Few things are as traumatic as a car accident. If someone else causes the accident, that makes it even worse. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get the responsible party to pay you the compensation you are owed. If that happens to you, you will need to file a personal injury claim in court. Here are three things that can hurt your case.
1. No fault car insurance laws.
In several states, the law requires all drivers to carry no fault car insurance. That way, if you are involved in a car accident, all parties are required to seek compensation from their own car insurance company. This helps keep frivolous personal injury lawsuits from being filed against people unjustly.
However, that is not to say that you can't file a personal injury claim against the other party. Most states will allow you to sue the person responsible for the accident as long as certain standards are met. For example, a no fault state could allow personal injury lawsuits if you suffered very serious injuries or your medical bills reach a certain amount.
2. Shared fault for the accident.
Another thing that can hurt your personal injury case for the car accident is if you are found to be partially responsible. If it is proven you contributed to the cause of the car accident, it will impact your case significantly.
If your state uses contributory negligence when determining your case, then you will not win anything if you are partially responsible for the car accident. It doesn't matter how little you contributed to causing the accident either.
However, most states use a form of comparative negligence when determining a car accident case with shared fault. This method still allows for the awarding of damages, but the amount will likely be reduced by your degree of fault. For instance, if you are found responsible for 35% of the accident, you will only get 65% of the damages being asked for.
There are two modified versions of comparative negligence that some states also use. One has a 50% rule, which states that a party can only recover damages if their fault is 49% or less. The other uses a 51% rule, which states that you can only recover damages if your share of the fault is 50% or less.
3. The statute of limitations expires.
Personal injury cases have a statute of limitations, which is the amount of time you have to file a case in court. If you fail to file your car accident lawsuit in court in time, then you will not be able to collect any damages from the other driver.
Every state differs in the amount of time they give you to file. You usually have at least a year, but some will give you up to ten years to file. The clock starts ticking as soon as the accident happens, so you should consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as you can afterward.
For more information, contact a car accident attorney in your area.