Top 10 Things to Know About a Car Accident Injury
A car accident is one of the most common ways in which people are injured. A car accident injury can cause you a great deal of emotional, physical and financial pain. A personal injury lawsuit, however, can help you recover any financial loss associated with a car accident injury. Read on for the top 10 things to know about a car accident injury.
- Other drivers have a duty of reasonable care: This means that if people drive recklessly or negligently and cause an accident that hurts you, they can be held legally liable. The standard used to judge them is the “reasonable person” standard, which means that their behavior is compared to what a reasonable person would do, and if it falls short, they are considered to have breached a duty.
- If someone breaches a duty and causes an accident, you can sue in most states- A civil lawsuit, or tort suit, is the appropriate way to collect damages for the breach of legal duty that caused your car accident injury.
- Some states have no fault rules which preclude you from suing- There are 12 states in the US that are considered no fault states. In these states, your own insurance pays your medical bills and you can’t sue the other driver- even if he caused an accident- unless certain conditions are met, such as the injury was especially severe or the driver’s behavior especially negligent.
- You may be able to sue the driver of another car, or the driver of the car you are in- as long as they aren’t a family member. If you re a passenger and you are injured, you can sue the driver. However, suing your own family members who were driving and caused an accident is generally not allowed.
- Even if you are partially responsible for the accident, you may still be able to sue- While contributory negligence rules used to bar you from suing if you were partially at fault, new rules- called comparative negligence- allows you to still sue even if you played a role in causing the accident. Your damages are simply reduced by the percentage of your responsibility
- Generally, you will be suing the insurance company and not the individual- Most people have liability insurance on their vehicles, which means that when you sue them, the insurance company indemnifies them. That means it stands in their place and pays all legal bills and damages up to the policy limits.
- You can recover actual damages- Actual damages refer to the amount of money you actually lost as a result of the accident. It usually includes medical bills, lost wages and property damage.
- You may also be able to recover damages for emotional distress and other damages– If you suffer pain and suffering or emotional stress as a result of the accident, then you may receive additional monetary compensation designed to make that up to you.
- In rare cases, punitive damages are allowed- Punitive damages mean that the court charges the defendant money to punish him, rather than just to compensate you. The money is still awarded to you, however. Punitive damages are limited to situations in which a person is extremely reckless; generally, he must be driving so recklessly that his behavior was almost guaranteed to cause injury.
- Hiring a personal injury attorney is usually advisable if you are seriously injured. A personal injury attorney can help explain to you your rights under the law and can help you file lawsuits within the appropriate time frames and containing the appropriate information. This can be essential to recover the monetary compensation that you deserve.