Even the smallest car accident can send your life into a tailspin. More serious accidents can affect you for a lifetime. Medical expenses due to injuries related to the accident, damage repair, loss of work… all of these things can alter your life for years if not an entire lifetime. Add to that, the stress and confusion of dealing with other drivers, insurance companies and police. Such a compendium of issues at one time is a tremendous mental strain on an individual. When all this occurs, victims often find themselves financially strapped with many unexpected bills threatening to destroy their lives. Seeking adequate compensation for injury and loss, the thought of suing for the car accident comes into existence. Several factors determine the likelihood of a successful lawsuit after a car accident.
Most often, people choose to sue after a car accident when going through the insurance process does not provide enough money to cover all the losses received as a result of the car accident. It is especially pertinent if the other driver has no insurance and you may be forced to fit the entire bill. Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence today. Insurance companies are in the business of saving themselves money and strive to pay accident victims as little as possible. There are times, however, when an insurance company will want to avoid the hassle of trial and make a settlement offer that is satisfactory. Many car insurance claims end in a settlement, sometimes however, the victim doesn’t realize until later that the settlement was inadequate.
There are a few options to settling without having to sue after a car accident. Each injury case is different. If the advantages of a settlement outweigh the expected outcome of a trial, a settlement may be the best way to go. Some advantages of settling include:
- Circumventing court and legal fees
- Getting the cash sooner
- Avoiding the time spent in court
- Avoiding the unpredictability of a judge or jury’s decision
If you choose to ask for a settlement, a demand letter is the first step. Drafting a demand letter is a detailed and extensive process requiring heavy preparation. All medical records pertaining to the car accident must be submitted along with the demand letter. This action may take months on its own and could be expensive. Many health care providers charge a hefty fee for this service. Any proof of loss of wages and missing employment due to the accident must also be submitted. You must also include all evidence of liability in the accident such as witness testimony, photographs from the accident scene and damage to the car and police reports. The demand letter itself must be impeccably written and concise. It must be in chronological order with exact dates when describing the accident. Any monetary values referred to must be in exact amounts. It is mailed to the negligent driver, his lawyer or his insurance company. When they receive it, settlement talks will begin and an amount of compensation will be decided on.
Suing After a Car Accident
When deciding if suing after a car accident would be better there are two important steps which include:
- Gathering evidence of the accident liability
- Obtaining legal counsel
Once an accident has occurred, immediately begin gathering evidence. Whether you choose to take a settlement or sue after a car accident – evidence is the most important factor. If proper evidence in your favor does not exist there will be little to no compensation for loss and injury. Begin by photographing everything including witnesses, surroundings, damage to both cars, debris from the crash, police and everything in the area. The stress of the accident prohibits you from realizing what can be helpful later so it is important to take a lot of photos. Notes are also helpful. Car accident victims often later forget important details of the accident due to stress and head injury. Take notes on conversations and crash details as soon as you can.
It is very important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as you have an accident. Whether you decide to settle or go to court, a personal injury lawyer is able to navigate the legal system on your behalf. Your lawyer will be able to tell you which option will get you the most money for your medical bills and expenses. A personal injury lawyer will estimate the total economic damage you have sustained with the goal of recovering that amount and more. Non-economic damages are also factored in and accounted for.
The decision to sue after a car accident should not be taken lightly or made hastily. Taking the time to gather all the pertinent evidence and consulting an experienced personal injury attorney can have a major impact on your future.