Personal injury law covers a broad range of circumstances, with injuries resulting from car accidents being one of the major elements. If you have been injured in a car accident and you believe another party was at fault, you may be able to recover damages for medical expenses, loss of income, and intangibles such as emotional distress and suffering. Here are some frequently asked questions about this aspect of personal injury law.
Do I Have a Case Even if I Am at Fault?
When it comes to personal injury suits, the degree of fault the plaintiff may have had in the accident usually comes into play in most states to some degree. Some do not consider it at all, while others do not allow for damages if the person played any role. So, whether this will affect your case will depend on where you live.
Who Can I Sue?
Depending on the nature of the accident, there are several parties who you may be able to bring a case against besides the driver. If the driver was operating someone else’s vehicle, you may be able to sue the owner of the car; if you were hit by a drunk driver, you may have a case against the establishment serving the defendant, even though he was clearly intoxicated. If a problem with the vehicle itself or the roadway may have contributed to the accident, you may have a case against the manufacturer or the construction company.
How Much is My Case Worth?
There are so many individual factors that influence a particular personal injury case, that it is very difficult to put any sort of number on the worth of your case. The extent of your injuries, the cost of medical care, lost income and psychological damage are just a few of the elements that will be considered. For the most part though, calculations of hard numbers, such as lost income and cost of medical bills typically form the base number to work with. How long you are willing to fight for more money can also impact your eventual settlement as there can be a lot of back and forth with negotiations.
How Long Do I Have to File Suit?
In most cases, there will be a statute of limitations for personal injury cases, meaning you must file suit within a certain period of time or you lose any right to sue. The lengths of time and when the clock starts ticking varies by state (time of accident or time the injuries were discovered for example), and even within a state, there may be different time periods depending on the nature of the accident and other individual factors. If you think you have a case, it is very important to find out the laws in your state or you risk losing your rights.
Should I Accept Money from the Insurance Company?
If the insurance company offers you money, you should not take it without talking to an accident attorney law firm first. Taking this money may prevent you from seeking damages in the future. It is a good idea to wait and see what happens after the accident so you know if their offer is sufficient to cover medical bills and any other expenses. If it is not, you may want to take legal action.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about all things law.