In personal injury, the extremes are so much easier to understand. Did an accident leave your spine looking like the end of a Jenga game? It’s pretty clear you should file an insurance claim. But what about something small, like a rear-ender at a suburban stoplight?
In short, yes, you should. But why?
Well, for starters, most auto insurance companies require you file a claim every time you are involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. And staying on your insurance company’s good side is generally a wise strategy.
Beyond that, though, there are two great reasons to file a claim.
1. Any Accident Will Result in Costs
Regardless of an accident’s severity, it’s almost always an inconvenience. You have spend time out of your day to deal with the effects: talking to the other driver, talking to your insurance company, hiring a tow truck, waiting for said tow truck, getting the car checked up on, getting yourself checked up on by a doctor, treating initial injuries, even minor ones like headaches or soreness, all the while missing work, school, or life events.
It’s the job of your insurance company to help with the effects of accidents outside your control. Even a minor accident is still an accident.
What’s more, minor effects may add up to larger amounts of time and money that you could have had back, had you only filed a claim and made records earlier.
2. Injuries Are Rarely Just “Minor”
If you’ve been in an accident, then for a split-second you, a complex biological being made of many interlocking systems, were at the mercy of two or more multi-ton objects made of metal and glass. There are so many ways it could have gone wrong. The many safety features of modern vehicles mitigate this fact, but do not remove it.
Research supports this. One of the premier automotive testing organizations has found no lower threshold for vehicular injuries (Human Tolerance To Impact Conditions As Related To Motor Vehicle Design. SAE J885). That is to say, no matter what, there is always risk in a car accident, often more significant than it appears.
But because no two people are alike, the results of such an event are invariably unique and complex. What may hurt like the dickens right after an accident might be right as rain the next day. What may not hurt at all the first day might snowball into a dozen significant dangers six months down the road. This is even more true for infants and children, victims in earlier stages of development.
The same can be said for your car. Most especially, an unharmed exterior does not mean an unharmed interior. There are delicate instruments and many moving parts, any of which might have suffered damage in the accident. And the effects may not be obvious even when examined, until a month later when the jostling of a bumpy road reveals it.
It boils down to this: you don’t know how much damage an accident causes you or your vehicle right off the bat. As a result, the better option is to
- Open a claim
- Start a file of notes and receipts
- Visit a doctor for a checkup
- Visit a mechanic, or keep a close watch on your car
If an expert says something’s wrong, start on the road to recovery, and keep records. Often the earlier you can catch something, the faster, cheaper, and easier it will be to fix.
As always, talk to a personal injury attorney, too. They can evaluate your case, provide valuable information, and make sure you are compensated for any damage, regardless of how “minor” that damage might seem.
And give us a call today!