Car accidents tend to be events that can fast change your life. While the majority are minor, accidents that result in substantial personal injury or property damage can have a tremendous impact on the lives of everyone involved.
The at-fault driver is likely responsible for providing compensation for the losses of the other driver. The type and amount of compensation that can be recovered after an accident differs depending on the laws of the state where the accident occurred.
The most common types of compensation available after a car accident are:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
- Loss of consortium
No doubt, the injured victim will consider themselves entitled to receive these damages. He or she may thus sue you for the car accident.
Seek the Assistance of a Fast-Working Attorney
Being sued after a car accident is a stressful and nerve-wracking situation for many. In addition to the physical and emotional effects a collision can have, there are often legal and financial implications as well. What should you do if someone sues you for a car accident?
After being involved in an injury-causing car accident, you need legal help and advice as fast as possible.
So why not approach us? At Gould Injury Law, we are known as “The Fast Firm” because we understand that time is of the essence. Speaking with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on our legal team can help you feel confident about your next steps.
What’s more, while certain types of compensation are available to injured parties after an accident, the amount of compensation that can be recovered often depends on two factors: the insurance policy and the level of fault each party has for the accident. These factors are best utilized to your advantage when an experienced attorney examines them.
Examine Your Car Insurance Policy
When you pay your car insurance each month, you likely hope you never need to file a claim. However, your insurance policy is designed to protect you if you are involved in an at-fault accident.
While a personal injury lawsuit may be filed against you, it is your insurance company that has the responsibility to provide compensation after an accident. Your coverage should be in place to protect you and pay the settlement as required.
However, your car insurance company is only required to provide coverage up to policy limits. The amount of liability coverage a person carries depends on the mandatory insurance limits in the state, as well as the specific policy that is chosen.
In Connecticut, a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident is required for all drivers. In the case of serious injuries, it is likely that a minimum insurance company policy will not be enough to cover all the damages in a car accident.
Insurance companies are notorious for wanting to settle a case as fast as possible, either by denying responsibility or leaving the client on the hook. If you feel like your insurance company has not represented your interests fairly, you may have legal options.
A free consultation with us can help you understand whether you have grounds for a bad faith claim against your insurance company. Gould Injury Law wants to achieve fast results on your behalf.
Consider How Fault Affects Compensation in a Car Accident Lawsuit
Very few accidents are found to be 100 percent the fault of one party. For example, let’s imagine that Driver A is making a left turn and hits Driver B, who is going straight. Normally, we would assume that Driver A is the at-fault driver in the car accident since he made the left turn.
However, imagine that Driver B was speeding, making it difficult to determine the appropriate timing of the turn. Additionally, Driver B was changing lanes in the middle of the intersection while neglecting to use a turn signal. While these factors may not remove Driver A’s fault completely, they can reduce the amount of fault he has for the crash.
Each state views fault differently in the context of compensation after an accident. Some states, often called “No Fault” states, allow each party to recover compensation from his or her own insurance company, regardless of fault.
In “Tort” or “Fault” states like Connecticut, the level of fault has an impact on the amount of compensation that can be awarded. Following the modified comparative fault laws in Connecticut, compensation is available if the driver is found to be less than 51 percent at fault for the accident, and the amount of compensation is reduced by his or her percentage of fault.
In the example above, imagine that Driver A is found to be 60 percent at fault, while Driver B is found to be 40 percent at fault for the accident. Since Driver B is less than 51 percent at fault for the crash, he can recover compensation for his losses. However, if his damages were $100,000, he would only be able to recover $60,000.
Navigate the Steps of a Personal Injury Lawsuit With a Lawyer’s Help
After any event that results in injury, there is a limit to how long a person has to file a lawsuit. In Connecticut, this time limit, or statute of limitations, is generally 2 years after the incident.
Personal injury lawsuits fall under civil law. If there are any criminal charges related to the car accident, these are separate and follow different procedures.
In general, personal injury lawsuits follow 6 steps:
- The defendant is served: Normally, you will become aware of a lawsuit against you when you are “served,” or when you receive a legal document called a Writ of Summons. This document is to notify a defendant of legal action. There will also be a Complaint attached, which is a document detailing the allegations.
- The defendant files an appearance: Each Writ of Summons has a Return Date. This date is when the countdown begins on how much time a defendant has to respond. The defendant (or the lawyer representing him or her) must file an Appearance within 2 days of the Return Date on the Summons. The Appearance provides the court with the correct contact information and a mailing address for all future correspondence for the case.
- The defendant files a pleading: Now the defendant must respond to the Complaint made against him or her. This pleading will respond to each allegation set forth in the Complaint. It can include a motion to dismiss, revise, or strike a complaint. The defendant can also file a counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim as well. The first pleading by the defendant must be submitted within 30 days of the Return Date on the Summons.
- Both sides complete discovery: During the discovery process, both sides have a chance to gather information from each other. Evidence and important documentation can be requested and reviewed to strengthen the case. During the discovery phase, depositions can be held. During a deposition, relevant parties or witnesses are questioned under oath, even before a trial begins.
- Both sides negotiate: Negotiations will continue between both parties during these processes. In some cases, alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration, may be used to come to a settlement agreement before going to trial.
- The case goes to trial if not resolved: The majority of personal injury cases are settled before a trial becomes necessary. However, in some cases, both sides are unable to come to a fair agreement, and a trial is needed. Time is needed to select court dates, a judge, and a jury (if necessary) and to prepare for the trial.
Car accident lawsuits can take time to go through the steps listed above. At Gould Injury Law, we understand how important it is to act quickly and resolve a civil case as fast as possible.
Protect Your Side of the Story on the Accident Scene
After being involved in a car accident, it is easy to be disoriented or begin to panic. However, there are some important steps you can take in the minutes and hours after the crash that can help strengthen any potential case you may have in the future.
Immediately after a car accident, you should:
- Make sure you and others with you are safe
- Call for medical help
- Call the police to report the car accident
- Exchange information with the other driver
- Take pictures of the scene and the vehicles
- Exchange information with any witnesses
Once any immediate danger has passed, you should also seek legal advice from a car accident lawyer right away. The guidance you receive can help you understand how to communicate with the insurance company and inform you of the legal rights and options you have available to you.
Respond Fast to the Lawsuit With Gould Injury Law
Facing a car accident lawsuit can be both scary and stressful. You may feel overwhelmed and frustrated trying to deal with the insurance company and make sure your rights are being accurately and fairly represented.
At Gould Injury Law, we know that our clients need help and need it fast. You deserve the best legal advice and representation possible while also knowing that your case is being handled as fast as possible, while also prioritizing your necessities.
When you work with an experienced personal injury attorney at our firm, you can rest easy knowing that your case is in good hands. We are dedicated to fighting hard for our clients to provide them with fast, successful results. Contact us or call us today at 888-WIN-FAST to start your free consultation and learn how we can help you and your family.