After being involved in a car accident where you sustain personal injuries, you could have grounds to file a lawsuit against the responsible party for monetary damages with help from a car accident attorney. The process of filing an accident claim with your car insurance company is the same as it is for minor fender benders.
However, the difference with accidents where injuries occur is ensuring you receive compensation for medical care and treatment, loss of earnings, and other such financial impacts the accident has created. To this end, rather than claiming your injuries against your own insurance, you would sue the responsible party and their insurance company.
Prior to filing a lawsuit, the most important aspect is determining who was at fault for the accident. Did the other driver run a red light or fail to yield the right-of-way? If so, then they could be held 100% at fault.
On the other hand, were you improperly changing lanes and, as a result of your actions, caused another car to rear-end you? In this case, you could be held partially at fault for the car accident. In Texas, the amount of damages you can seek can be reduced if you are shown to have partially contributed to the accident, which is referred to as the modified comparative negligence rule. If you were 49% or less responsible, you can still seek damages at a reduced rate.
The next aspect of filing a lawsuit for accident injuries is knowing who to sue. Most of the time the liable party is the driver of the other vehicle. However, there are situations and circumstances where the driver may not be the responsible party—for example, the driver just had his car serviced at an auto repair shop.
He had new brakes installed, his tires rotated and balanced, and a front end alignment. Upon investigation into the accident, it is determined the cause of the accident was due to his brakes not working. Further inspection reveals that two of his brake line hoses were not properly reconnected. In this example, the liable party would be the auto repair shop and possibly the mechanic who installed the new brakes.
When to Settle and When to Sue
Most accident injury lawsuits never go to trial. Instead, they are settled out of court. Settlements are acceptable when the insurance company is offering a fair and just amount. Your personal injury lawyer will review any settlement offer received, as well as the pros and cons of accepting the offer with you.
Injury claims that go to trial do so because the insurance company is not willing to offer a fair and just settlement. Quite often, once a trial date is scheduled, then the insurance company is willing to settle out of court.
It is important to keep in mind that each case and the circumstances of the car accident can and do vary. As such, it is highly recommended to consult with an accident injury lawyer to find out if you have grounds to sue and whether taking a settlement or going to court is in your best interests.