Whether you’re taking a long trip or spending time on a daily commute, it’s easy to get lost in the feeling that the car is it’s own little world, separate from all others, that is until a sudden collision brings home that fact that all it takes is a moment of inattention for that world to be shattered into pieces.
According to Forbes, the average American files a car accident claim about once every 18 years and nearly 40% of those occur when one driver rear-ends another. While it is true that some of these may just be “fender-benders” where all drivers and passengers walk away unharmed, many are much more serious. In these cases, the victims of the accident may find that they have no choice but to pursue a car accident lawsuit.
Is Filing A Lawsuit After I’ve Been Rear-Ended Worth It?
If you or a loved one were rear-ended by another driver and sustained serious injuries, it is possible that you will need to find a way to obtain financial compensation, even if both parties have car insurance.
Take this into consideration – the minimum car insurance coverage required by a driver in New York will provide a victim with $25,000 for bodily injury and a maximum amount of $50,000 for all injured parties. This is supposed to cover the medical expenses of those who were hurt, however, these amounts may only be enough to pay a fraction of a victim’s actual medical expenses and once the policy limits have been met, the insurance company will stop paying.
As if this information isn’t shocking enough to learn, sometimes it’s difficult to get the insurance company to pay a claim at all or if they do, the amount they provide is much smaller than it should be. That’s because insurance adjusters will do their best to find ways to try and show that the victim’s injuries are not as serious as they are claiming, that the injury doesn’t require the medical treatments claimed, or that the injuries were sustained before the accident.
This is when a lawsuit may be the best option. The entire purpose of filing is so that the plaintiffs have the opportunity to obtain the compensation they need to pay for their medical expenses, lost wages, physical pain and suffering, and even emotional trauma.
But in order to obtain this compensation, the plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused them harm which can be difficult without the help of an attorney.
Who Can A Car Accident Lawsuit Be Filed Against?
It surprises many plaintiffs to learn that lawsuits can be filed against more than one party, depending on the circumstances. When it comes to car accident lawsuits, the defendants may be:
The At-Fault Driver
Whether it’s texting, falling asleep at the wheel, drunk driving, or grooming, the driver whose negligence resulted in the accident can be held legally responsible for the losses sustained by the plaintiff.
Vehicle & Part Manufacturers
Sometimes a defective part means that a car doesn’t respond the way that a driver expects it to. If for some reason an incorrectly installed part or defective part caused an accident, a lawsuit may be filed against them.
A City, County, Or State
Did you know that improper road design can contribute to an accident? This can mean poor visibility, lack of appropriate signs, or a broken light at an intersection which hasn’t been repaired. Whatever the issue, the city, county, or state responsible can be held liable.
How Can I Strengthen My Claim?
Collecting the evidence that is needed to support a lawsuit can be time-consuming, exhausting, and stressful for someone that is completely healthy, let alone a victim who is trying to heal and is drowning in medical bills. An attorney can help by:
- Investigating the accident and determining how many parties are at fault.
- Collecting evidence that may have otherwise gone unnoticed, such as the video from a traffic or store camera.
- Contacting and collecting witness statements.
- Finding and consulting with experts such as medical experts and accident reconstructionists.
- Handling all of the lawsuit paperwork.
- Speaking with insurance companies on their client’s behalf.
- Negotiating with defendants who have offered a settlement.
- Preparing the case and their client for trial, should it come to that.
In fact, studies have shown that plaintiffs working with an attorney are more likely to recover compensation and the amount they recover is higher.
How Much Is My Lawsuit Worth?
The amount a lawsuit is worth depends on the losses sustained by a plaintiff. While no one can precisely predict how much a case may be worth, an estimate may be possible once all of the details have been reviewed.
Should I Settle Or Go To Court?
This decision is entirely up to you. If an offer to settle is made by the defendant, that doesn’t mean that the offer can’t be negotiated higher or that the plaintiff has to accept it. While there are benefits to accepting a settlement, like knowing exactly how much will be obtained and receiving payment quickly, sometimes it’s not the best option.