Is it Worth Suing After a Car Accident?

Millions of car accidents occur each week across the globe and the numbers continue to rise as our population continues to grow. Car accidents can be scary, frustrating, and life changing events. If you were injured in an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, you’re more than likely due money for your injuries, property damage, and expenses. In most cases, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer to help with the process of suing after a car accident.

If you’re thinking of filing a car accident lawsuit, there are some important steps you must take in order to maximize the value of your case:

Suing an Insurance Company After a Car Accident:

Suing after car accident - how long after a car accident can you sue?

First, you must obtain the at-fault drivers insurance carrier information. Immediately after your accident you should take pictures at the scene. This includes, his/her drivers license, insurance card, registration, and any photos of the scene you feel will be important in establishing your claim. After you get the other drivers insurance information, the next step is to open a claim with the at-fault drivers insurance carrier.

Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit

After you file a claim with the at-fault drivers insurance company, they will assign it to a claims adjuster who will make a decision about who is at fault for the auto accident. Insurance companies like taking advantage of individuals without lawyers who they tend to see as “easy prey”. They’ll often throw lowball settlement offers in hopes people won’t know any better.

This makes it very important to contact a car accident lawyer to discuss the option of suing after your car accident. If the insurance company denies liability or refuses to pay for your damages (medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc.), then you will need to file a car accident lawsuit.

Car Accident Settlement

Can We Avoid Court and Just Settle?

Yes, in fact most car accident claims are settled out of court. Most of the time the insurance company would prefer to settle than to get sued, since it’s a lot quicker and more inexpensive. After your lawyer thinks your case is ready, he will present a car accident settlement demand to the other parties insurance carrier.

The demand will include a summary of facts from the accident, the injuries you have sustained, and the losses you have incurred as a direct result of the other persons negligence. Your lawyer will demand a specific amount of money based on what he/she believes your case is worth.

Usually personal injury lawyers will ask for a lot more money than they believe the case will settle for. This is because your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company in attempts of settling your case for the highest possible value.

The car accident settlement demand generally depends on the circumstances surrounding your car accident, such as:

  • Who was at fault?
  • Were you injured? If so, how severely? Is ongoing treatment needed?
  • Did you miss work? How much money do you make?
  • How much damage was done to your car and other property?
  • Is your quality of life negatively affected by your injuries?

At that point, it’s up to the insurance company to respond to your attorney’s demand letter with an acceptance, rejection, or counter offer. If they reject your demand, or counter with an offer that you don’t like, you’ll have 2 options:

  1. Auto accident arbitration: Car accident arbitration is usually preferable to both the insurer and the victim due to it’s relative ease, lower costs, and other factors. In fact, most insurance companies have an arbitration clause written into their service agreements, so you legally have to go through the arbitration process rather than suing after the car accident.
  2. Filing a lawsuit and suing for the car accident damages: If this is an option for you based on the insurance policy paperwork you signed, you should first look at the difference between the settlement offer (if there was one) and how much you think you could win if you sue the other driver. From there, calculate how much a car accident lawsuit will cost, then subtract from the amount you think a lawsuit judgment will be. Compare the 2 numbers, consider that a car accident lawsuit takes a lot of time and causes a lot of inconvenience on top of the financial costs associated with litigation, and decide which is the better option for you.

Is There a Time Limit on Suing After a Car Accident?

The statute of limitations for suing after a car accident is different from state to state, but generally ranges from 1-4 years. For more information on how long you have to get your auto accident lawsuit process started, take a look at our state directory.

If you’re thinking about suing after a car accident, the best thing to do is speak to a local car accident attorney familiar with your state’s car accident laws. They can advise you on the specifics of your case and give you a good idea what your case may be worth, and most will offer a free consultation.

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