Car accidents can be traumatic to experience. If someone else causes the accident, not only do you have to deal with your injuries and damage to your car, but you also have to deal with trying to get the person responsible to pay for it all. You may even have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver or their insurance company to try to get the money you are owed. Here are three things that can affect your car accident case.
1. You don't file your lawsuit in time.
From the moment the car accident happens, the statute of limitations clock starts ticking. You only have so much time to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the driver responsible or their insurance company. The specific amount of time you have differs from state to state. You usually have at least a year, but some states allow for a longer amount of time.
Even if you aren't sure whether or not you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit for the car accident, you need to discuss your case with an attorney. They can advise you of how long you have to bring your car accident case to court. That way, in the event that you do need to pursue the matter in court, you will know how long you can wait before doing so.
2. You live in a no fault car insurance state.
There are a few states that have no fault car insurance laws. In those states, you have to seek compensation from your own car insurance company for an accident - even if you didn't cause it. The only way you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver or their insurance company is if your state has a set threshold for medical bills and/or injuries and you meet it.
Currently, the only states that have no fault car insurance laws are:
- Washington, D.C.
- New York
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
3. You are found to share in the fault for the accident.
Your personal injury case likely relies on the idea that the other driver was solely responsible for the accident. However, you need to be prepared for the defense to claim you shared in the fault for the accident. If the court agrees with the defense, then your ability to collect compensation will be affected.
The courts will use either comparative negligence or contributory negligence when determining your ability to win compensation from the other driver. If your state follows comparative negligence, then you will only be able to collect some of the money you are owed.
The court will determine your percentage share of the accident and reduce your compensation by that amount. So, if you were asking for $30,000 but were responsible for 30% of the accident, then your award would be reduced by 30%.
In some states, they follow a modified version of comparative negligence using either the 50% rule or the 51% rule. With the 50% rule, your degree of fault for the accident cannot exceed 49%. If it does, then you can't collect compensation. With the 51% rule, your degree of fault cannot exceed 50%.
If your state follows contributory negligence and you are found to share fault for the accident, then you won't be able to collect any compensation from the other driver. Not many states follow this rule because it has been deemed as far too harsh.
To learn more, visit a website like http://www.hardeeandhardee.com.