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Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident in NYC?

Posted in Car Accidents on December 8, 2021

Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident in NYC?

Is it necessary to hire a lawyer when you’re in a minor car accident in New York City? This question has no easy answer. If a minor accident produces only property damage, you might not need an injury lawyer. However, you may want to talk to a lawyer about filing a lawsuit or an insurance claim for the damaged property.

If you have a car accident that produces minor injuries, you should consider speaking to a lawyer for several reasons. Since most injury lawyers offer free consultations, speaking to a lawyer will help you understand your options.

Minor Car Accidents in NYC

New York City sees about 10,000 traffic collisions every month. About half of those produce property damage only. Roughly half of the damage-only accidents involve only one vehicle.

Single-vehicle accidents typically involve a vehicle that hits a fixed object, like a lamppost or road barrier. A few involve more serious damage, like a single-car rollover.

The other half of damage-only accidents involve multiple vehicles. These other vehicles might be parked or moving.

About 4,800 traffic accidents in NYC each month result in an injury. These injuries range from cuts and bruises to permanent brain and spinal cord injuries.

NYC has about 30 traffic deaths every month. Pedestrian accidents usually cause one-third to one-half of the traffic deaths. The remaining traffic deaths include those killed in bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and car accidents.

Obligations in a Minor Car Accident

If a car accident produces no injuries, all those involved must exchange names, addresses, and insurance information. You must also file an accident report with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles if the damage exceeds $1,000 in value.

If you damaged someone’s property and could not find the owner, you need to report the accident to the police precinct where the accident happened.

If someone else damaged your property but did not leave their contact information, you can try to get their information from your local police. Anyone who fails to report a damage-only accident to the police has committed a hit-and-run.

If an accident causes injuries, you must stop and render assistance. You must also report the accident to the police. Once the police arrive, they will investigate the crash. The investigation will result in an accident report within five days after the accident.

When the police arrive, the officers will collect everyone’s contact and insurance information. The officers will provide this information to each driver. They will also include it in their accident report.

If you fail to stop at the scene of an accident that caused injuries, prosecutors could charge you with hit-and-run, no matter how minor the injuries might have been. This means you should always stop after an accident just in case an injury occurred.

Hiring a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident

If you did not suffer any injuries, you probably do not need to hire an injury lawyer. You might need a lawyer to help you with an insurance claim for your damaged property, however. Insurers have complicated rules for documenting property damage claims that might justify a legal representative.

However, if you suffered minor injuries, you should consider speaking to a lawyer. Since most injury lawyers offer free consultations, you can speak to a legal professional without committing to them upfront.

Under some circumstances, your injuries might justify hiring the lawyer you consult. Some examples of these circumstances include:

Hidden Injuries

Some injuries take time to appear. Internal injuries might remain hidden until symptoms start to appear, which can happen days or weeks after a crash. Some injuries, like torn cartilage, might not surface until years after the injury.

For example, concussion symptoms might not appear for several days or weeks after the initial brain injury. At the time of the accident, you might feel like you suffered only minor injuries. But weeks later, you might suffer from memory loss, confusion, and headaches. All of these symptoms might suggest that you suffered from a slow-developing concussion.

If you talk to a lawyer after a minor accident, you can start to develop the records you need to file a claim for hidden injuries.

Mental and Emotional Injuries

Injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, anxiety, and depression can justify an injury claim. A lawyer can help you document these injuries so you can file an insurance claim that will cover your medical expenses and lost income.

Chronic or Worsening Injuries

Some physical injuries will recur or worsen over time. An injury to your hand might develop into arthritis over time. A torn meniscus in your knee could require surgery after your bones grind away at each other.

Your compensation after an accident should account for your current and future losses. An injury that requires ongoing medical treatment, physical therapy, and medication could lead to large medical bills over the years. Your injury might also require you to miss work, cut your work hours, or even take lower-paying jobs.

By speaking to a lawyer, you can start a claim for these injuries and their long-term effects.

No-Fault Insurance in NYC

Under New York’s no-fault insurance system, you will probably deal with your insurer after a minor car accident. If you have less than $5,000 in economic losses, New York limits you to your no-fault benefits. This means you will file your claim with your auto insurer, which will pay for your medical bills and a portion of your lost income.

If your insurer denies your claim, you should consider hiring a lawyer. You will have expenses even after a minor accident, and your insurer has a legal obligation to cover those expenses.

A lawyer can make sure that you receive all of the insurance benefits that you deserve for your injuries and losses.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City car accident lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #409
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600

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