After a major car accident, you might quickly realize that you need the services of an experienced legal professional. But should you hire a lawyer if you were involved in a minor car accident?

In this guide, we’ll talk through the important factors to consider when you’re deciding whether to call a lawyer after a car accident in New York City.

New York Car Accident Laws

In the state of New York, the laws surrounding car accidents can be misleading. If there was less than $1,000 in property damages, you are simply required to file an accident report with the DMV within 10 days. 

However, if a person was injured in an accident, you’re required to call the police and remain at the scene. Leaving an accident scene is illegal in the state.

This is problematic for one main reason: Most people do not realize they’ve been injured in a minor car accident until after the fact. 

Common Car Accident Injuries

Even minor car accidents can cause injuries that aren’t readily apparent. The most common injuries include:

When accidents are minor, drivers might assume that they haven’t been injured. However, the rush of adrenaline that often comes with a car accident can mask symptoms, while others can take days to develop. 

The Other Drivers Could Have Injuries, Too

Perhaps you spoke to the other driver and it appeared that both of you shrugged off the accident. You might have exchanged contact information to satisfy the rules of the law, and then gone about your day, thinking nothing else of it. 

Unfortunately, that other driver may decide to serve you with a lawsuit later. Perhaps they had injuries that they weren’t aware of at the time. Maybe they felt that you were at fault for the accident in some way. 

Regardless of the reasoning, when they file a lawsuit against you, you could be at a severe disadvantage if you aren’t prepared to respond.

What to Do After a Minor Accident

While the hope is that you will never have to take these steps, it’s important to know what to do after a car accident occurs. 

If you are ever in a car accident, no matter how minor it may seem, you should always:

  • Exchange contact information and insurance
  • File a police report
  • Note what happened leading up to the accident
  • Take pictures of all vehicles involved
  • Seek medical care
  • Call a car accident attorney

By taking these steps, you can ensure that you are fully protected if injuries become apparent or the other driver decides to file a lawsuit.

Should You Hire a Lawyer?

Whether you need to hire a lawyer after a minor car accident is dependent upon the specifics of the accident you were involved in. 

However, keep in mind that most personal injury attorneys will provide a free legal consultation. During this time, you can discuss the circumstances of your accident, any injuries you sustained, and any medical treatment that you need or are likely to need in the future.

Suppose there’s a chance that you can pursue compensation for your injuries. In that case, an experienced car accident attorney can help you to effectively negotiate with insurers and the other party to seek the compensation that you’re owed.