Can I Sue After a Car Accident?
If you suffered injuries in a car accident caused by someone else, you can sue for damages. But you might not need to sue after a car accident to get money to cover your expenses and losses. Ask an experienced car accident lawyer to evaluate your case and explain your options.
What Are Your Rights After a Car Accident?
As the victim of a car accident, you generally have the legal right to demand compensation from any at-fault parties and their liability insurance companies. You might also have a claim to make under your own insurance policy. An experienced lawyer can review the evidence and determine who owes you money and how much they owe.
Who Has Liability for Your Losses?
Anyone whose careless, reckless, or intentional conduct caused your crash could owe you damages. One party or several can face liability for your car accident losses.
- A driver whose inattention behind the wheel led to a collision
- An at-fault driver’s employer if the driver crashed while performing work duties
- A government agency or private property owner responsible for unsafe road conditions that factored into the accident
- The manufacturer of a defective vehicle involved in the wreck
- An insurance company that issued liability insurance to any of the above
- An insurance company that issued a policy to you to cover your losses
These are just a few examples of the various parties who can owe payment for damages caused by a car accident. Every crash differs, and yours deserves individualized attention and analysis. A car accident lawyer can review the unique evidence in your case to determine who has liability for the harm you’ve suffered.
How Much Can You Claim?
As a car accident victim, you have the general right to seek compensation for all physical, emotional, and financial harm you sustained because of a crash.
That can include payments for your:
- Medical, vehicle repair, and other accident-related expenses
- Lost income and job benefits from missing work or becoming disabled
- Physical pain and discomfort from injuries and medical treatments
- Emotional suffering and other effects of the accident on your mental health
- Diminished quality of life and relationships
- Other life difficulties caused by your trauma
You might also claim additional payments if the at-fault party engaged in extreme or intentional misconduct (exemplary damages) or violated a law entitling you to a fixed amount of money (statutory damages). A car accident attorney can evaluate every category of damages you suffered to determine the maximum damages potentially available in your case.
How Much Can You Actually Get?
The amount you can claim as damages may differ from the amount you can realistically expect to receive from an at-fault party or insurance company.
Factors affecting your recovery can include:
- The amount and persuasiveness of the evidence supporting your case
- Your lawyer’s skill, resources, and reputation
- How highly you prioritize a quick settlement
- The financial resources liable parties have to cover your losses
Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer is the most reliable way to maximize your compensation from all available sources. The sooner you have a skilled attorney in your corner, the stronger your chances of getting the most money possible for your losses.
Ways to Secure Car Accident Damages
After reviewing your case, a car accident lawyer may recommend several options for pursuing payment from at-fault parties and insurance companies to cover your losses. Getting your money might take filing a lawsuit in court. But the lawyer could also obtain compensation for you without suing. Sometimes, a lawyer will advise multiple approaches at once or in sequence to achieve a favorable outcome.
In some car accident cases, a skilled lawyer can get quick results by sending a written demand for payment to the at-fault party or that party’s lawyer. A typical written demand summarizes the evidence, explains why the at-fault party should pay your losses, and requests payment in a specific amount.
The demand can sometimes lead to immediate settlement talks, especially if the at-fault party acknowledges liability and carries insurance to cover your losses. If successful, those talks could lead to a payment to you without the need for filing a lawsuit.
Most car accidents trigger coverage under multiple insurance policies, including yours and the at-fault party’s. A lawyer can analyze those policies and advise whether to submit claims for payment under them.
A request submitted to your auto or other insurer is called a first-party claim, and it triggers an immediate review by your insurer, resulting (hopefully) in a payment.
A request to an at-fault party’s liability insurer is called a third-party claim. It also leads to a review and potential payment, although it often requires significant follow-up and negotiation by your lawyer to convince the insurance company to pay.
Lawsuit for Damages
Suing for damages is also an option in most car accident cases. A lawyer prepares a document called a complaint and files it in court, initiating a lawsuit presided over by a judge and conducted under the court’s rules of civil procedure.
At any point during a lawsuit, the parties can decide to resolve their dispute through settlement. But if they don’t, the case gets decided either by a judge after receiving written arguments (called motions) from the parties or in a trial at which both sides present evidence to a judge or jury.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a car accident, you might have the option of suing an at-fault party or insurance company for damages. However, pursuing other legal avenues could also get you paid for your losses. Regardless of which approach makes sense in your case, the most reliable way to maximize your financial recovery is to hire an experienced car accident lawyer to handle your claim.
Contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney today to learn about your options for pursuing compensation after a car accident.