3 Things That Can Impact Your Car Accident Case
Car accidents are common. Most people have either been involved in one or know someone who has. The part about being in a car accident that so many don't think about is what you have to do to get compensated if it wasn't your fault. Sometimes the person responsible or the insurance company will pay without any problem. However, a lot of people end up having to go to court over the accident. Here are three things that can impact your car accident case.
1. Your own level of fault for the accident.
Even if the defendant is admitting they have some fault in the accident, they will likely try to argue that you are not completely blameless in what happened. Sometimes that defense fails, but if it happens to be proven, it can affect your case.
If you are found to share fault in the accident and your state follows the legal doctrine of contributory negligence, you could be barred from collecting any compensation. This is because, traditionally, you can't collect no matter how small your degree of fault is.
However, if your state follows comparative negligence, you can still collect if you are found to share fault for the accident. You will just have the amount of damages you're requesting reduced by your degree of fault.
So, if you're asking for $25,000 in damages and the judge says you caused 15% of the accident, you will only collect 85% of that amount from the defendant. Some states even take comparative negligence further and won't let you collect damages if your degree of fault exceeds the defendant's or if you are both equally at fault.
2. No fault laws.
Another thing that can impact whether or not you can win a car accident case against the person responsible for the accident is if you live in a state with no fault laws. No fault laws only exist in a few states and the District of Columbia. In those states, those involved in car accidents are legally required to go to their own car insurance company for compensation - no matter who is at fault.
If you live in a state that has a no fault car insurance law, it can still be possible to sue the other person. This can be done if you have medical bills from the accident that meet the state's minimum medical bill requirement. If you don't, then you are responsible for whatever amount your insurance company won't pay.
3. Not getting medical treatment after the accident.
It should be a given that you need to be evaluated and treated by a doctor after a car accident. But, if you have no obvious injuries and you feel fine, you can be tempted to skip medical attention. The only problem with this is, once those injuries do manifest themselves a day or so later, it's a lot easier for the defense to argue you didn't get the injuries in that accident. And, if they are successful in their argument, the judge can completely dismiss your claim.
As you can see, your car accident case is not always a slam dunk. You may be able to collect the compensation you feel you is due from the defendant, but you also could end up with nothing in the end. For more information, speak with a personal injury attorney at Edward J. Achrem & Associates, Ltd.