If you or someone you love has been in an auto accident, you'll have to deal with the other motorist, his or her insurer, lawyers, doctors and many others, and you'll probably be without your car. Deciding to sue is never an easy choice; read on to learn when you should bring legal action after an auto accident.
When to File Suit After an Auto Accident
Although it's the insurer's job to protect the interests of policyholders, they're still there to make a profit. Insurers often settle claims early to avoid extra expense, and in some cases, you may make a bigger recovery by suing the at-fault driver. Use the following three steps to decide whether to sue.
- Document everything. Lawsuits and insurance claims are based on evidence, and you'll need it to prove your case. Be sure to take pictures of the scene of the accident, to document your income loss, and to make copies of medical and car repair bills.
- Hire an attorney. Whether you settle your claim in or out of court, it's wise to hire legal representation. Lawyers can describe accident facts in a clear, concise manner, which can help you maximize your recovery.
- Make the decision. Once you have gathered the necessary information and talked to a lawyer, it's time to decide whether to sue the at-fault driver. Accident disputes are typically handled through both motorists' insurers, and the other party's insurance company will try to give you as low of an estimate as possible.
If you've followed the steps above, you and your attorney should have a good idea of the extent of your damages including lost wages and medical bills. If you are offered a settlement that's lower than the amount you owe, you can sue the other party to make up the difference.
Insurers only cover economic damages; pain and suffering, loss of companionship and emotional distress are not covered during a claim. If you feel as if you have suffered significant non-financial harm, you should bring legal action against the other driver.
File as Early as Possible
Most states have a one- or two-year statute of limitations on car accident claims. If there is even a slight chance that your insurer won't offer you fair compensation, consult an attorney as soon as possible. Whether you are filing a claim or suing, auto accident cases can be stressful, but an accident attorney, like those at The Jaklitsch Law Group, can help you through the process.Share