Being Sued for Car Accident What Can They Take? | Who to Contact for Help
Updated: Feb 23
Car accidents happen more often than one might think. They can happen because a motorist was distracted momentarily or because a car was in the driver's blind spot. Whatever the case may be, there are often consequences when these accidents occur, and motorists may be wondering what they could stand to lose.
Those who were to blame, either partially or in full, may be liable for the car accident damages that the other party incurred as a result of the accident, but what damages can accident victims claim, and what happens if the drivers both had personal liability insurance coverage?
Motorists stand the best chance to win a personal injury lawsuit or settle a car accident claim out of court if they seek legal advice from a trusted car accident lawyer at Keating Law Firm.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
The length of time a person must file a lawsuit against someone for an auto accident varies from one state to another, and the statute of limitations is the legal term for this.
A statute of limitations limits the time individuals involved in a car accident or other occurrences have to file a lawsuit. Individuals in the state of Florida have four years to initiate a lawsuit after being involved in a car accident. In comparison, the statute of limitations for a car accident in Tennessee is one year for filing a lawsuit and three years for filing a claim for property damage.
To find out more about the statute of limitations in play in a particular state, motorists can contact Keating Law Firm.
Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Case
Proving culpability after a traffic accident requires demonstrating negligence. Reasonable expectations exist that require a motorist to act responsibly and in a way that does not cause harm to others. However, when a driver fails to meet these expectations and injures someone as a result, the motorist is said to have done so negligently.
Some States Follow a Comparative Negligence Law
Because driving entails paying attention to several aspects and accidents can occur so rapidly, even a driver who is subsequently proved to be almost entirely at fault in a collision may be considered irresponsible. In a comparative negligence jurisdiction like Tennessee, establishing that the other motorist was more reckless in Tennessee car accident cases and that their acts were 51 percent or more the cause of the collision is crucial to a car accident lawsuit.
Some States Are At-fault States
A driver responsible for causing a car wreck in an at-fault state, often known as a tort state, is accountable for paying compensation to the other party or parties for the injuries or property damages they suffered. This can be done through an insurance claim or by the at-fault driver personally paying the other driver.
The Importance of a Police Report in Determining Negligence
When law enforcement arrives at the scene where the accident occurred, they will examine the situation, gather evidence, such as driver statements, and produce a police report based on their findings. If it was clear who was to blame, the report might mention this. Alternatively, the report may identify both sides' contributory reasons, such as excessive speeding, failure to give right-of-way, or distracted driving.
Insurance companies frequently consult these reports when determining who was at blame. These police reports are also valuable for crash victims pursuing a personal injury claim. They provide an official account from the police that can help substantiate each driver's comparative negligence and allocate a percentage of the responsibility.
However, it is crucial to note that the authorities do not have the last word in determining who is responsible for damages in an automobile accident. In civil lawsuits, the courts are responsible for this.
What Happens If a Motorist Loses a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If a motorist is being sued for a traffic accident, it indicates that the other party believes that he or she is to blame for the collision.
Try to Settle the Case Out of Court
It is advisable to settle the car accident claim outside of court. A personal injury lawyer can often negotiate a reasonable settlement amount if the at-fault driver takes responsibility for the mishap. However, if the driver does not believe that they were at fault and wishes to prove their innocence, they could take the issue to court.
Court Verdicts Are Final and Binding
It is important to note that once a court deems a driver liable in a car accident case, that driver is obligated to compensate the victim for any losses they may have suffered.
There is no opportunity to negotiate. Settlement amounts determined by a court may be higher than the amount a motorist could have paid if the case was settled out of court. If the motorist has liability insurance coverage, the money won't have to come from their pocket.
The Liability Insurance Company Is Responsible for Paying the Settlement
The motorist's liability or car insurance company is responsible for paying the injured party for any losses incurred as a result of the car accident caused by their client. However, if the settlement amount exceeds their insurance policy limits, at-fault drivers are not quite out of the woods yet. Additionally, motorists can expect an increase in their insurance premiums if they file a claim that exceeds the policy's limitations.
That being said, the situation can get complicated if it was a borrowed car accident with the at-fault driver having no insurance.
What Happens If a Motorist Causes a Car Accident, But Doesn't Have Liability Coverage?
If a motorist causes a car accident and does not have liability coverage, they will be liable for all losses that the other driver suffered. When an uninsured motorist lacks the financial means to compensate the other motorist for the damages to their vehicle and injuries they suffered, the other driver might recover these costs by withholding a percentage of the irresponsible driver's paycheck.
This would mean paying far more per month than the cost of an insurance premium, as this figure varies greatly depending on how severely the other vehicle was wrecked and the extent of the injuries accident victims sustained in the crash. However, who bears the brunt of the financial burden is determined by the location of the incident in the United States.
Fortunately, there are 12 no-fault states in the United States. When accidents occur in one of these states, all drivers are obligated to seek compensation from their own insurance carrier for damage to their vehicle and injuries, regardless of who the driver at fault was.
Motorists Are Not Held Legally Responsible in No-fault States
Suppose a motorist causes a car crash in one of these 12 no-fault states while driving without liability. In that case, insurance is not responsible for damages unless these damages surpass a certain level. However, any penalties for driving without insurance may apply in these cases.
Drivers in At-fault States May Not Be as Lucky
The truth is that a Tennessee car accident, for example, could result in a motorist having to pay these damages, as Tennessee is an at-fault state.
If a visitor to the state is involved in a car accident in Tennessee, they may be subjected to the laws in play in their own state.
Contact Keating Law for more information on the laws in play in various states.
What Damages Can an Accident Victim Claim?
Victims can claim economic and non-economic damages following a car accident.
These damages are often easy to determine. They include the cost of medical treatment, car repairs, lost wages, damage to personal assets, and more.
A car accident victim may also claim other damages, such as the pain and suffering and mental anguish they experienced due to the accident.
Because non-economic damages are difficult to quantify, it is advisable to contact an experienced attorney from Keating Law to determine a fair amount for these special damages.
What Should Motorists Do After a Car Accident?
The first thing that any car accident victim should do following a collision is to seek medical care. Even if the injuries appear to be minor, there could be underlying issues that could have devastating effects later on.
Next, motorists should take photos of the accident scene and obtain as much information about the other motorist as possible. Drivers should then contact their insurance company to report the incident. This is an important step, as a failure to report an accident to the relevant insurance company within a reasonable timeframe may result in the insurance company denying the claim.
Finally, drivers should contact an experienced car accident lawyer who can collect evidence, such as medical bills, witness statements, and security camera footage. A vehicle accident attorney in Nashville can also help motorists deal with their insurance company, to ensure a favorable outcome.
Need a Car Accident Attorney? Contact Keating Law Firm Today!
Those who are at fault in a car accident need sound legal counsel to make the right choice when settling their case, even if they are being sued for a car accident that happened 2 years ago. Keating Law has several top-notch personal injury lawyers with decades of collective experience in dealing with personal injury cases. Contact Keating Law offices today to book a free consultation and case review by dialing (866) 836-4878.