3 Things That Can Affect Your Claim In A Car Accident Lawsuit

If you walk away from a car accident that was caused by someone else, you likely want them to compensate you for your injuries and damage to your car. In some cases, the party responsible (or their insurance agency) takes care of things quickly and without much fuss. However, there are times when they don't want to pay and you have to take them to court. It is important to know that your claim is not a slam dunk to win in most cases. Here are three things that can affect your claim in a car accident lawsuit.

1. No-fault laws.

If you live in a state that has what is called a "no-fault law" in regard to car insurance, that means you must seek compensation from your own car insurance company for injuries and damages. In most cases, you are only able to file a claim against the negligent driver or their insurance company unless your medical bills go over a certain amount or your injuries are considered extremely severe.

The states that have no-fault laws in regard to car accidents are:

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Florida
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • North Dakota
  • Kansas
  • Hawaii
  • Michigan
  • Kentucky
  • Utah
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • Massachusetts 

2. Your degree of fault in the accident.

If it is found that you share fault in the accident, it can decrease the amount of compensation you are able to collect -- or even make it where you can't collect any at all. For instance, if your state uses comparative negligence in accident cases and you are found to be partially responsible for the accident, the amount you can collect will be reduced by your degree of fault. So, if the judge found you were 30% responsible for the accident, your awarded compensation would be 30% less than what you could've gotten otherwise.

However, if your state uses contributory negligence when determining accident cases and you are found to be partially at fault, you will likely not be able to collect any compensation at all. It doesn't matter how little of the fault you share with the other party either.

3. The statute of limitations.

Many people don't realize that the clock begins ticking on their ability to collect compensation for an accident as soon as it happens. Depending on your state, the statute of limitations can be anywhere between a year and 10 years. You need to be certain of the statute of limitations in your state so you can be sure to get the money you are owed for an accident. Once the clock runs out, you will not be able to file a lawsuit over the accident.

For more information, call a professional like Stephen G. McGowan LLC.