Determining Whether Financial Compensation from a Car Accident is Possible
It’s hard to find a silver living when you’re in a car wreck. You might have sustained injuries, and your vehicle might not be in very good shape afterward. You may wonder whether you can take anything positive from the experience.
You might be able to, in the form of financial compensation. You can collect money following a car wreck in some instances. However, nothing guarantees you that money, and sometimes, it’s not easy to attain it.
We’ll talk right now about how you can get financial compensation after a car accident and the steps you’ll need to take.
How Often Do Car Accidents Actually Happen?
You might wonder whether you’ll ever need this information, especially if you have been a licensed driver for many years and have not had an accident yet. The fact is, if you can get through your entire adult life as a driver and never get in a wreck, you are in the minority.
Each year, car accidents injure 20-50 million people. When you think about that number, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll get through your whole life without hitting anything and without another vehicle striking yours.
Even if you are a very good driver, not everyone on the road is. You can follow all traffic laws each time you leave your driveway, but that does not guarantee your safety.
You’ll Need to File a Lawsuit
If you are in your first accident and want to balance the scales, you’ll need to file a lawsuit if you hope to get any money out of what happened. You can also sometimes get your insurance company to pay for vehicle repairs and medical bills, but the cash we’re talking about would be in addition to that.
Filing a lawsuit means bringing what the legal system calls a civil case against another driver. You also might bring such a case against a cyclist, pedestrian, or some other person or entity.
The only time it makes sense to bring a lawsuit against someone in these cases is if you feel sure they caused your accident, and either your insurance or theirs did not compensate you adequately. If you caused the accident, or if you got fair compensation from your insurance or theirs, it’s best not to pursue the matter any further.
The Limitations Statute
If you do hope to file that lawsuit and get money after your wreck, you must also do so in a timely fashion. Every state has what the legal system calls a statute of limitations. That is the time you legally have to bring a lawsuit after a car accident or some other event.
Your state’s limitations statute might be one year or two. Look into it before you talk to a lawyer. If more time has elapsed than the law allows, you’re probably out of luck, with a couple of possible exceptions.
Figuring Out Fault
Next up, once you have determined that you’re going to bring a lawsuit and you have a lawyer on your side to argue the case, you’ll need to notify the individual or entity you are suing. This declaration on your part will allow them to hire their lawyer and start working on their defense.
They might opt to settle out of court. If that happens, you may be able to see some money without ever having to go inside a courtroom. Whether that will happen will depend on what the individual or entity’s lawyer tells them to do.
If the individual or entity decides they will dispute the charges, you’re going to have a jury trial on your hands. You’ll need to produce as much evidence as possible that indicates the other person or entity caused the accident. You must also show that the amount of money you’re trying to get makes sense based on your physical or mental condition.
Losses or Injuries
If the case eventually goes to a jury decision, you might get some money. You will have to pay your lawyer out of your winnings, so keep that in mind. They might ask for as much as 40%, especially if you pay them on a contingency basis.
How much money you’ll get will depend on how much you asked for and whether that amount makes sense to the jury. The bottom line is that this is how you usually get money following a car accident, and you must follow this process if that is your goal.