When do you have a personal injury claim?
Personal injury claims are much more complicated, and, because the stakes are higher for everyone, they require professional representation. Personal injury lawyers work to help crash victims obtain compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, plus pain and suffering or disfigurement. Catastrophic injuries can lead to settlements in the millions. But even common injuries from low-speed crashes may result in medical bills high enough to make insurance companies put up a fight.
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, the most important thing to do is see a doctor as soon as possible. Drivers sometimes make the mistake of assuming that if an accident barely damaged their vehicle, their injuries must not be that serious either. Sometimes, they attempt to push through pain, assuming that soreness or a limited range of motion will improve in time.
Unfortunately, insurance companies look for treatment delays. If a driver ignores a soft tissue injury after a crash, but later receives a diagnosis requiring weeks of physical therapy, insurance adjusters may argue that the injury occurred after the crash in question. In order to increase your chances for a fair settlement:
- Always seek medical attention after a crash if you’re hurt.
- If you realize you’re injured later, see a doctor as soon as possible.
- Keep track of your appointments and follow through with any specialist referrals.
- Document your medical treatment and diagnosis.
Because insurance companies will sometimes try to offer unfairly low settlements, be cautious in your interactions. Before you accept a settlement, it’s important to understand the full medical picture of your injury and what your future expenses are likely to be. Experienced personal injury attorneys have a strong sense of what common injuries cost to treat. Your attorney will handle conversations with the insurance company for you, working to get you the compensation you deserve.
Personal injury attorneys will sometimes also handle property damage claims stemming from the same crash as the injury suit.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney at Buzzell, Welsh & Hill
If you’ve been hurt in a crash, you need an attorney who knows how to negotiate with the insurance companies. At Buzzell, Welsh & Hill, our team has the experience and knowledge to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (478) 217-2072 for a free case consultation.