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When Can You Sue Over an Auto Accident Personal Injury?
When it comes to car accidents, injury is a common consequence and one that can often lead to a lawsuit. If you are the victim of an auto accident personal injury, then you may be able to successfully sue the driver of the other vehicle for damages. To win such a suit, the plaintiff (the injury victim who files the lawsuit) must prove that the driver of the other vehicle caused the accident due to a lack of reasonable care.
There are three things that you and your lawyer will have to prove to establish before the court that the other driver was not using reasonable care.
- You must establish that the other driver had a legal duty to use care
- You have to prove that the driver violated that duty
- You must show a direct relationship between the auto accident and the personal injury
Duty of Care in Auto Accident Personal Injury Cases
To meet the duty of care required to operate a vehicle, a driver must drive at a reasonable speed, maintain proper control of the car at all times, and drive defensively. Defensive driving simply means that a driver should be looking out for situations that could cause an accident and take steps to avoid them.
It is also important you establish that the other driver created an unreasonable risk that caused the accident. If the risk the driver created is considered unreasonable, then you will be less likely to share fault. This is because courts expect for you to take action to avoid a reasonable risk, but an unreasonable risk is considered less avoidable.
Proving the Driver Is at Fault
You should also consider suing to collect recoverable damages if you are fairly certain you can prove that the motorists actions caused your injuries and that these actions were careless.
If, however, you were partially or wholly at fault for the accident, you will have a much more difficult time winning your auto accident personal injury suit. In addition, if there is any sort of intervening cause that resulted in your injury, then you will have a much more difficult time collecting damages from the driver.
No-Fault Insurance & Personal Injury Claims
Some jurisdictions have what is known as no-fault auto insurance, also known as personal injury protection. With no-fault auto insurance, the insurer automatically pays on an auto accident personal injury insurance claim. Specifically, the insurance company will pay for certain damages that the victim of the accident incurs if the victim or the other driver is covered by such a policy.
No-fault insurance pays economic damages, which include medical bills and lost income. However, pain and suffering, as well as amounts that exceed the policy limit, are not covered. If your auto accident personal injury exceeds the amount paid out by a no-fault policy or if you wish to collect damages for pain and suffering, you may be able to sue the driver at fault for this amount.
However, some states have rules regarding when you can sue the other driver for the amount that exceeds or is not covered by no-fault insurance policies. Check your states laws to see if you are able to file suit, or consult with a personal injury attorney.