When someone is involved in a car wreck, one of the first things that the victim must decide is whether it makes sense to file a lawsuit. Not every car wreck requires a lawsuit to collect compensation, and not every victim is entitled to payment. It is important to understand the options available for recovering compensation in a car wreck and which choice is right for a particular case. A personal injury attorney can often help the victim make these important decisions.
Establishing Liability and Estimating Damages in a Car Wreck
The first and most important fact that must be established in any car wreck is liability. When someone else is legally responsible for the victim’s injuries, that party is said to be liable. Liability is not the same thing as fault. Instead, liability looks at who is responsible for paying damages. An employer, insurance company or another party may be liable for a crash along with the individual who caused the accident.
Once the parties who are liable for the accident have been identified, the victim may file an injury claim. A claim allows the victim to recover monetary compensation, such as payment for medical expenses, lost wages due to inability to work, and even payment for pain and suffering.
The Insurance Claims Process
Normally, the first line of compensation in a car wreck is the at-fault party’s insurance coverage. The insurance company will examine the case and make some type of offer of settlement. Very few car wreck cases proceed to trial, but both sides are usually aware of the strength of the victim’s claim and will base the amount of the settlement offer with this in mind. Victims with a strong claim will usually secure a reasonable settlement more easily than those with a weak or invalid claim.
It is important that the victim have documentation to support his or her claim, including a police report showing the circumstances of the accident and a copy of all medical bills and other expenses related to the case. These will be turned over to the insurance company to support the victim’s assertions, along with a demand for a certain amount of money. The insurance company may counter with a lower amount; if the victim agrees, a settlement will be reached which is binding on both parties.
Once a settlement is reached, the victim cannot file a lawsuit at a later time for more money. Therefore, it is very important that the victim understand exactly what the insurance company’s offer entails and whether the amount covers all expenses and costs.
What If The Insurance Company Will Not Pay?
There are cases in which the insurance company simply refuses to pay a claim or wants to settle for a very small amount. In these cases, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover compensation. The victim may also have to file a lawsuit if the at-fault party does not have insurance or if the insurance does not cover the accident.
If you have been involved in a car wreck, consult a personal injury attorney for help before settling or filing a claim. The attorneys at David & Philpot, P.L. have been helping car wreck victims for over 20 years. Give us a call at 800.360.7015 for a free, no obligation review of your case. We will help you understand your rights and may be able to maximize the amount you receive for your claim.