Does a Fender Bender Count as an Accident?

June 1, 2024 | David Abels
Does a Fender Bender Count as an Accident?

Yes, a fender bender counts as an accident. While many use the term “fender bender” to refer to a relatively minor accident, every accident has the potential for severe repercussions. For instance, someone can suffer whiplash in a fender bender and not realize the severity of their injury for days, weeks, or even months after the collision.

There is no such thing as a minor accident. Even if you first assume you were in a fender bender, you need to look out for your health and financially protect yourself. A car accident attorney can help in several ways after your collision, so never overlook hiring one. Car accident lawyers take every crash seriously, and they will be honest whether your accident was serious enough to warrant legal representation.

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Liable Parties May Try to Downplay the Severity of Your Accident

You sometimes hear the phrase “fender bender” in relation to the insurance process. More specifically, you might hear the person responsible for the accident dismissively refer to the accident as a “fender bender” because:

  • They want to convince you that the accident is not serious
  • They don’t want to have to pay for the consequences of the accident, including any injuries you have
  • They hope you will not seek medical attention or take legal action by convincing you the accident is not that serious

Don’t buy into anyone dismissing your accident. It can be a costly mistake that compromises your health and financial well-being.

Why Accidents Can Be More Serious Than You First Assume

Some accidents mistakenly assume their collision is not serious because:

fender bender
  • There is no extensive vehicle damage
  • They do not suffer any immediate injury symptoms
  • Any symptoms they’re experiencing are not especially painful
  • The accident didn’t happen at high speeds
  • Their airbags didn’t deploy

Accident victims can also be disoriented. They may be in shock, or their adrenaline may mask symptoms of physical injury and psychological trauma. You need to never downplay an accident. Instead, take intentional steps to care for your health and initiate steps to secure any compensation you are entitled to.

What to Do After Any Auto Accident

While each accident is unique, every accident victim must look out for their health and consider how to secure fair compensation for damages. You can do this by:

Seeing a Doctor, Even If You Received Care at the Accident Scene

Injuries are not always obvious. Seeing a doctor will:

  • Ensure that you don’t have severe conditions, like internal bleeding, that may have difficult-to-detect symptoms
  • Make an official record of any symptoms you’re suffering
  • Provide precise diagnoses for your injuries
  • Order medical images that prove crucial evidence to your case

Your doctor should also provide a treatment plan that prevents you from suffering further medical complications.

Waiting to Make Recorded Statements to Insurers

Most people involved in auto accidents must eventually make one or more statements to insurance representatives. These statements are necessary, but they can be detrimental if:

  • You are not in a strong mental state 
  • You misremember any aspect of the accident
  • You make a verbal mistake
  • You accidentally indicate you were at fault for the accident

Having a car accident lawyer help with these statements to the degree they can is generally smart. Your attorney may even arrange for you to provide a written statement, which can minimize the risk of a costly mistake or misunderstanding.

Hiring a Qualified Car Accident Attorney to Pursue the Compensation You Deserve (and Protect Your Rights)

The sooner you hire an auto accident lawyer, the sooner your rights will be safe. You can also focus on your recovery more vigorously if a lawyer is overseeing your case.

Keeping Your Own Records

Accident victims should document the hardship they face, as this may be beneficial to your case. You may keep a typed or written log of:

  • Any physical pain you are experiencing
  • How your accident-related symptoms are interfering with your daily life
  • Any psychological or emotional hardship you’re suffering because of the accident and related injuries
  • Any other details that speak to the difficulty of being in an accident

Your attorney may use these records as they work to secure the compensation you are entitled to.

Finding the Right Lawyer to Lead Your Case

Securing fair compensation for an auto accident can start by finding a capable lawyer. Many victims find their lawyer online, and you may seek a law firm that:

  • Focuses on car accidents: A lawyer’s experience is pivotal to their performance. For this reason, you should look for a firm that focuses intently on car accident cases. If you have questions about a firm’s background with cases like yours, you can ask about relevant experience during your consultation.
  • Has a sterling reputation among former clients: Reading reviews from former clients can tell how a law firm will treat you. Considering how important your choice of an attorney is, reading reviews is the least you can do during the vetting process.
  • Provides relevant case results: Many law firms publish their case results online, and you can also ask about results when you speak with a firm’s representative. You can consider the value of the law firm’s recoveries. Also, consider whether the law firm has secured jury verdicts, as this shows a capability at trial.
  • Impresses you during your free consultation: Consider your consultations with law firms as auditions. Remember that the law firm needs to earn your trust. When completing your consultation, you should get the impression that a firm is compassionate, transparent, and detail-oriented.

You can also research attorneys at the specific firms you are considering. Some attorneys may be highly decorated and recognized; such a lawyer can be a vital asset for your case.

Will a Lawyer Accept a Case If the Accident Seems Minor?

Again, you should never assume that a case is minor, and a lawyer won’t either. Some cases that started as minor accidents led to high-value settlements and verdicts.

When you speak with prospective law firms, they will discuss the details of your case. They may review medical records and evaluate all your damages, including vehicle repairs and pain and suffering. Let an experienced lawyer explain:

  • Whether you have grounds for a case
  • What options are available for potentially securing compensation
  • How the attorney can help
  • What comes next

There is no risk in speaking with an attorney. Your consultation is free; you are never required to hire a law firm after speaking with their representative.

Attorneys Accept Auto Accident Cases Without Receiving Upfront Compensation

Law firms aim to make hiring them as easy as possible, especially because car accident victims are often in difficult situations. As a client seeking a law firm, you:

  • Do not have to pay any upfront or out-of-pocket cost when you hire the firm
  • Receive the law firm’s total financial support (it will pay for all case-related expenses)
  • Do not have to pay the law firm directly, even if it wins

This contingency fee structure means the law firm receives a portion of any settlement or verdict it obtains. Under no circumstance will you have to pay the law firm, which should put your mind at ease.

You should feel free to ask the law firm for the specifics of its fee structure before hiring the firm.

How Auto Accident Lawyers Pursue Compensation for Clients

Your lawyer and their network of professionals will create your case and fight for the compensation you deserve. Though each case is personalized to the auto accident victim, attorneys generally:

Interview Witnesses

Your lawyer will speak with any witnesses to the accident. Those witnesses may have already given one or more statements to law enforcement or insurance representatives, but your attorney may interview them again to obtain a detailed, thorough account.

Secure Video Footage and Other Evidence

Video footage can show exactly how an accident happened. Your lawyer may seek footage from:

  • Dash cameras of vehicles involved in the accident or nearby
  • Traffic cameras
  • Security cameras
  • Cell phones

If no video footage is available, your attorney may hire an expert to reconstruct the accident based on witness accounts and other evidence.

Your legal team will obtain all available documentation of your damages. Key documentation may include medical bills, invoices for vehicle repairs, and your account of pain and suffering.

Some of your damages may not have obvious documentation. For instance, auto collisions are associated with PTSD. Your lawyer may hire a mental health professional to evaluate you and formally diagnose any such conditions you’re suffering from.

Determine the Case Value

Your attorney and their team will calculate the exact amount of compensation you are entitled to.

Attorneys know motor vehicle accidents can leave victims suffering long after the case ends. For this reason, your lawyer will be sure to calculate any future damages for which you deserve compensation.

Negotiate a Settlement

Settling is the most likely outcome of any auto accident case. Your attorney will organize all relevant evidence and documentation in preparation for settlement negotiations. They will present compensation demands and insist that liable parties meet those demands.

Go to Court (Only When Necessary)

Your case may require you to go to court if:

  • The party or parties responsible for your accident did not have insurance
  • Insurance companies do not offer the compensation you deserve
  • You and your attorney choose to go to court for any other reason

You may have a role in a trial, but your lawyer will take the lead. They will ensure you are prepared and comfortable if and when a trial date arrives.

Note that even if you choose to file a lawsuit and are considering going to trial, your lawyer can continue to negotiate a settlement.

Manage Every Other Case Aspect

Your insurance claim or lawsuit is a great responsibility involving many duties. Your attorney and their team will oversee every aspect of the case. This will ensure you can remain focused on healing physically and otherwise.

Damages You Might Receive Compensation For After Your Accident

Compensation Claim

Even when an accident can be accurately described as a “fender bender,” the cost of the accident can be substantial. Your recoverable damages may include:

Healthcare Costs

Your legal team will pursue fair compensation for any medical expenses related to your accident, including:

  • Emergency care
  • Diagnostic services, including imaging
  • Medical equipment
  • Medications
  • Surgery
  • Doctors appointments
  • Rehabilitation

It is imperative that you get all the care you need after your accident. Your lawyer will work hard to ensure you don’t pay out-of-pocket expenses for such care.

Pain and Suffering

Auto accidents can be traumatic both in the short and long term. You may suffer several symptoms that qualify as pain and suffering, including:

  • Physical pain
  • Psychological and emotional distress
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loss of sleep
  • Lost quality of life

If you have scarring or other types of disfigurement, your lawyer will consider the toll such injuries have taken on you. It may include the cost of surgery, prosthetics, and other resources related to your injuries.

Your lawyer will calculate the cost of vehicle repairs, replacing a totaled vehicle, replacing other damaged property, and securing temporary transportation.

Mental Health Service Costs

If you need any treatment for accident-related pain and suffering, your attorney will include the cost of medications, therapy, or other treatments in your case.

Professional Harm

Your accident may cause several professional damages, including:

  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Lost chances for performance bonuses and other financial benefits

Some auto accident victims must change jobs, reduce their hours, or end their careers. It can make your professional damages especially costly.

When Is the Time to Hire My Car Accident Lawyer?

You should not wait any longer to hire a car accident lawyer. Your attorney must gather evidence and file your case before the statute of limitations expires.

No matter whether you were in a fender bender or a severe collision, you deserve justice. Find a personal injury attorney today to fight for the justice you deserve.

David Abels Author Image

David Abels

Partner

David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.

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