If you can't get fair payment for a car accident that wasn't your fault, you may need to go to court. Handling your case alone while dealing with injuries and stress is not a good idea. Hiring a lawyer is a smart decision that can save you a lot of energy.
In a no-fault state, your insurance company will pay for your injuries even if the accident wasn't your fault. The other driver's insurance will pay for damage to your car and any property. In a tort state, the at-fault driver's insurance would cover all your injuries and damages.
Some states will divide fault if both drivers caused the accident. The insurance companies will pay for certain parts of the damages. For example, if one person is 70% responsible, their policy will pay for 70% of the total. In other states, if one driver is caused more than 50% of the accident, their policy pays for all the damages.
To get the claims process started faster, most drivers who are not at fault will ask their own insurance company for payment. To get a payout, they have to pay their deductible, but they'll get that money back when they prove the accident wasn't their fault. This can take from a few weeks to a few months.
Fault matters in an accident
The police usually decide who caused an accident. Insurance companies use the police report to decide who gets payment. If you're careless, break traffic laws or drive dangerously, you could be blamed for an accident.
A rear-end collision is a common accident type. The car in the back is almost always blamed. Sadly, it's very hard to prove it was the other driver's fault without strong proof, like video.
Fault in an accident will affect your monthly insurance payments. Your payments normally won't change if you are not at fault. If you are, the average increase is 31%. But some states raise payments even more. In California, they go up an average of 92%.
How to know when to sue
If you don't know whether to sue the other driver after a car accident, you probably should, especially if you were hurt in the accident.
Sometimes the damages and injuries are more than what the insurance company will pay. The only choice is to sue for more money. You will need a lawyer to help you understand the law.
At first, your lawyer will file suit against the other party. Parties often agree on a payment they think is fair. When this happens, there won't be a trial. But if they can't agree about payment or who was at fault, there will be a court case. For small amounts of money, the case will most likely be sent to small claims court. For larger payments, there will be a full trial complete with jury.
Once the case goes to court, all the information about the accident can be used as evidence. The police report, medical records and insurance investigations from both companies will also be evidence. Anything you said about the accident that another person recorded can be used against you. This is why it's always smart not to talk about the accident, even on social media. The things you say can keep you from winning your case if they don't match up with the evidence.
It's best to hire a lawyer
Some people worry that they can't afford a lawyer, especially after an accident. But a good lawyer only asks for payment if you win.
Lawyers also know all the tricks insurance companies use to give you less money for damages. Remember, your insurance company always wants to pay less. Anyone who tries to be their own lawyer has a lower chance of getting the money they deserve. A lawyer can make sure that doesn't happen.
The clock is always running when it comes to getting the payment you deserve. Most states only allow you to sue for a couple of years after an accident. If you miss this deadline, you are out of options. That's why you should talk to the team at Accident.com today. We can find the right lawyer to help you get through a lawsuit.