If you are involved in a car accident, you may think you will receive compensation from an insurance company, but have you considered that you may need to sue the other party to recover damages?
The more severe the car wreck, the more costly your recovery will be. Even a trip to the emergency room can cost more than $1000, so it may not be possible to meet all your personal medical expenses alone.
You may also find the insurance company is not willing to make a reasonable settlement offer, or you could find that policy limits restrict the amount of compensation you can pursue. If this happens, you can sue the other driver personally for the auto accident, assuming they are demonstrably at-fault. Today’s guide will give you some pointers on what happens when you need to file suit.
Always try to work with the insurer first
Your initial strategy after being involved in a car accident should be to work with the other party’s insurance provider. While insurance companies handle car accident claims every day and the process should be streamlined, the insurer will nevertheless try to pay you as little as legally possible for your claim.
Beyond this, insurance companies often stall proceedings or make a lowball initial offer, hoping you will succumb to pressure and accept a settlement, even if this doesn’t fully cover your expenses.
You should still see what the insurance company offers before you decide to file suit.
How to tell when you need to sue the other party personally
Deciding to file a personal lawsuit is not a decision you should take lightly. Going to court is a time-consuming process, and it is always challenging to get both parties to arrive at an agreement.
That said, some people decide it’s worth putting in the time to file suit if it means a larger settlement amount. All it comes down to is recognizing when it is in your best interests to go to court, and when you should accept an out-of-court settlement from an insurance company. If you retain an experienced personal accident injury attorney, they can advise you of the best course of action in your circumstances.
The insurance settlement is too low
Remember, the insurance company is a for-profit business interested in offering you as low a settlement as the law permits. It is the insurance company who will be paying you and not the other driver, so they are understandably reluctant to give you a settlement you feel reasonably reflects your damages, as well as any pain and suffering.
Consult with your attorney and decide whether an initial settlement offer is in line with what you need to recover fully, or whether suing the other party personally might be a superior option.
Your bills are too high
You may not immediately be aware of the severity of your accident-related injuries. Sometimes, the amount of money you feel you need might change over time.
If you are involved in a serious car wreck and you sustain severe injuries, your medical bills might keep growing, with your anticipated insurance settlement falling short of covering your expenses. In this case, it may be worth suing the other driver for a potentially stronger outcome.
Ultimately, if the insurance company will not negotiate and improve upon an initial offer that fails to cover your expenses, do not be afraid to pursue the matter in court.
You are clearly not at fault
The foundation of any successful auto accident lawsuit is the ability to prove you were not at-fault for the wreck. Being able to prove you were not responsible is what allows you to sue a third part for the damages you sustained.
Retaining an experienced attorney will make it easier for you to demonstrate that you were not at-fault, but the more evidence you can find, the better.
Speak with a car accident attorney
Perhaps you imagined you could handle the accident injury claim alone, but you are having no luck dealing with the insurance company. If so, it’s not too late to hire an attorney.
Schedule a legal consultation, making certain to take all documentation pertaining to the case. You should take the accident report as well as any other relevant evidence and documentation. You can request copies from the insurance agent if you do not have this documentation to hand.
The attorney will then be able to review this documentation and to determine whether you have a case worth taking to court. If your case is not strong enough to warrant suing the other driver for damages, your attorney should advise you of this.
Bear in mind that suing someone is both time-consuming and disruptive. This should not necessarily be your opening gambit, but rather a strategy you utilize if it proves necessary.
What can you expect from a lawsuit?
When the lawsuit commences, you must demonstrate the scope and severity of the damages you sustained. These damages can include:
- Damage to your vehicle
- Physical injuries
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Lost earnings
Be prepared for a lawsuit to feel invasive, with the attorney of the other driving proving deeply into the circumstances of the accident. The defense attorney will try to prove that the other driver was not at fault, and they may also attempt to show that you were not just an innocent victim.
Your lawyer, on the other hand, will do all they can to give the court an understanding of what caused the accident. To achieve this, the attorney will use the documentation you provided.
If the case is clear and the court can quickly arrive at a decision, this will likely result in a more substantial settlement.
Is it worth suing someone after an auto accident?
Suing someone personally after a car accident is not a straightforward decision.
You should try first to obtain a reasonable settlement offer from the insurance company, but you should not hesitate to file suit if you are not being offered the compensation you deserve.