Minor Car Accident At Night Time

Minor Car Accident At Night Time: Legal Considerations and Next Steps

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 8 minutes

Minor Car Accident At Night Time: Legal Considerations and Next Steps

If you’ve been involved in a minor car accident at night time — or even during the day — then you could be entitled to compensation under the law.  When other drivers cause you to suffer injuries due to their negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct, then the law provides a potential avenue for recovery.

Let’s explore some basic legal considerations and the next steps!  Read on to learn more.

What percent of all crashes occur at night?

According to the Department of Transportation, across the United States, roughly 49 percent of car accidents occur at nighttime, highlighting the unique challenges of night driving such as reduced visibility, the presence of drowsy and drunk drivers, and a whole host of minor and major factors. That’s substantial, given that only 25 percent of travel occurs during nighttime. The increased risk of accidents caused by drowsy drivers at night is particularly concerning, as they are more likely to fall asleep at the wheel or be less observant, leading to potentially fatal outcomes.

Clearly, there is a disproportionate accident risk for drivers (not just you, but other drivers on the roadway) at nighttime — possibly due to low visibility, driver fatigue, and a whole host of minor and major factors. The increased risk of encountering drowsy and drunk drivers at night further exacerbates the danger, making vigilance crucial. Additionally, the higher incidence of fatal car accidents at night, due to factors like drowsy driving and compromised visibility, underscores the specific challenges and dangers of nighttime driving. The glare from the headlights of oncoming traffic significantly contributes to the increased accident risk at night, complicating the adjustment to changing light conditions and potentially leading to vision problems.

Should I get a lawyer for a minor car accident in California?

Though we cannot make any formal recommendations given that we don’t know the specifics of your case, it’s fair to say that — yes — having a lawyer on your side is very useful when you’re navigating a car accident dispute.  That is true even when the accident dispute is relatively minor (because you might have made an incorrect assumption about your case when there could actually be significant damages if you were to investigate further with the aid of an attorney).

Attorneys are also more than just court-related advocates.  They handle many different responsibilities from the beginning to the end of the dispute.  Their responsibilities and job roles include:

  • Identifying, gathering, and preserving relevant evidence
  • Investigating the accident scene
  • Communicating on your behalf with opposing counsel, law enforcement, and third parties (such as insurance carriers and insurance adjusters)
  • Developing a persuasive legal argument
  • Negotiating a potential settlement compromise
  • Handling court hearings
  • Pushing forward to trial litigation if a favorable settlement cannot be reached
  • Securing compensation after it has been awarded
  • And more

These tasks can be incredibly challenging for untrained individuals to handle on their own, and courts do not encourage plaintiffs to navigate disputes without the assistance of a qualified legal professional.

Most car accident attorneys work on contingency — you don’t pay unless you win!

You might be thinking that you shouldn’t even bother working with an attorney for your minor car accident, as the “cost of an attorney” would be excessive given the nature of the car accident.  This is based on an incorrect perception, however!

See, most plaintiffs’-side car accident lawyers work on a contingency basis.  In other words, you only pay them a percentage cut of the compensation they secure on your behalf — if you don’t win compensation, you don’t pay.  This means you have no out-of-pocket costs to get started with an attorney.

Better yet, it creates a favorable legal representation dynamic.  Because your attorney gets paid more if you win more compensation, they are incentivized to “work up” your case so that you can claim a higher damages amount.  They are also incentivized to work efficiently so that your case does not take longer than it needs to be resolved.

What is considered a minor accident?

Generally speaking, a “minor car accident” is one in which there is minimal damage to a vehicle and only minimal injuries, as well.  There is no formal definition, but this works as a practical definition of sorts.

But here’s the thing.

Many accidents, including minor accidents, do not reveal the full extent of the damages until later. Injuries from a car crash may not immediately show up, with delayed symptoms that could be life-threatening, such as infections, organ failure, stomach problems, and brain bleeds occurring weeks or even a month later. For example, it’s not uncommon for a low-speed rear-end fender bender accident (a “minor car accident”) to develop into a severe injury dispute years down the line, when the injured party discovers that the collision threw their spinal column out of alignment, activated a serious spinal degenerative condition, or caused internal injuries. These internal injuries might not manifest symptoms immediately, such as blurry vision, confusion, and dizziness, and could lead to life-threatening complications like organ failure if not addressed promptly. Even minor impacts can lead to serious complications such as organ failure, emphasizing the importance of seeking medical attention immediately after an accident, even if you feel fine initially. Minor car accidents may not initially seem serious but can lead to long-term consequences such as emotional anguish, injuries, and costly vehicle damage. It’s crucial to seek medical attention after minor car accidents due to potential invisible injuries that may not show up for hours due to shock. Physical therapy, as part of a personalized recovery plan, can significantly benefit patients recovering from a minor car accident, ensuring a speedy recovery.

Making too many assumptions about the severity of your accident (early on) can shackle you to a low-end claim.  Don’t resign yourself to these assumptions.  Have a comprehensive discussion with a qualified and experienced car accident attorney so that you can learn more about the possibilities — after all, skilled attorneys understand how to “work up” a claim as more facts come to the surface.

Damages in a minor car accident

If you’ve been in a minor car accident, you may be wondering what sort of damages you could be entitled to claim as compensation. It’s important to file an insurance claim to cover the costs of damages and medical expenses, ensuring you can move past the accident without financial strain. While your damages might be “less” than they would have been in a more severe accident scenario, you could still be entitled to significant compensation depending on the nature of your losses.

Claimable losses include:

  • Wage loss
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Medical expenses (i.e., medical bills)
  • Property loss (i.e., damage to your vehicle, repair bills)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • And more

For example, if you get into a minor car accident, but you still have to go through a small surgery (with diagnostics, pharmaceutical treatments, and a rehabilitation period), that could add up to tens of thousands of dollars in additional compensation. Promptly reporting the accident to your insurance company is crucial, as it plays a significant role in the compensation process.

Talk to your attorney about what sort of compensation you could potentially be entitled to receive in a lawsuit!

Act fast, there’s a time limit on your insurance claims

Regardless of whether your car accident was extremely severe or relatively minor, there will be a time limit on your legal claims.  This is known as the “statute of limitations” deadline period, and if you do not file your claims before the statute of limitations deadline passes, then courts will dismiss your claims — in other words, you’ll be deemed to have relinquished your right to compensation under the law.

In California, for example, the statute of limitations deadline for a standard negligence-based car accident injury claim is two years from the date of injury.  That’s not very much time when you consider that much of your post-accident focus will be spent on recovering from your injuries (and other losses).

Given the high-stakes nature of a legal claim (and the consequences of delaying too long), it’s important that you consult qualified car accident lawyers for assistance.  Lawyers have a legal duty to handle your claims in a timely manner.  As such, you can rest easy that they will develop and file your claims before the deadline passes.

If you’ve been involved in a minor car accident, then you could be entitled to damages as compensation for your various losses — your injuries, property damage, and more.  That being said, don’t “assume” that your car accident was minor.  It’s possible that as time goes on, the doctors will discover that your injuries were a lot more significant than they initially appeared, and thus, your damages claim could be higher than you realize.

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney in our network.  During this consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your case in detail with a professional.  They’ll provide guidance on how best to proceed with your claims, and what options you have available to you.  There’s no obligation to continue if you decide against it, so there’s no downside to picking up the phone and calling in to get started.

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we can assist you no matter when your accident occurs.

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