How to Sue Someone for a Car Accident
While accidents have reduced since 1995, they are still a cause of worry. Unsafe driving, driving under the influence, not adhering to traffic rules, and overspeeding still occur typically. You can face severe car accident injuries despite not being at fault. Thankfully, the law allows you to sue the individual responsible for your damages. Getting a personal injury lawyer can increase the likelihood of your lawsuit succeeding. Here’s how you can sue the liable driver:
1. Determine LiabilityBefore proceeding with the lawsuit, you must determine who is responsible for the accident. Consult your lawyer and examine who is at fault for the crash.
Brush yourself up on the negligence laws of your state. Most car accidents happen due to one driver's negligence, and state laws differ regarding liability in a negligence case. Most states award damages according to the comparative model, where they award damages according to the level of negligence. Even if you were partly at fault, you could still sue the other person for damages, as long as the accident was primarily their fault. Some states follow a contributory model and bar you from getting any compensation if you, too, were at fault.
Courts only accept lawsuits within a specific time frame after the incident, usually two years. You cannot sue a responsible driver after this period has passed, so check your state’s laws carefully.
2. Negotiate With the Insurance CompanyLawsuits are a messy business. The chances of you recovering any damages depend upon your case, and if you fail to prove the other driver’s negligence in court beyond a reasonable doubt, you will walk home empty-handed.
Your attorney will suggest you initially negotiate with the insurance company for an out-of-court settlement before suing the other party, but if the company does not negotiate with you, you can proceed with the lawsuit. You can turn to your insurance company if the other driver is uninsured. Most insurance companies offer uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. If you didn’t opt out of this when purchasing your insurance, you could get compensation from your company.
3. Proceed With the LawsuitMost states do not directly allow you to sue an insurance company. Instead, you will have to sue the responsible driver. However, drivers usually do not have enough money to pay you, even if you win the lawsuit. Most personal injury lawyers prefer getting a settlement from the insurance company instead of going through a court case.
Once the insurance company does not settle, your only option is a lawsuit. Ensure that you document everything about the accident and have a medical professional assess your injuries and their severity. You’ll have to collect and provide evidence of the other driver’s negligence to the court. Your attorney will help you throughout this process.
EndnoteGoing through a car accident is traumatic. You can get severe injuries that are costly to treat and make you miss out on work. If your accident was due to the other driver’s fault, you are legally eligible for compensation.
However, filing a lawsuit is a complicated process. You must determine who was liable for the accident and if your state laws allow the case. You can also negotiate with the driver’s insurance company for a settlement before you proceed with the suit. A personal injury lawyer can help you through this complicated process.
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