Key Things to Remember Legally When Involved in a Car Accident
Disclaimer: Everything that you’re about to read in the next paragraph onwards is for informational purposes only and isn’t supposed to replace traditional legal counsel. If ever you want to explore the legal remedies that you can take after having been involved in a car accident, you should seek the services of a qualified lawyer specializing in car accident cases.
No matter how much caution you might be taking when you’re behind the wheel, there will always be another driver that you may encounter while on the road who isn’t as cautious as you are and can hit your car. As much as you want to reassure yourself that it wouldn’t happen to you, there’s no telling when you’d suddenly become involved in a car accident. Thus, you would want to take note of some key things to remember legally should a car accident ever happen to you.
What Are Some Things for You to Remember Legally When Involved in a Car Accident?
While it’s completely normal to experience shock and trauma right after another driver had hit your vehicle, you would want to maintain a calm demeanor and presence of mind for you to get back on your feet faster. You would also want to know that you can do the following things legally in the event that you become involved in a car accident:
1. You would have to submit a personal injury claim to the insurance provider of the other driver who had crashed into your vehicle.
Being in the receiving end of a car accident, you’re bound to lose a lot of money due to medical expenses, wages that you weren’t able to earn, and any repairs that would be done to your car for it to be restored back to working condition.
● Aside from recovering your own health and well-being, you would want to recover the money that you’ve lost as a result of the car accident that you got involved in by seeking compensation for the damages that it caused you and your vehicle.
● You can work with an auto accident attorney to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim with the other driver’s insurance provider who would investigate everything that has to do with the car accident itself.
● The other driver’s insurance provider would then offer you an initial settlement amount if it accepts your claim.
2. You and the other driver’s insurance provider can settle out of court to save time and money.
As much as you might want to take the driver who had hit your vehicle to court by filing a lawsuit against them, letting your case undergo a trial can take up too much time and money. It would, therefore, be a relief on your end to know that rather than file a lawsuit, you can choose to settle with the other driver’s insurance provider out of court either by mediation or arbitration instead.
● However, settling out of court requires that both you and the other driver’s insurance provider should agree to it. Otherwise, you can proceed with the next item on this list.
● The only difference between mediation and arbitration is the amount of decision-making that the third party – in this case, the mediator or arbiter – has to make regarding the initial settlement that the other driver’s insurance provider offered to you.
● In mediation, the mediator doesn’t get to pass any judgment between you and the driver’s insurance provider which means that both of you would have to come up with a final settlement amount by yourselves.
● On the other hand, arbitration lets the arbiter decide the final settlement amount that the other driver’s insurance provider has to give to you.
● You would want to bring a personal injury attorney along with you though during either mediation or arbitration and consult with them first if you should accept the final settlement amount or not.
● A personal injury attorney can determine for you if the final settlement amount as decided during either mediation or arbitration is sufficient to cover all the damages that were inflicted on you by the car accident that you got involved in.
3. If the final settlement amount still isn’t enough to serve as compensation, you can file a complaint against the other driver who had hit your vehicle.
In case the settlement amount that was decided upon through either mediation or arbitration isn’t sufficient to cover all the damages resulting from the car accident, you can sue the other driver instead.
● You would have to make sure though to check your state’s statute of limitations so that you’ll know how much time you and your personal injury attorney have to file your complaint against the other driver.
● However, you should also be open to the possibility that the other driver may file a counterclaim against you which you’ll have to respond to as well to clear yourself of any liability.
● Filing a lawsuit against the other driver should only be used as a last-resort option to avoid wasting too much of your time and money.
While car accidents can be avoided from occurring by driving without causing any harm to other fellow drivers, there’s no telling when a car accident might happen to you. Thus, you would want to bear in mind some of the things mentioned above for you to remember legally if ever you find yourself in a car accident. To further explore your legal options, you would have to contact a licensed attorney who knows their way around car accident cases so that you have legal backing in case either you or the other driver who got involved in it would like to let a court decide who exactly is at fault for letting a mishap like that occur.
About Joanne Reed
Joanne Reed has been writing about law and business for almost a decade, and is currently writing her next big law project. She is an avid sports fan and loves watching games if she has free time.