Disclaimer: If you’ve been in a car accident, the following information should only be used as a general guideline as to the legal aspect of the subject matter. It does not, however, serve as actual legal advice about car accidents. To fully understand the legal nature of a car accident, feel free to speak to a licensed lawyer who has experience with car accident cases in your area.
If you’ve been in a car accident and you’re not at fault, you may have the right to sue the person who caused your injury or damage to your car. Aside from the emotional stress and trauma brought by accident, you can also look at the loss of income as a consequence. Even though filing a lawsuit allows you to recover compensation from the person responsible for the accident, here are the things you have to consider in determining when you should sue after a car accident:
1. Documentation And Evidence: A lawsuit can prosper or die depending on the evidence at hand.
● In documenting everything about the car accident, remember to take photos of the accident scene, and get copies of records involving property damage and medical bills.
● Try also to inquire and get a copy of the police report from the police authorities to support and substantiate your claim when you sue the person liable for the accident.
● Take note to document your lost wages and loss time to work (if applicable and necessary).
● Remember that having this information is essential in deciding whether to pursue a lawsuit case or not as it will give you an idea on how much damage you’ve received and how much compensation you’re going to collect from the offender.
2. Hiring Of A Lawyer: If you’ve been injured through no fault on your part, you may require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney or car accident lawyer who can listen, keep you updated and assist you in every phase of your case.
● In hiring a lawyer, make sure that you ask and verify about their specialization and what areas of law they are experienced to handle. Many attorneys specialize in car accident disputes, that’s why they can say how much you’re going to get in damages when you file a lawsuit.
● If you choose an attorney who will represent you throughout the litigation process, try to inquire about everything you need to know regarding your particular case as they are knowledgeable enough to advise whether to sue or not to sue after a car accident.
3. Making Decisions As To Whether To Sue Or Not: Once you’ve gathered all the documents and hired a defense attorney, the final step is to decide whether you should sue the person at fault or not. Below are the things you should think about when coming up with the decision:
● The extent of injury: If you think you’ve sustained serious injuries from the car accident which you’re not at fault for and the injuries are also deemed permanent, you can have the power to sue the offender to claim for damages. In cases like these, remember to verify the extent of injuries you’ve had to determine the necessity of initiating a legal action before the court of law.
● Types of damages you can claim: It’s essential that you and your attorney know what types of damages you want to recover from the person at fault. In most cases, you can verify the economic and non-economic damages you can take when you sue after a car accident. Below are examples of economic and non-economic damages you can recover:
a) Economic Damages:
o Lost Wages and Lost Time To Work
o Medical Expenses
o Property Damages
b) Non-Economic Damages:
o Emotional Distress
o Loss of Family Relations
o Pain and Suffering
● Period as to when you should sue after a car accident: Should you decide to bring a legal action to court after a car accident, the sooner you file, the better chance of getting a judgment in your favor. Take note of the time limits provided by the court in filing a lawsuit because failure to file within the allowed period means that losing your right to sue forever. If you’re considering a lawsuit, remember that the period runs out, that’s why it’s best if you sue the offender now while the evidence is still available.
● Preparation for a lengthy legal battle: If you consider filing a personal injury lawsuit, it’s best if you’re prepared enough to handle it as the litigation is a long, tiresome process. The duration may take years depending on the circumstances of your case. That’s why being emotionally and mentally prepared for the case is the key.
When deciding when you should sue after a car accident, one of the essential things to take note is the total amount of harm you’ve experienced. While these matters are stressful and time-consuming, it’s still encouraged that you approach a talented car accident lawyer to guide and help you with every step of the case.
Ephraim Tucson is one of Emroch & Kilduff's most promising young law writers. He writes pieces on law topics for common readers. He is an avid sports fan and loves watching games if he has free time.