Car accidents happen every day. When someone else causes an accident that you're involved in, you have to think about who is going to pay for the damage and medical bills. For many people, that means filing a personal injury lawsuit. Here are three things that can impact your case.
1. You share fault for the accident.
The thing about car accidents is that, in many cases, both drivers are at fault. If the court finds that you share fault for the accident, it can affect your personal injury case greatly. There are two different legal doctrines that courts use to determine compensation when there is shared fault: comparative negligence and contributory negligence.
With comparative negligence, there are two different versions: pure and modified. In pure comparative negligence, each party is only able to collect compensation for the amount of the accident they didn't cause. So, if you are found to be 20% responsible for the accident and the defendant is only 80% responsible, you will only be able to collect 80% of the damages that you requested. However, the defendant can counter-sue you for 20% of their medical costs and property damage.
In modified comparative negligence, you can only collect compensation if you are less than 50% responsible for the accident.
On the other hand, contributory negligence prevents the plaintiff from collecting compensation if they are found to share any fault for the accident, no matter how small. This has been seen as an unfair rule, but it is still used in several states.
2. You let the statute of limitations run out.
Your ability to collect compensation from a defendant in a personal injury case not only depends on who is at fault, but it also depends on you filing your claim in time. Personal injury cases, such as car accidents, have a time limit - and the clock starts ticking the minute the accident happens.
Every state has its own laws regarding the time limit to file personal injury cases, which range from one year to 10 years. However, a good rule of thumb is to go ahead and consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as you can following an accident. That way you will know how long you have to file your case.
3. You didn't see a doctor after the accident.
After the car accident, it is imperative that you seek medical attention. Even if you don't feel injured, you still need to be seen by a doctor within 72 hours. So even if you don't want to go to the emergency room, you need to be sure that you are seen by your regular physician within three days of the accident.
Why do you need to seek medical treatment, even if you feel fine? One reason is that a lot of injuries don't present with symptoms right away. Sometimes, you can have massive internal injuries that you don't even know that you have until a day or two after the fact.
Also, failing to seek medical attention within 72 hours of the car accident can drastically reduce the amount of money you are able to collect from the defendant. If you wait too long to see a doctor, the defense attorney can argue that your injuries weren't caused by the accident in question.
Another thing to think about is the way insurance companies evaluate claims. If you don't see a doctor within 72 hours after the accident, the software that the insurance company uses to determine the value of accident claims will greatly reduce the amount that they are willing to pay you.
So, while it may cost you money to see a doctor after an accident, it could cost you even more money in your personal injury case if you don't.
For more help with your personal injury claim, contact a professional like those at Wolfley & Wolfley, P.S.Share
14 July 2015
After my mom turned 68 years old, she started doing all kinds of strange things. She spent her monthly retirement checks on excessive amounts of food and clothing but didn't pay her rent or bills on time. At one point, she forgot who I was to her. Since my mom lived alone at an independent apartment complex, I couldn't monitor her behavior every second of the day. I brought these things to my mom's attention, but she refused to get medical help. After my mother called the fire department to report a fake fire, I took legal action. I contacted a general attorney and became my mother's power of attorney. I now had the right to monitor my mom's finances and medical care. If your loved one needs help, read my blog for information on general attorneys. You'll find tips, articles and much more to help you get started.