Sometimes the most complicated process in a car collision lawsuit is determining who is at fault. For instance, if you were injured as a passenger in a multi-car pile up, determining who owes you compensation may be a little complicated, in some cases, there may be multiple parties at fault. Even if fault is easy to determine, as the victim, you will need to make sure you keep a complete and accurate record of the damages you have sustained.
Damages come in various forms: medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage, lost time from work, and many other costs. Basically anything that could take a economic, physical, or emotional toll on you should be included in your damage calculation when attempting to obtain compensation after a car crash. Make sure to keep a record of all bills and incidental expenses as well as a journal of your injuries and the process of treatment and healing. Your lawyer can tell you what will probably be admissible as evidence, but even if your records are inadmissible, they may serve refresh your memory if you are required to testify in court or a deposition.
When the Driver of the Other Car is At Fault
This is the most straight-forward hypothetical. If the other driver is found to be completely at fault, you can present all your evidence of injury, damage and expense to that driver’s insurance company. If the insurer admits liability, the only question is how much of your actual damages will you receive as a settlement. In many cases, the insurer will offer you a reduced amount to settle and you may need an experienced injury lawyer to represent you to ensure you receive the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled. If you were the passenger in one of the vehicles, the process is the same even if the negligent party was your driver. However, there may be some challenges as described below.
When the Driver You Know is Partly or Entirely at Fault
When you personally know the driver who is fully or partially at fault for the crash, the situation may be more complicated. You can still collect damages from the at-fault parties as long as you can prove damages regardless of whether or not you are related to them.
Obviously, your relationship with the driver may change if you are required to sue him. If you are concerned that a lawsuit would destroy the relationship that you have with the negligent driver, you should consult with an experienced attorney. In most cases, the defendant will be represented by an insurance company and will not have to pay any damages himself. Regardless, your attorney can advise you regarding your legal rights as well as the potential impact that any claim will have on your personal relationship with the at-fault driver.
If You’re Related to a Negligent Driver
Before you decide to sue a negligent family member, consider this: Insurance companies tend to play hardball when negotiating settlements involving family members of the negligent party The insurance company knows that victims are less likely to pursue a case all the way to trial if it is against their family member. For this reason, you should always start the process by consulting with an experienced attorney who can advise you as to the best way to proceed and let you know of the risks and pitfalls as well as the potential rewards of filing a claim against a family member.