Car Accidents: Everything You Should Know
Car accidents can lead to fatal injuries and may cause various limitations. If you have been injured in a car accident, your injury may affect the way you function and operate. Therefore, understanding what steps are necessary for you to take after you have sustained injuries in a car accident.
Here’s a small guide to help you understand the whole legal process behind a personal injury lawsuit based on a car accident and how to get compensation for the accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, more than six million accidents occur each year in the U.S. Out of these, more than thirty-six thousand people died because of crash accidents in the year 2019.
Liability in a Car Accident
Before we talk about liability, you must know that there are different rules that apply in different states. There are fault and no-fault states. While most states follow a no-fault system in regard to a personal injury from a car accident, a number of states have “no-fault” laws.
If your case is in a no-fault state, your insurance company may be responsible for paying you for the damages. Irrespective of who was responsible for the accident, your own insurance company may have to pay you. There is, however, an option to opt-out of this system and file for third-party claim insurance if you meet the guidelines.
Other than in these no-fault states, in most states, the driver at fault may be held responsible for paying most of your damages. The driver who is at-fault or negligent may be held responsible for paying compensation for your damages. In the event that you are partially responsible for the accident, the laws will be different.
Different states have different rules regarding partial liability. The share of compensation may get reduced when you are partially responsible. You must refer to the rules and laws of your state for a better understanding of this. You can even get a consultation from a personal injury lawyer to understand the entire process.
Car Accident Lawsuit Deadlines
You must note that states have different statutes of limitations. You will have to file the lawsuit or third party insurance claim within that period of time. If you fail to do so, you can be time-barred from filing a lawsuit for a claim including compensation for your damages.
Most states have deadlines between two to three years. It is ideal to start the process as early as possible to avoid any delays that could detrimentally affect your lawsuit later. The insurance companies may try to delay the procedure and reduce the compensation amount.
The court proceedings may also take a long time. Therefore, it is highly suggested that you take the necessary steps early and start the process as soon as you are able.
What To Do After A Car Accident?
Here are the few things that you should do if you have been involved in a car accident:
- Don’t leave the accident scene. If you do so, you may be charged with a hit-and-run if you injured another person and drove away.
- Check if you have any injuries and seek medical attention as early as possible. You must get medical attention even if the injuries are minor. Doing so can help you assess the damages and the compensation amount.
- Call the police immediately and report the accident. Make sure that you include as much detail as possible. It may help strengthen your case especially in proving liability and the amount of damages.
- Write down the details of the driver, his or her identity and address, the make, model and license plate number of the other vehicle and the passengers and other witnesses that were present. Ask the other driver for his or her insurance coverage details. Do not argue or give any statement. These few actions could affect your claim. Avoid giving any statement to the police because doing so can affect your claim to a great extent.
- Gather the evidence. You may take photos, record videos, and speak to eye-witnesses.
- Keep records of all of your hospital records including, medical bills and vehicle repairs and investigation reports
- Speak to an experienced injury attorney. Having a legal representative by your side can substantially help you prove liability. An attorney may also help you in collecting the evidence that you need to prove your case. Your attorney can assist you with the whole process including communicating and negotiating with the insurance agencies. Having legal consultation will also save you from taking any wrong step that could lead to denial or reduction of the compensation amount. Therefore, having a legal attorney will help you in many ways.
What Compensation Can I Receive After A Car Accident Case?
Here are the damages for which you can receive compensation in a car accident case:
- Medical expenses and hospital bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Property damages
These are some of the damages for which you may be compensated.
How soon can I get the compensation payment?
There are two ways you can claim compensation. One is by submitting a claim to the insurance agency to cover the damages, and the second way is by filing a lawsuit. We have seen that most cases are resolved outside the court. There are also cases, however, that end up in court.
The time it takes to receive the compensation amount will depend on the process. If you have a trial in court, it may take longer than expected. The time with insurance companies may be comparatively lesser than the court procedure.
For both situations, you may need assistance from a Car accident lawyer. Having a lawyer can make the process substantially easier for you. The lawyers will handle all of the paperwork and important tasks. You can focus on your recovery and tending to your injuries. At times, the insurance companies even try to delay the procedure.
Having a legal attorney will benefit you in this situation. Attorneys are well-equipped with the laws and can better handle communicating with insurance agents. There are better chances of getting the compensation amount. You should get in touch with a lawyer at the earliest time possible and avoid any delays in the process.