If you have been injured in a car accident, then you may have already filed a claim and been denied by an insurance company. While this is bad news, it may not necessarily be the end of the road. When injuries and other costs associated with an accident go beyond what an insurance company pays, you may opt to sue for damages.
Know How Much to Sue For
The value of your accident claim will depend on many different factors. For example, you should consider the value of the pain and suffering you and any passengers have endured as a result of the accident. You can also include financial losses like car repairs, medical bills, and lost wages.
The amount you win in a potential lawsuit depends on a number of different factors, including evidence of fault on either party's behalf. The court will also assess your insurance coverage and evidence of medical issues.
Know Who to Sue
Depending on the type of lawsuit you pursue, you may sue a company or an individual. For example, in cases of manufacturer defect, you would sue the company that produced the car or performed maintenance on it. You should discuss your options with your attorney to find the best choice.
The individual you file a complaint against is the individual you sue in court, otherwise known as the defendant. The defendant has the right to answer to your claim, and, in many cases, the individual or company will deny the claims.
Know How to Prepare for a Lawsuit
Alongside your attorney, you will compile evidence to make the best case possible in the courtroom. Attorneys work with these types of cases all the time, so they are well aware of the types of evidence that make the strongest cases.
One of your first steps will be to request medical records from all doctors that have provided you with care. You will also need to gather documentation about whether or not you were able to return to work after the injury.
You should also compile data about your hours and salary before and after the injury. Be sure to keep track of what you have lost financially as a result of the car accident.
The steps of preparation and gathering evidence are part of the discovery phase. During this part of the trial, both parties will exchange information about the evidence they will present in court.
Know When to Settle
When the defendant and his or her attorneys see the evidence you have compiled, they may opt to settle before the case ever goes to trial. Settlement isn’t always a good choice, but it often can be. While settling allows you to receive compensation faster and avoid many of the costs associated with a trial, you may not be awarded as much as you would be if you go to court with your case.
Know When a Trial Is Worth It
A trial for a personal injury resulting from a car accident is worth your time if the compensation you would win justifies the costs of going to trial. The key point here is that you should always get an attorney's opinion before making a decision — it can be difficult to determine the value of a case.
Finally, keep in mind that you need to act quickly. Car accident claims must be taken to court within three years of the accident. If you sue for wrongful death case, you only have two years. This time limit may become a problem if you experience delayed symptoms associated with the incident.
Wegner & Associates is here to answer any questions about a personal injury lawsuit stemming from a car accident. Call today to set up a consultation.