You could still have an injury case if there’s no damage in a car accident. If a car crash left you with injuries, you have the legal right to file a claim for compensation. Protect your rights by following the recommended procedures after a car accident.
Immediately after a collision, you should file a police report, get medical attention, and call your auto insurance company. Car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can help you with your claim. Call us after your car accident in South Florida to get started.
Should I Report an Accident If There’s No Damage?
You should immediately file a police report. The responding officer may give you a receipt with the identification number of the accident report. This will make it easier to obtain a copy later. Car accident reports generally include information about:
- The names and contact information of everyone involved, including witnesses
- The state of the people involved (e.g., whether or not someone was injured)
- The environment in which the accident took place (e.g., the state of the road, the weather, etc.)
- The time and date of the accident
- The officer’s name and badge number
However, this report is not all-inclusive, so document everything. Take pictures of the accident scene, including both vehicles. Take down the other driver’s information, including name, contact information, and auto insurance company. If there were any witnesses to the accident, collect their names and contact information as well.
Benefits of Reporting the Accident
One benefit of calling law enforcement directly after the accident is that you can tell them to dispatch medical services to evaluate you if you notice your injury. At this point, the medical team can confirm your injury, providing evidence to use down the road to prove that your injury resulted from the accident.
Insurance companies and the at-fault party might try to argue that the accident did not cause your injury if it did not cause damage to your vehicle. Having proof of your injury as soon as possible after the accident can help your case.
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How Long After a Car Accident Can Injuries Appear?
Car accident injuries may take as long as 24-72 hours to surface. In that time, you may decide you feel fine and return to school or work. Depending on your injury and occupation, this could cause your injury to worsen.
Symptoms of Late-Onset Injuries
Unless you have medical knowledge, you might not know what symptoms to look for.
Signs of injury include:
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Stiffness in joints
- Changes to hearing or vision
- Any other unexplained symptoms or changes
It’s important to get a medical evaluation, even in minor car accidents, because serious injuries can go unnoticed. Just as your car can look fine and then emit strange noises as you drive away, you can sustain invisible injuries. Delayed medical treatment could cause injuries to worsen or become permanent.
Can You Have Whiplash with No Damage to Your Car?
Even if there’s no damage to your car, an accident can leave you with whiplash. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), car accidents are a common cause of whiplash injuries. Despite how common this condition is, it’s often misunderstood. For one thing, it doesn’t require a major collision. You can sustain whiplash injuries from impacts at speeds as low as 5-10 MPH.
Right after a car accident, it’s normal to look for obvious signs of injury. You might check for cuts, scrapes, or anything that feels broken. Bruising may not appear for hours, and some injuries never present visible signs. This is often the case for whiplash. Other unseen injuries can include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Herniated disc
- Internal bleeding
- Soft tissue damage
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
You may have whiplash if you feel pain or stiffness in your neck, shoulder, or back. Don’t ignore any symptoms. See your doctor for a proper diagnosis and to rule out more serious injuries.
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How do I Build My Case If There Was No Damage in the Accident?
The car accident may not have caused property damage. But if you were injured, you have the right to assemble a personal injury case. Injuries can amount to high medical bills and an ongoing need for physical therapy or counseling. If you try to pay for everything out of pocket, you could drain your savings or go into debt.
Our Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You Build Your Case
Enlist the help of an accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale to ensure you build a strong personal injury case. We can help you get the compensation you need after a car accident, even if there is no damage to your car. We can lead you through the process and tell you everything you need to win your case.
Our team of car accident attorneys will gather evidence to support your claim. This could include anything that proves your injuries, such as:
- Hospital receipts
- Expert testimony explaining your need for further treatment
- Employment statements showing lost wages
We can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and negotiate a fair settlement. If that doesn’t produce the desired result, we may be able to represent you in a lawsuit to claim the financial compensation you need.
What If I Am in a No Damage Hit and Run?
An accident is classified as a hit and run if the driver who caused the collision drives away from the scene without reporting the accident or trying to help the person they hit. If you were injured by someone who then left the scene, you can:
- Still report the accident to the police and tell them what you remember about the car and the driver who hit you
- File a claim with your own insurance company for compensation—your personal injury protection (PIP) policy should cover many of your medical expenses
- Hire a car accident attorney to learn more about your options and help you recover damages
- Sue the hit and run driver, if the police or your lawyer is able to locate them
According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), unfortunately, hit and run accidents are common in Florida. They are also illegal. In an injury crash, regardless of whether or not there was also property damage, a hit and run driver could be punished with:
- A maximum of five years in prison
- A $5,000 fine (in addition to or instead of the prison sentence)
- A minimum of three years without their driver’s license
If you hit someone’s car and there is no damage, you still have a responsibility to make sure the other person is okay and, if there is any injury at all, to exchange insurance information.
What Damages Are Available in a No Damage Accident?
When someone hits your car but there is no damage, you do not have to worry about recovering the cost of car repair or taking public transit. If you suffered a personal injury in a no-damage crash, you still have the right to collect compensation for damages such as the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Scarring or other marks
- The worsening of preexisting medical conditions
- Medical bills
- Lost income and benefits
- Loss of employment or employment opportunities
- Other expenses related to the accident or your injuries
Part of your lawyer’s job is to carefully evaluate your accident injuries and determine what a fair settlement from the liable party’s insurance company looks like. They can even help you schedule an appointment with a qualified mechanic to ensure that your car sustained no damage in the crash.
Statute of Limitations on Fort Lauderdale Car Accidents
You generally have four years after the car accident to file a personal injury case in court if you cannot settle through negotiations. If you fail to meet the deadline set by Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a), you might not be able to seek compensation at all.
Our team can help you build a case, proving your injuries resulted from the accident, even if there was no property damage. If you didn’t discover your injury until later after the accident, this could change the timeframe you have to file, so reach out to our team to see how much time we have left.
Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine
A car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine wants to help. We can offer legal guidance and negotiate compensation on your behalf. Call us today for a free consultation. We want to take care of your legal responsibilities, so you can focus solely on recovering from your injuries.
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