When you’re in a car accident, it will probably feel like a big deal even if it was a small fender bender. You might be able to walk away with nothing more than a few bruises, but you may already be worrying about insurance issues and paying for any repairs. So what exactly is the difference between a minor and a major car accident?
There is no precise definition or a major or minor car accident. The difference between these two types of accidents is a matter of scale: the extent of your injuries, how much damage there was to your car, and how much money it will take to resolve the claim. A seasoned New York car accident attorney can help you understand your rights and get a fair settlement for your losses.
Based in Melville, The Odierno Law Firm represents injury victims throughout Long Island. For each case, our goal is to help our client get the highest possible recovery. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation, give our law office a call.
Minor vs. Major Car Accidents
As noted above, there isn’t clear guidance as to when a car accident is major or minor. Instead, it really depends on the facts of the case.
Generally, minor car accidents occur at low speeds and result in minimal property damage and injuries. These type of car crashes usually involve low levels of impact. Examples of property damage in minor car accidents include:
- A broken headlight or taillight
- Cracked windshield
- A small dent
- Scraped paint
For example, a driver is backing out of his driveway at a low speed and bumps into a car that is parked directly across from his driveway. Both his car and the other vehicle have tiny dents, and he doesn’t have any injuries. This type of low-speed, low-impact accident can almost certainly be classified as minor.
Injuries from a minor car accident are typically minimal as well, such as a few bruises or sore muscles. That being said, even relatively minor injuries can become more serious if the injury victim does not receive prompt medical attention. If you don’t get treatment for a common soft tissue injury like whiplash, for example, it could become worse over time.
By comparison, major car accidents usually occur at higher rates of speed and involve much higher impacts. They can result in property damage that is significant enough that the car is no longer driveable, such as one side of the car being completely smashed. More importantly, major car accidents are associated with serious, catastrophic, or even fatal injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries or paralysis
- Internal organ damage
- Multiple broken bones
A major car accident can often cause life-changing injuries that can lead to permanent disabilities. It is critical that you seek medical attention immediately after a car crash that involves these types of injuries.
Do I Still Need a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?
If you are involved in a minor car accident, you might not consider hiring a New York personal injury lawyer. After all, if your property damage and injuries were minimal, you might not need to go to the trouble of filing a lawsuit.
For some minor car accidents, it may be fine to negotiate directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to receive payment for your property damage and any medical bills. Keep in mind that the insurance company isn’t on your side – and that whatever settlement they offer you will almost certainly be a lowball amount. It also is unlikely to include compensation for intangible losses like pain and suffering or emotional distress.
If you have suffered anything other than a very minor injury – like a few cuts or some bruising – then you should probably consult with an attorney before talking to the insurance adjuster or signing any paperwork. Initial consultations are free of charge, so it makes sense to get an idea of the value of your case and your options before moving forward. You may discover that your case is worth more than you thought – and that a lawyer can help you get top dollar for your claim.
Studies show that people who are represented by counsel recover an average of 40% more than people who represent themselves. While it may not be necessary to hire a lawyer if you just have relatively insignificant damage to your car, if you suffered any injuries, an attorney can help you get the money that you deserve for your injuries.
Damages in a personal injury claim aren’t limited to just property damage or medical bills. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to money for:
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If the at-fault driver acted recklessly or intentionally, you may even be able to recover punitive damages. Talking to a New York car accident lawyer is the best way to understand the types of damages you may be able to recover AND to get a better sense of how you can proceed with a claim.
At The Odierno Law Firm, we handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we never charge you a fee upfront, and you only pay attorney’s fees if we recover money for you. Reach out to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team.
Hurt in a Car Accident? We Can Help.
Whether you have been in a minor or a major car accident, it is important to know that you have options. You don’t simply have to accept what the insurance company offers you. It is possible to advocate for yourself with the help of a New York car accident attorney.
The Odierno Law Firm represents accident victims in personal injury cases throughout Long Island. We work hard to ensure that our clients get the money that they deserve for their losses. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer,
call our law office at 631-933-1304 or fill out our online contact form.
The Odierno Law Firm, P.C., a personal injury firm serving the residents of Long Island, has been dedicated to helping the wrongfully injured recover the compensation that they deserve for the past 30 years. The legal team at our firm handles a wide variety of injury cases such as: auto accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death and many more! Our firm understands how devastating it can be to suffer a serious injury at the hands of a negligent party or individual, and for this reason, we do whatever we can to help our clients obtain the justice that they are looking for. If you have been involved in an accident and you believe that someone else is responsible for causing your injuries, do not hesitate to contact an experienced lawyer from our firm today. We offer a free consultation to anyone that is looking for answers.