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While a minor car accident often seems insignificant, it can cause long-lasting injuries and other problems in the days, weeks, or even years that follow. 

Clients frequently ask us, Should I get a lawyer for a minor car accident? We recommend consulting with a lawyer after a minor car accident so that you can understand how much compensation you might be eligible to receive and what your options are. Even in a minor accident, your vehicle was probably damaged, and you might have suffered injuries. A lawyer can help you assess all of your damages and seek compensation to cover your expenses and losses. 

How Is a Minor Car Accident Defined?

A minor car accident can include a sideswipe, a low-speed crash, or a fender bender. Minor car accidents usually result in some damage to the vehicles, such as dents or scratches. However, if a car accident is minor, the vehicles involved will likely still be operational after the collision. Generally, a minor car accident does not result in death or severe injury. However, there are some injuries you might experience in a minor accident that might not be immediately noticeable, but that can have serious long-term consequences. 

Latent Injuries

After a relatively minor car accident, you might think you did not get hurt at all. Often, the adrenaline rush from even a small wreck can mask the extent of your injuries until days or weeks later.

Latent injuries occur because the shock from the collision can keep you from noticing any pain or other symptoms. That is why it is critical to see a doctor after the crash to check for injuries you did not immediately notice. For example, if your knee hits the dashboard during a collision, you might not notice an issue until you start to have trouble walking in the days following the crash. That would be an example of a latent injury. 

It’s important to remember that, even when you think an accident is minor, the weight and size of cars and trucks produce a great deal of force on impact, even if they are traveling slowly. 

There are a few common types of latent injuries that occur during minor car accidents. 

Organ Damage

You might have internal organ damage after a minor wreck. Because this is an internal injury, it can be difficult to detect immediately after an accident. Some of the most common injuries to the organs include kidney damage and liver lacerations. These injuries can be very serious and even life-threatening. That is why it is crucial that you see a doctor to check for hidden injuries. 


Small hairline fractures may be difficult to notice right after a fender bender. Even if you notice some pain immediately after the accident, you might not realize you suffered a fracture. Some causes of fractures in a car accident include the following:

  • Reaching forward to brace yourself in a wreck,
  • Getting hit by objects that are loose in the car,
  • Being struck by your vehicle’s airbag, and
  • Failing to wear a seatbelt.  

Even if you think you only suffered some bruising, you should get checked out by a doctor after any type of car accident. Getting immediate treatment for a hairline fracture helps you avoid further damage and can help you avoid long-term complications.


This is, unfortunately, another common latent car accident injury. Whiplash occurs when your neck rapidly moves back and forth in a collision. Whiplash is a soft-tissue injury that will often not appear on an X-ray. Your doctor might order different imaging tests, including X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, to help diagnose your injury and make sure you do not have other injuries. Whiplash can cause intense pain that lasts for weeks or even months. 

Damage to Your Vehicle

Should I Get a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident

If the wreck damaged your car, you might also want to hire a lawyer to help you get compensation to cover your repair costs. The other driver’s insurance company might contact you soon after the accident to offer a settlement. However, you should think carefully before accepting an initial settlement offer because they often do not cover all of your damages. If you accept a settlement offer that is too small to cover all of your expenses, you will be stuck having to pay for the rest of your damages out of your own pocket. Even in a minor car accident, a lawyer can help you calculate your damages so that you get the compensation you need. 

The Other Party Does Not Offer Fair Compensation

This is another occasion where you likely will need a lawyer for a minor car accident. If you think the other party or their insurer is not making a reasonable settlement offer, an attorney can gather evidence to make your claim stronger and handle negotiations with the insurance company or the other driver. Even if you believe your injuries and pain and suffering are relatively minor, you might still be able to recover damages. Damages can include compensation for medical bills, prescription costs, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. The experienced accident attorneys at Gerling Law can examine your claim and tell you what damages you might be eligible to receive. 

How We Can Assist You

At Gerling Law, our award-winning lawyers have more than 125 years of combined experience helping clients fight for the compensation they deserve. If you suffered injuries or property damage in a minor car accident, Gerling Law can help you hold the responsible party accountable for your losses. We are here for you 24/7 and can immediately begin working on your claim. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. 

Author Photo

Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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