Auto Accidents

Every day in the United States, people are injured and killed in car accidents that are not their fault.

Many accidents involve negligent car or truck drivers who were:

  • Impaired by drugs, alcohol, or drowsiness
  • Distracted by texting or reading text messages
  • Reckless and making poor decisions

If you can prove that a driver’s negligence caused your injuries, you could be entitled to compensation. This car accident settlement usually includes money to cover medical bills for your injuries and damage to your car.

To prove the other person was at fault for the accident, you need to file a personal injury lawsuit. Though it sounds like this is against the other driver, it is typically actually a case against that driver’s insurance company. A personal injury lawyer can handle all of the difficult work of taking your injury claim to court or settling outside of court.

Who Can File a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Two people can file a lawsuit for personal injury cases:

  • The person involved in the car crash
  • The family of the person involved in the accident

An injured car accident victim can file a lawsuit against the driver who was at fault for their accident. Car accident cases have a statute of limitations, which means you usually need to start the case within a certain time period from the date of the accident, but that varies by state.

If a car accident victim is killed, the victim’s family members can generally file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. Family members may also file a lawsuit on behalf of a minor or a loved one who was left incapacitated by the accident.

Proving Fault in a Car Accident Lawsuit

After a motor vehicle accident, the driver at fault is sometimes charged with drunk or reckless driving or other criminal offenses. A car accident lawsuit is separate from the criminal case. Your personal injury case is a civil case.

While criminal charges require that guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, a civil lawsuit only requires a “preponderance of evidence” to prove that the defendant was at fault. In other words, a negligent driver could have criminal charges dropped and still end up owing you money.

Evidence Used in a Car Accident Lawsuit

An attorney can help a victim prove that a driver was at fault for their injuries with several different pieces of evidence. This is called the “discovery process” of the case. Evidence might include:

  • The police report from the accident scene
  • Any records of criminal charges filed against the driver
  • Results from breath, blood, and urine tests
  • Footage from security cameras
  • Testimony from eyewitnesses
  • Photographic evidence

If a car accident involves a commercial driver, the company that hired the driver may hold liability for the accident. For example, a commercial driving company may be liable for a victim’s injuries. Without proof, there is no case. A lawyer needs to show evidence that the driver was hired and retained by the company despite a poor driving record.

Car Accident Compensation Awards

The amount that a victim is awarded in a car accident claim varies greatly by the type of accident they were involved in and the extent of their injuries. Car accident victims typically claim financial compensation for medical expenses, property damage, and lost income from being unable to work. Some car accident victims are also awarded compensation for their emotional distress.

If a car accident resulted in very serious injuries, a victim might claim compensation for their future medical expenses and lost income. For example, a person in their thirties who was left paralyzed from a car accident would likely claim compensation for their future medical care and lost earning capacity.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the family of a deceased car accident victim usually claims compensation for damages that include end-of-life medical care. The family may also seek reimbursement for funeral expenses, attorney fees, and loss of financial support.

What to Do After a Car Accident

Following a car accident, an injured victim should call emergency medical services and the police. Medical attention is necessary, because many injuries may reveal themselves over time. If possible, a car accident victim should try to write down the phone numbers and insurance information of all the other people who were involved in the crash.

It may also be helpful to get phone numbers from any eyewitnesses who saw the accident.

You should also talk to many car accident attorneys during a free consultation. Once you choose an attorney to represent you, they can help you complete all the steps necessary for an auto accident lawsuit.

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