Were you recently in a car accident? Did you know that there is an average of 6 million car accidents every year in the United States alone? This means that many other people have been in a stressful position.
When the accident happens it might feel like there’s too much to do. Who do you call? Where do you go? If a hospital is necessary, how do you handle that?
Don’t even get us started on claiming compensation for your car accident. That’s a whole other level of stress and confusion.
If you’re in the middle of this process and you’re seeking guidance, we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn all about whether or not you qualify for car accident compensation and how you can pursue it.
The first thing that you have to do after a car accident (aside from seeking medical help if it’s necessary) is considering whether or not you’re the one who caused it (or whether or not you had any part in causing it, even if that part was minimal).
If you come to realize (or you’re told) that this was your responsibility, you may not need to pursue further action. Rather, the other driver may pursue compensation from you.
It doesn’t hurt to investigate. See if there are any witnesses, cameras, or any other information that can help you. We’ll talk more about evidence later. Until then, let’s discuss fault and how it applies to car accident laws.
Depending on where you live, you may be in a fault or no-fault state. The kind of state you’re in will determine how the judge will rule (and how insurance is going to pan out).
In a no-fault state, every resident is supposed to have comprehensive car insurance. This insurance is used to cover any damage to the car, hospital bills, or other costs incurred during the accident and the events following.
With this process, each person who was in the accident bills their own insurance. Even if there was a negligent party, many of the damages are covered by insurance.
This can be helpful. The process is quick and straightforward. It also might make it more difficult to get a settlement or pursue direct action against the party that you determine is negligent.
Fault states are easier to understand to the average person but they’re more complicated in practice.
In a fault state, the car insurance of the negligent party is billed for damage to the car and any harm caused. In both kinds of states (fault and no-fault) insurance may not pay for damage to property.
Sometimes the fault is entirely on one negligent party. Other times, you’re going to be working within the idea of comparative negligence.
With comparative negligence, both parties can be at fault. A percentage of the “less at fault” person’s monetary contribution will be given back to the “at fault” person.
This might seem confusing at first, but consider a situation where you’re driving and you’re at a stop sign. You stop, but the road is icy and you haven’t stopped early enough.
The car that is coming through is going well over the speed limit and they’re on their phone.
Due to the circumstances, you both can be considered at fault to a certain degree. You should have stopped your car earlier to account for the icy road and the other driver should be driving at an acceptable speed with their full attention on the road. You may pay 30% while they pay 70%, though this is just an example.
The Legal Process
Once you’ve determined that you are entitled to compensation, figure out where to find an injury lawyer in your area. Shop around and read reviews or testimonials to find the right lawyer for you.
Your attorney should help you set up a claim with either the negligent driver or their insurance. The rest of the process will be easy with a good attorney but it might not be quick.
Proving a Personal Injury
You are going to have to provide proof of a personal injury and that can be complicated unless it is obvious.
It’s helpful to collect video evidence. If you have a dashcam it might be an open and shut case. If there are any witnesses, collecting statements is a good idea if it’s possible.
You also want to collect all of the information about your damages. This includes more than just the car.
You want to collect information about any personal property that was damaged as well as any lost wages due to the event. You also want to record medical bills and proof of any injuries that you sustained from the accident.
Your lawyer will compile all of these things into your case file so that you have concrete information to build your case.
Negotiating a Settlement or Arranging a Lawsuit
Most personal injury cases are settled. This makes the process easy, but you may not agree to the settlement that’s offered.
If that’s the case, or no settlement is reached, you may have to arrange a lawsuit.
This lawsuit will use all of the information that you’ve already collected. You’ll also have to swear under oath that this information is correct and complete to the best of your ability.
Based on the evidence provided, the judge or jury will determine your case and the compensation that you’re owed.
Claiming Compensation for an Accident? No Problem
Claiming compensation for a car accident is complicated but it doesn’t have to be. If you seek out a good personal injury lawyer as soon as you’re able, they can make the process easy.
Don’t hold off on getting the compensation that you deserve after a traumatic car accident.
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