When to Sue the Other Driver after an Accident
The average driver can expect to get into a car accident three to four times over the course of their driving career, according to the car insurance industry. If you’re involved in a fender bender, where cars are damaged but no-one is hurt, you and the other driver will most likely exchange insurance information, and the insurance companies will figure out which one pays out to repair the damage. But what happens if you suffer a serious injury or permanent disability as a result of an accident, or have a run-in with an uninsured motorist? In those cases, you may want to consider a lawsuit against the other driver.
An auto accident lawsuit is considered a personal injury claim, and as such is based on the legal theory of negligence. To prove a negligence claim, you have to show that the other party owed a duty of reasonable care, that they failed to use reasonable care, and that their actions caused your injury. Drivers’ duty of reasonable care is to follow the rules of the road—obeying traffic signals and traffic laws—and to drive safely by maintaining their vehicle properly and staying in control of it while they’re driving. If their failure to do so results in an injury to another party, they can be held liable for the resulting damages. However, as in other personal injury cases, you will have to prove that the other driver was at fault. If your own negligence caused or contributed to your injury, the other driver may not be held liable.
The vast majority of states, including Arizona, require drivers to maintain auto insurance. However, the limits of a driver’s auto insurance policy may not be sufficient to cover all the damages, especially if a victim suffers a major injury or permanent disability as a result of an accident. Your expenses after a serious accident can include not only car repairs (or replacement, if your vehicle was totaled), but also medical bills, lost work time, and pain and suffering. If you are seriously injured or suffer ongoing disability, the combined costs of medical bills and lost income can easily exceed what an insurance company is willing to pay out. In such a case, it may be necessary to sue the at-fault driver to recover the full cost of damages. Likewise, if you have been injured by an uninsured motorist, you may have no option to recover damages except to sue the driver, as there is no insurance company in the case to offer a settlement.
If you are considering an auto accident lawsuit, it is in your best interest to consult an attorney specializing in such cases as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will help evaluate your case, instruct you in gathering evidence and documenting costs to support your claim, and ensure that you meet critical statue of limitations deadlines so you do not lose your right to sue to recover damages. The Phoenix auto accident lawyers at Hodes, Milman & Liebeck have a proven track record of success. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.