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Lawsuits & Litigation

Can You Sue Someone After a Car Accident?

— April 19, 2021

If you are filing a lawsuit against another party, getting assistance from an experienced car accident attorney is crucial.

Being involved in a car accident means you will need to take care of many different things at once. One of the first things you need to take care of after a crash is your health and safety. Additionally, you’d want to find a way to take care of any losses you may have experienced as a result of your crash. You may be able to find a solution to your situation through a lawsuit.

Filing a claim with the court can provide you with the necessary tools to get compensation for your full losses. However, your ability to sue the liable parties may be subject to specific state rules and regulations. It is essential to learn about how your state handles car accident claims and consult with an experienced car accident attorney who can guide you through the claim process.

Is it Possible to Sue Someone After a Car Accident?

As the victim in a car accident, you may want to pursue compensation from the liable parties. However, the process by which you can get assistance after a car crash will depend on how your state handles the claims for car accidents. Sometimes you can go to a civil court to initiate a lawsuit, but some states might limit your access to the courts. The reason behind this lies in the difference between “at-fault” and “no-fault” insurance laws.

Many states use at-fault insurance systems. Through this system, the victim can hold the liable parties accountable for their crash through a normal insurance claim or in a civil lawsuit. If you decide to settle your case through an insurance claim, you may get your money sooner. However, you need to consider that insurance policies may block certain damages and might not be enough to cover all of the expenses related to your crash. If you decide to file a lawsuit, the time it may take longer to get you the damages you need, but you can have the chance of fighting for more complete compensation.

Image of a Doctor Looking at an X-Ray
Doctor Looking at an X-Ray; image courtesy of via Unsplash,

Things can be more complicated in states with no-fault systems. Under no-fault rules, you cannot go directly to court and must instead turn to your own insurance policy for assistance. This rule applies regardless of who was at fault for the crash. If you meet certain thresholds, you can sue the at-at-fault parties despite these no-fault rules. This is helpful for people who suffer severe, catastrophic injuries. Most states use one or both of a monetary limit (a “monetary threshold”) or a definition of what constitutes “severe” or “permanent” injuries (a “verbal threshold”) to draw the line as to who can go to court.

How Long Does it Take to Resolve a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Every car accident is different, and each claim brings unique circumstances to be evaluated. Your case may take more or less time depending on your state’s insurance rules, too. If you are in a no-fault state and file your claim with your insurance, they will begin an investigation to determine how much compensation you may get. Their investigation can extend to several months or more, depending on things such as how bad your injuries were, what property damage you suffered, and how much your medical bills cost, among other elements. Keep in mind that insurance companies protect their own interests and do not necessarily protect yours. It is not surprising to see an insurer take a long time to investigate a claim and render a decision months after your filing.

If your file a lawsuit against the liable parties in an at-fault state (or a no-fault state where you meet the requirements to sue), it means you will need to go through the ordinary court process. To determine how long this will take, you will need to consider the time it takes to file your claim, serve a copy to the defendant, start the discovery process, and get to the actual trial. Additionally, you will need to be able to show all of the evidence you have and present arguments supporting your allegations as a plaintiff. Collecting evidence and building a case is a process that can take a long time depending on the specific circumstances of your case. More complex cases, such as cases involving more than two drivers, can take longer.

Additionally, you must consider that every state has a statute of limitations governing the time every plaintiff has to file their lawsuits. Different states have different filing times, usually two to four years. It is essential to consult a lawyer in your state to make sure you follow your state’s laws and know how much time you have to file a car accident lawsuit after your crash.

Do I Need an Attorney to Sue Someone After a Car Accident?

If you are filing a lawsuit against another party, getting assistance from an experienced car accident attorney is crucial. There are many different rules and regulations in place you need to meet in order to be successful in your claim. For instance, the courts will expect every plaintiff to meet all of the procedural requirements set forth by the rules of civil procedure in your state. This is something that can be overwhelming and complicated, especially if you have never been part of a civil lawsuit before.

Additionally, the court expects all plaintiffs to present all of their evidence supporting the at-fault party’s liability and negligence, which is the main element to prove in these claims. Moreover, you must be able to build comprehensive, compelling, and persuasive arguments to help the jury justify a ruling in your favor. Your attorney should be able to provide you with all of the required legal assistance in your case.

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