If you have been in a car accident you might wonder if a lawsuit is worth your time. One can easily quantify things like property damage and medical costs, and depending on your insurance coverage, the other driver’s coverage, and the nature of the accident, you can recoup those costs. But how do you quantify other damages like pain and suffering? And would the courts recognize these issues if you raised them in a lawsuit? Granted, not every car accident requires a lawsuit, but if your accident is severe enough it would be worth your time to file suit against the other driver.
Why You Should Consider Filing a Lawsuit
In cases where there are no injuries it is generally not worth suing the other driver, especially if fault is clearly established and the insurance companies are cooperative. But if you have been injured and/or suffered reasonable property damage to your vehicle then a lawsuit will be the way to go.
This is not to say that there is no work for you to do to have a successful lawsuit. You and your injury attorney will have to gather and provide evidence, prove that the other driver was at fault, and quantify the damages that you have suffered. Some of the evidence you will need to provide includes medical bills, vehicle repair invoices, police reports, witness testimony, accident reconstruction reports, pictures, and video (if any exists).
Hiring a vehicle and bicycle accident attorney after an accident can be advantageous for several reasons. They can help you calculate the settlement offer that you properly deserve. They can also determine if the insurance company’s settlement offer is too low, opening the space for negotiation.
Cost Recoup: Insurance Companies vs. Lawsuit Results
Insurance companies have a mission to serve their clients — and to avoid expensive pay-outs for accident claims. In addition to covering your medical and repair costs, you may be offered a compensatory reward for your damages. Chances are this compensation award will be on the low side, and if you feel that is the case you are free to reject what they have offered in order to opt for a lawsuit to recoup what you deserve.
With a lawsuit, you can receive the following compensation:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Ambulance costs
- Vehicle and property damage
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Punitive damages
Negligent Actions You Will Want to Consider Before Suing Another Driver
Negligence is when a person willfully acts in a way that breaches the common notion of a duty of care. When another driver acts in a negligent way they can cause serious harm, and these acts include, but are not limited to:
- Texting and driving
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Failure to yield
- Driving while intoxicated
- Road rage
- Driving without a license or insurance
- Distraction by a negligent passenger
If any of these actions can be proven, and they lead to serious harm to you and your vehicle, then it would be worth moving forward with a lawsuit.
Pros and Cons to a Car Accident Lawsuit
First, you have a chance to receive a better compensation package. Second, you have a chance to hold the other driver accountable for their actions. Third, you can appeal an unsatisfactory result given by insurance companies, judges, and juries.
For the cons, you may find that juries are unpredictable. They may see things differently from the evidence you and your attorney have offered. Next, you might discover that the burden of proof that the other party was at fault and negligent is a bar too high. The same goes for the quantifying of your damages. A jury might see your claim as arbitrary.
The final judgment as to whether to file a lawsuit after a car accident falls on you. In any case, you should consult a car and truck accident attorney if your circumstances show that you have incurred damage that you cannot reasonably pay for.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, and real estate closings on this website. He is always available in any of the firm’s offices or by phone anytime for a consultation. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply any feedback. We appreciate our readers and love to hear from you!