You are driving to work, following all traffic laws, remaining patient, and avoiding checking your email to not get distracted. Suddenly, another driver slams into your vehicle, and you know immediately that you need medical help. Your car needs a tow, you must miss work to go to the emergency room for neck pain, and you have instant concerns about what everything will cost.
Since the other driver hit you, shouldn’t they cover your expenses? Can you sue them for your losses?
Car accident victims have the right to sue people who hit their cars and cause injuries. However, the process does not usually begin by filing a lawsuit. Instead, the car accident process typically starts by filing insurance claims against the liable driver’s auto coverage. If an insurance claim fails to return the compensation you deserve, you might need to escalate the matter and file a lawsuit.
The most important thing is to seek help from a car accident lawyer who can advise you on your best course of action and help you every step. You do not want to navigate this path alone, as doing so can result in an inadequate settlement or botched lawsuit.
If another driver hits you, suing the at-fault motorist to recover compensation for the losses and damages you sustained in the accident might not immediately cross your mind.
However, when these collisions result in extensive medical expenses due to debilitating injuries and an insurance company is unwilling to pay out the amount you deserve, pursuing a lawsuit may be the only way to recover the compensation you need.
Keep reading to learn about pursuing compensation after a car accident. Don’t get stuck paying hefty bills by yourself. If you need to bring a lawsuit after a car accident, there are specific actions you need to take—and an attorney can be an immense help in fighting for the compensation you deserve.
See if the Insurance Company Will Work With You First
Before you pursue legal action after the car accident, you may want to try working out a deal with the car insurance company first.
Insurance companies handle tons of new car insurance claims every day, and they’ll want to settle your claim as soon as possible—but that doesn’t mean they’ll agree to meet your demands. Leaving discussions and negotiations with the insurance company to an experienced car accident lawyer is best.
You might wonder why you need a lawyer if you don’t have to bring a lawsuit.
Unfortunately, insurance companies will offer you an amount that does not cover all your expenses or try to stall the process so that you accept an offer for less than you deserve.
When you work with an attorney, they can handle this process and use their resources to pursue the compensation you need. Additionally, if the other side won’t settle, your lawyer can take your case to court and fight for maximum damages.
Why You May Want To Sue If Another Motorist Hits Your Vehicle
Although car crashes frequently happen in the United States, they don’t all have the same outcome. For instance, some crashes result in only minor property damages, while others cause substantial injuries and significant motor vehicle damage. In the first situation, a simple claim with your insurance or even the at-fault party’s insurance provider might do. In the case of the latter, the process might be more difficult. A victim may pursue legal action against the at-fault driver under the following circumstances.
Bills Add Up
Even if the consequences of a car accident appear to be relatively minor at first, you may find in the weeks following that you face costly repairs and extensive medical bills that can cause long-lasting financial issues. In these instances, it may be necessary to take legal action against the at-fault motorist—particularly if their insurer refuses to pay out an amount sufficient to cover your bills.
Negotiations Do Not Pan Out
Suppose you went through several rounds of negotiating with the insurance company or the negligent party, and they refuse to agree to pay fair compensation. In that case, your car accident lawyer may advise you to file a lawsuit. With a lawsuit, you can show the other side that you are unwilling to accept less than you deserve and will fight for it.
Remember that you can settle with the at-fault party and their insurer even after filing a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit may apply the necessary pressure to get them to come to a fair settlement figure.
What to Do After Someone Hits Your Car
Following a car accident—even a minor fender bender—the scene can be chaotic and stressful for everyone involved. It’s hard to concentrate or plan your next steps.
However, these steps can help if you sue the at-fault driver to recover damages after a crash.
Go to a Doctor, Even if Your Injuries Seem Minor
Although a car accident may result in seemingly minor injuries, you should still see your doctor as soon as possible following the collision. It is not unusual for serious injuries such as brain or head trauma to take some time for symptoms to manifest, but the longer you wait to get examined, the more deadly the injury can become.
Getting prompt medical treatment after the accident can also be valuable to your legal case. For instance, insurance companies will try to do anything possible to deny your claim or pay you less than you deserve. If you fail to obtain medical treatment quickly enough after your crash, they may argue that your injuries are not that serious or resulted from a subsequent event.
When you get checked out by your doctor after your car collision, they can record information regarding your injuries in a medical report, providing evidence of a direct connection between the harm you sustained with the car accident and the extent of your damages.
Keep Records And Reports
After the car accident, make sure to retain copies of all bills related to your car crash, including medical bills, car damage, and other expenses you would not have incurred but for the accident. In addition, you will also want to document any time that you had to miss work because of your injuries.
Keeping track of these records and reports can help your attorney pursue the full compensation you deserve for your losses and injuries.
If there were people at the accident scene who saw what happened but were not directly involved in the accident, get their names and numbers. Witness statements provide helpful information regarding the incident and help back up your claim. Your lawyer can assist you with reaching out to witnesses and getting their statements.
Establishing Fault After A Car Accident
How do you establish fault? Collect all the records, reports, and other evidence related to the accident and your injuries.
If you cannot collect such evidence after your collision because of your injuries, you should not worry, particularly if you follow up by contacting an experienced car accident lawyer. Your lawyer can use their knowledge and resources to handle the investigation process for you and work on obtaining the evidence required to show that the other driver is liable for your losses and harm.
Do You Still Have Time To Sue?
One of the most critical things to remember is that you have limited time to sue someone for compensation for your car accident injuries. The time limit depends on the statute of limitations in your state.
The statute of limitations restricts your time to file a lawsuit following an alleged offense. If you do not file suit within this deadline, you can’t seek compensation for your injuries. That is why, after your accident, you need to reach out to a skilled car accident lawyer as soon as possible. A car accident attorney can promptly determine the exact amount of time you have to file a lawsuit before time runs out.
Compensation You May Recover in a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawsuit
If your car accident resulted from another person’s wrongful, negligent, or reckless actions, you might be entitled to compensation, referred to as damages. If you win the lawsuit, typical compensation includes:
These damages refer to verifiable losses that result from an accident.
Here are some examples:
- Medical bills, including past, current, and future medical expenses related to doctor bills, hospital stay, emergency services, surgeries, prescription medications, medical assistive devices, and other costs associated with your care
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Rehabilitative services, such as physical and occupational therapy
- In-home nursing care
- Personal property damages
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
These damages refer to the more subjective, less readily quantifiable losses from an accident, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of reputation
Additionally, in some instances, the victim may also collect punitive damages. Unlike the aforementioned damages, which compensate the victim for their losses, punitive damages punish the defendant for their egregious actions and deter others from committing similar acts.
Punitive damages are rare. For a court to award punitive damages, the plaintiff generally needs to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions involved severe misconduct such as malice, gross negligence, or wanton disregard for the health and safety of others.
File a Lawsuit With Our Experienced Car Accident Lawyers
To obtain compensation following a motor vehicle accident, you must produce relevant and detailed evidence and sound legal arguments proving your claim. However, following a car crash, this is often the last thing you feel equipped to handle.
When you hire our skilled car accident attorneys to take on your claims, you do not have to endure the legal fight on your own. Instead, you can focus on what matters most—your recovery—while the lawyers go after the financial damages you deserve.
Once retained, our lawyers can:
- Discuss your accident in detail, determine if you have a viable legal claim, and fill you in on which legal options you may pursue.
- Answer all the concerns and questions you have regarding your accident and the legal process involved with the case
- Investigate the car crash and secure the evidence needed to show what happened and who was at fault
- Handle all the negotiations with the other side—including the insurance company—and fight for a just settlement
- Bring in the experts like accident reconstructionists, doctors, and engineers to help prove liability and back up your claim.
- Take your case to trial if the other side is unwilling to agree to a fair settlement, and fight for maximum compensation.
If you suffered harm because another individual hit your car, do not wait to get the legal help you need. Reach out to an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney today.
How a car accident lawyer can help after another driver hits your vehicle
When someone hits your car, they must, by law, deal with the consequences. Do not pay for the fallout of another driver’s reckless actions. A car accident lawyer can help you receive the necessary compensation to cover your medical costs, lost wages, and other losses. Here are several ways a car accident lawyer can assist with your case.
The car accident attorney will place your needs first
You want a car accident lawyer who will not treat you as another number. You want a lawyer who can place your needs above everything else and continue to do so throughout your case. A lawyer who uses a client-first approach helps establish trust and effective communication – two aspects you need to be successful in your lawsuit. You can rest assured knowing that there is someone that you can trust to handle your legal affairs properly.
The car accident attorney will Investigate your accident
Another way a car accident lawyer can help is by investigating the facts of your case. They can examine all available evidence from the scene of the accident, including witness statements and police reports. Your lawyer can access different resources to help with your case, including security footage and footage obtained by witnesses on cell phones. These investigation tactics hopefully can make it easier to establish the at-fault driver of your accident.
Establishing the other driver’s liability
Knowing the driver who hit you is only the first step in your fight for compensation. The next important step is establishing their liability.
In most car crash cases, liability stems from a driver’s negligence, which might include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Failing to yield
- Running red lights
- Unsafe lane changes
Your car accident lawyer has the experience necessary to prove how the other driver’s negligence caused your accident. Your lawyer can help prove all necessary elements of negligence and demonstrate why the other driver should pay for your damages.
How much does a car accident attorney cost?
One of the main reasons car accident victims refuse to seek a lawyer’s help is concern over possible attorneys’ fees. The good news is that with a car accident lawyer, you do not have to worry about paying the standard hourly fees for an experienced lawyer. Most car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis.
With a contingency fee arrangement, your lawyer agrees to provide legal services for you in exchange for a percentage of your compensation. While they provide these legal services, you will not be responsible for paying their hourly fees. Instead, they agree to receive a percentage of your compensation when you successfully win your lawsuit. That means you will not pay their fees if you do not receive compensation for your lawsuit.
Since anyone can afford to hire a car accident lawyer, you should never wait to begin the process. Seek a free case evaluation, and contact an attorney who advise whether you should begin with an insurance claim or lawsuit against the driver who hit your car.
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.