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Should You Sue Over Personal Injuries Suffered in a Car Accident?
If you have suffered personal injuries resulting from a car accident, and your medical and car repair bills exceed what the other drivers insurance company can pay for, then it is time to decide whether you want to sue.
Car accident claims are the most common type of personal injury lawsuits filed in courthouses. Because courthouses are busy places, your trial date may be set far off in the future, a year or even later after the accident.
Every personal injury case, also called a tort, involves two basic issues: liability and damages. Can you prove you were damaged and can you prove the other driver, or defendant, is to blame?
Drivers are expected to exercise reasonable care when driving the roadways. So to prove the other driver caused the automobile accident, you need to show that:
- The other driver had a legal duty to use care
- The other driver violated that duty, causing the accident
- There was a direct relationship between the accident and the injury
What is a Duty to Use Care?
Someone not exercising reasonable care in the handling of their vehicle would:
- Operate the vehicle at an unsafe rate of speed
- Fail to keep the vehicle under control while driving
- Miss noticing any situation and hazard that could lead to an accident
Your attorney should examine the facts of your accident and can help you decide if you stand a good chance of winning with a car accident injury claim. Because personal injury attorneys often operate on contingency, meaning they take a percentage of any award you receive as payment for their services, they may be reluctant to pursue cases that are not winnable.
Somewhere along the way during your lawsuit, if the circumstances of the auto accident are not in dispute, the other drivers insurance company may offer you a settlement. If the settlement is sufficient to pay for medical expenses and loss of work, you may be satisfied with that, and your claim is resolved and the lawsuit dropped. If you believe you deserve more to compensate you for your pain and suffering, you can reject the offer.
Your attorney can give you an idea of what amount of money your lawsuit is likely to be awarded in court. However, very few personal injury claims go all the way to trial. While your attorney can give you advice on whether to take the settlement offer, in the end, that decision rests with you alone.