Auto Insurance

How Much Can Someone Sue For a Car Accident ?

Can Someone Sue Another For A Car Accident? One of the most unfortunate things that can happen to someone on the road is being involved in an accident. The accident can cause damage not just to property (whether it be a car or any other property such as the property of impact in case of a collision), but often results in injury to persons as well. One of the remedies of the injured party in case of an accident is the ability to sue the perpetrator of the accident, or the driver at fault.

Apart from suing the driver solely for the damage caused to the property in terms of monetary terms, the driver who is at fault may also be sued to foot the medical expenses of an injured party in case of injuries to a person. While usually, the attempt is made to come to a consensus with the help of the insurance, often the insurance pay-out is given in such a way that is never sufficient to meet the expenses of the injured party – especially in a country like the United States where medical expenses are pretty high. Therefore, if the individual is not able to meet the expenses through the insurance payout, the other option that they can and may exercise is to sue the perpetrator of the accident for medical, and other expenses.

What are the most common reasons for a Car Accident Lawsuit

One of the most important things that one has to remember is that there is usually a statute of limitations on the ability to sue the causer of the accident, after the accident. Therefore, you must exercise diligence and ensure that you sue the individual for damages without delays or other pauses in pursuing justice. Furthermore, if you are undergoing treatment or a member of your family is undergoing treatment due to the accident, you must receive the pay-out post the accident to be able to meet the medical expenses in time. However, both insurance companies, as well as the person who has caused the accident, may cause endless delays, preventing you from accessing the liability insurance pay-out. In such a situation it makes the most sense to file a suit to get compensated for the injuries, to be able to pay for your medical expenses and to be compensated for the trauma that you have undergone.

You can either file a lawsuit or opt for an open meditation type settlement process, especially if the person who has caused the accident is someone that is known to you. However, the unfortunate part about mediation, while it is convenient and rather fair is the fact that it is not binding in all circumstances – therefore, you might find it hard to ensure that the opposing party accepts the decision given by the mediator and honors it. Furthermore, if the insured party is also made a party to a non-formal mediation procedure, or an out of court settlement, it can significantly complicate matters even further. Therefore, if you are unsure as to whether or not you can ensure that the decision is an honor or fulfilled properly, the better course of action for you to take would be to file a formal suit in a court of law.

Consider settling before filing a lawsuit

Now while it might seem rather tempting to file a lawsuit instantly, especially given the emotional turmoil, PTSD, and the physical injuries that one can face after an accident, it is not always the best course to take. Another option one can consider is an out of court settlement, that can not only help you significantly save on costs, but also help you save money as well. Here are some of the reasons as to why you should consider settling.

  • If you do not want to attend numerous trials: Many people neither have the time nor the ability to attend numerous trials or hearings. Furthermore, it is important to remember that you will have to pay your lawyer for every trial that he makes an appearance for, and it is you who will be paying these fees. Other fees such as the court fees, transportation costs, and other costs often add up fast and significantly, making settling an ideal option,
  • The mental consequences of a trial: If you want to participate in a trial, you have to prepare yourself for a long drawn process where each side tries to one-up the other. If you do not have the time to spare or if you are busy, tired, sick, or have work to attend, you will have to remember that these factors can impact your successful participation in your trial. If the court passes an ex-parte decree, you might be disappointed to find that it does not favor you.
  • How long trials and appeals take: As mentioned earlier, a trial can cause significant mental strain, and one of the aspects that make trials this cumbersome is the amount of time that they take. You may find that the case takes much longer to complete than you anticipated, and you may find yourself unable to foot the expenses of the case. Furthermore, even if your trial turns out successful, you have to remember that the other side can always appeal it, resulting in an even longer wait period.

How much can I sue someone for a car accident? 

Anyone who has faced any sort of destruction of property or injury to themself, or if they are the dependent of a family member who has been deceased in an accident, they may sue the driver who caused the accident for damages. Usually, the amount that you can sue the perpetrator for is determined on a case to case basis, where various factors such as the value of the property damaged, the cost of the medical treatment, extent of damage, and other such similar factors are considered by the court before making a decision. Ensure that you sue the perpetrator for a reasonable amount of money, as overstating your claim can damage your chances. While many people are under the impression if they ask for a higher amount as a claim they are likely to get a higher award, it usually makes you look less reliable in the eyes of the court. Therefore, it is tremendously important to determine and set a fair amount.

What Happens if You Sue The Other Driver After a Car Accident

Like has been stated above, it first makes sense to attempt a negotiation or a settlement since a court procedure can often be cumbersome. However, if such a settlement proves to be unfruitful or if the other party is unwilling to negotiate or compromise, you may have no choice but to sue the person who has caused the accident. You require the money to ensure that you can pay the bills, and make right the damages caused due to the accident, and this is only possible if the other party compensates you. The consequence of using the other driver is the ability to recover this amount that will help you ensure that you can reinstate yourself to the position you were in (at least in monetary terms) as it was, before when the accident occurred. If you are suing the person who caused the accident, ensure that you or your legal representative establish that the driver owed you a standard of care, then breached that standard of care by negligent or reckless driving, which as a result, causing damage of either your person, your property, or your mental state.

What do I do if the other driving is suing me for a car accident? 

Now that you have read and understood what happens if you sue the perpetrator of the accident, you may be wondering what happens if the other diver sues you. This may be a pressure tactic or a way to negotiate the amount that the actual person who has caused the accident may have to pay. It may also be a method to deflect fault because hardly anyone is honorable enough to admit their mistake in the context of a road traffic accident nowadays. If you find this happening to you, the first step and the most crucial one that you must take is to ensure that you hire legal representation for yourself. Ensure that you hire a car accidental lawyer with whom you can discuss the specific facts of your case, as well as who knows the law thoroughly, and who can also make a representation of your claim to the insurance company. This will ensure that the case is not one-sided, or misrepresented, and will also help you ascertain your claim in front of your insurance company. This is especially important if the person who has committed a fault hires a lawyer because then the ability of them to represent themselves better and tilt the case in their favor is much higher. Therefore, you must ensure that you are adequately prepared, as well as ready to make your case cogently and as required.

Can I sue for aspects such as mental trauma, pain, and suffering post a car accident? 

Now car accidents do not always only result in physical trauma, but often, there is significant mental trauma as well. It has been determined that those who have been a part of road accidents suffer from severe PTSD post the accident due to the trauma of it. Furthermore, if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation wherein you have survived an accident but a co-passenger of yours has not, apart from something like PTSD, you may also suffer from aspects such as depression, anxiety, and survivors guilt – in such a scenario, it is fair for you to ask and wonder if you are entitled to compensation for mental trauma, and suffering.

It is advisable to take a medical opinion to determine the extent of pain and trauma that you are facing, and depending on the word of the doctors, and additional claim amount can be introduced to compensate you for the mental pain and suffering that you are undergoing. Legally, certain parameters make a person eligible to file a claim for mental suffering, pain, and other trauma so ensure that you discuss this with your lawyer and determine a fair claim amount.

Mistakes that can affect a case of a car accident

There are certain steps that you can take which you may think are innocuous, but that significantly affect the outcome of your case, as well as the amount that you are granted as compensation. One of the first things that you must remember is to exercise haste and act well in time. Here are some of the other things that can affect the outcome of your case.

  • Failure to contact the police: One of the first things that you should do post an accident is to contact the local law enforcement. There are multiple reasons as to why this is crucial. First and foremost, it demonstrates to the police that you want to act in a bona fide manner and that you are not the perpetrator. Secondly, they can help in gathering evidence that may be crucial for you to build your case. Thirdly, if the police determine that you are not at fault, the initial statement made by the officer at the scene can substantially help you with your case when your day in court comes.
  • If you do not gather the requisite evidence: While no one expects you to be Sherlock Holmes, you must collate all the information and the evidence you have about the accident to help you win the case. You should work with your lawyer and make it easier for them to find sources (such as providing footage of your dashcam should you have one, talking to the pedestrians who were at the scene during the time of the accident, etc) and gather the requisite evidence.
  • Failure to collect the report from the doctor: Now like this article has stated multiple times, one of the things that you can claim compensation for is for your injuries, as well as for pain, and trauma. However, it is unlikely that any court is just going to take your word for it. Especially in situations where your injuries are not immediately visible, you need a doctor’s report to corroborate your claims. Ensure that you collect the report of your doctor, failing which, you might find yourself fighting an uphill battle!
  • Taking your own time to file: Now it is crucial that as a plaintiff, you file the case as soon as possible because an undue delay in filing the case demonstrates a lack of interest to the court. However, this does not mean that if you are sick or in the hospital you will be penalized for not filing the case but simply means that once you can do so, you must make haste and file the case.
  • Not having the story of the accident straight: Now, as the person who is filing the case, it is crucial to not just have all the facts of the case, but also present and demonstrate them in a clear, lucid manner to the court for them to be able to determine your case effectively. If you fail to do so, you may find that the outcome does not go in your favor.
  • Settling very quickly: While it does make sense to settle, you must remember that you should weigh the pros and cons of settling and not be bullied into accepting a settlement amount that you find unfair. If you feel that you are being lowballed, take the case to court and let them determine what you are entitled to! Do not lose out on money because you are in an unnecessary hurry to get things done with.
  • Failure to hire an expert: Now as it has already been stated above, one of the most important things that you can do for your case is to hire legal representation such as a lawyer. While most people may be under the misconception that they can handle their case themselves and easily, this is often not the situation. Court trials are long and cumbersome and involve a lot of legal technicalities that someone who is not well versed in law many not can follow, let alone apply. Therefore, if you want a good outcome, ensure that you hire the support of a lawyer, ensure that you get the report of your doctor, and you’ll find that the case goes much better in your favor.

Conclusion

It is a part of no one’s plan to find themselves in the middle of an accident, but should you find yourself in one, it is extremely important to understand what to do in that situation and act in a manner that ensures that you get that compensation that you are entitled to. One of the things that you can do is ensure that you hire legal help, however, if for some reason you are unable to do so, read the above-mentioned points to ensure a favorable outcome for yourself.

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