Most minor fender benders and low-speed collisions don’t result in serious injuries or heavy property damage. However, that often doesn’t prevent the other party from threatening to sue or filing an insurance claim.
You may be wondering – can someone take legal action over a small accident that caused only a scraped bumper or cracked tail light? The answer is that it depends on the circumstances, but it is possible.
Let’s take a look at the factors that determine whether another motorist has grounds to sue you following a minor crash. We’ll also discuss options you have if threatened with a lawsuit over an accident you believe was trivial and how a car accident lawyer in Davie can help protect your rights as a driver.
Reasons to Sue Another Driver
If someone incurs expenses beyond what the insurance company covers, they may decide to take legal action. The reasons behind this decision can vary, but some of the most common include:
- To recover compensation for medical bills and any other associated costs incurred due to accident injuries.
- To seek financial restitution for property damage and other financial losses caused by the crash.
- To hold someone accountable for your actions or inactions that led to the collision.
- To discourage similar behavior from other drivers in the future.
- The insurance adjuster rejects their claim or will not pay out a sufficient amount for accident-related losses.
In some cases, drivers may be motivated by a combination of these factors and others.
Bills in a Minor Car Accident Add Up
Let’s take a look at a typical scenario that illustrates how even minor car crashes can result in accident lawsuits.
A woman thought she had been in just a minor fender bender when her car was rear-ended at a stoplight. Both cars sustained only minor scratches, and no airbags had been deployed. But a few weeks later, she began experiencing pain in her neck and back.
After several doctor visits and physical therapy sessions, her medical bills totaled over $10,000—much higher than her $5,000 property damage claim. While the collision itself looked trivial on the surface, its consequences were anything but minor for her.
Her story highlights how even low-impact accidents have the potential to result in extensive damages depending on the circumstances.
Potential Costs in a Minor Car Accident
Factors like injuries, treatments, lost wages, and vehicle repair costs all factor into the valuation of a claim. What may seem like purely cosmetic vehicle damage at the time could end up costing thousands in damages if injuries develop or repairs are needed.
Here are some additional details on potential damages in a minor car accident claim:
Soft tissue injuries like whiplash, strains, and sprains are common in rear-end collisions, even at low speeds. Initial doctor exams and x-rays may only reveal minor issues, but injuries can take weeks to manifest.
This leads to follow-up treatments like medication, physical therapy, injections, and potentially surgery. Rehabilitation costs add up fast.
Pain and limited mobility from accident injuries may prevent someone from working regular hours or forcing time off. Missed pay during recovery can significantly increase damages claims.
Beyond exterior repairs, impacts may cause alignment issues, cracked headlights, or internal component damage. Rental cars are also a cost while one’s vehicle is in the shop. Total repair bills frequently surpass initial estimates.
Long Term Impacts
Injuries could lead to chronic pain or the need for assistive devices. Future medical costs and lost productivity must be included. Accident-caused arthritis, disc issues, and neurological problems carry lifetime impacts.
If injuries impede daily living, costs arise for housekeeping, childcare, and transportation assistance during recovery. These compensable damages rapidly expand claim values.
Diminished Quality of Life
Even after full recovery, lost enjoyment of activities like sports or hobbies has a subjective valuation. Pain tolerance is also reduced.
Considering all potential expense categories helps illustrate how damage claims for minor-seeming crashes can surprisingly surpass five-figure amounts, impacting both drivers’ insurance payouts and personal finances.
Comprehensive documentation of these expenses could give someone grounds for filing a lawsuit over a fender bender. Therefore, it is always best to consult with a car accident lawyer who can help you understand your rights and any potential liability.
Contact Us Today to Learn More About Liability in Car Accidents
In some cases, it is possible to be sued for a minor car accident, especially if the crash resulted in someone being injured. While minor accidents typically involve less severe injuries and damages, there are situations where the other party involved may decide to take legal action.
It is important to note that the outcome of a lawsuit will depend on various factors, including the laws of the specific jurisdiction and the evidence presented. It is always advisable to consult with a car accident attorney if you are involved in a collision, regardless of its severity.
We can help you understand what steps to take if you are sued for a minor car accident and what makes the most sense for you financially. If you have been involved in a car accident and are unsure of your rights, please contact Winston Law for a free, no-obligation consultation.