Can Someone Sue Me For A Car Accident?
Following a car accident, many victims need to seek ongoing treatment for injuries, and may even find themselves unable to work and earn an income as they otherwise normally would. In addition to medical expenses, there are often considerable costs to repair damage to the vehicle involved in the accident or to replace it entirely. As a result, those involved in an accident often wonder if they can sue the driver who caused the accident – or if they can be sued themselves. This is an important question to ask.
FOCUSING ON FAULT – DETERMINING LIABILITY FOR AN ACCIDENT
In determining who might be liable for a car accident, determining fault is one of the most important components in any car accident claim. All drivers have a responsibility to drive in such a way that they do not put others in harm’s way. A driver who fails in that duty is negligent, and when that negligence leads to a car accident and injury to another, the negligent driver is usually considered to be "at fault" for the accident.
Laws about liability and negligence will vary from state to state. In some states, the at-fault driver is entirely responsible for the costs of the accident they caused, while other states may base responsibility and liability on percentages of fault. Ultimately, consulting with an attorney about the laws regarding liability for car accidents in your particular state will be essential to a thorough understanding of your rights and responsibilities.
In the majority of states, insurance companies play an important role in reimbursing car accident victims for their damages. The insurance company of the driver who is determined to be responsible will often compensate the victim, given that certain conditions are met. As is often the case with complex legal matters, there are some exceptions to the rule.
LOOKING BEYOND INSURANCE
While the insurance company will generally bear the majority of the financial responsibility for the at-fault driver, there are still some situations where additional legal measures may be taken. In some circumstances, an accident lawyer may recommend proceeding with a lawsuit against the at-fault driver personally. Some of these situations include:
- The insurer has met its maximum: In some cases, if an insurer has already paid the maximum amount for which it is liable on a claim, one driver may sue the other for the additional amount.
- The insurer is unwilling to negotiate: In other instances, the insurance company may offer an extremely low settlement for an accident or may simply refuse to negotiate or make an offer at all. If this is the case, suing the other driver (or being sued if you were at fault) is a possibility.
- The at-fault driver is uninsured: If the driver who was at fault for the accident is uninsured, there will obviously be no insurance company to send a claim to. In that case, the victim of the accident may seek to hold the at-fault driver personally responsible.
If these, or other extenuating circumstances exist, it may be possible that you can sue – or be sued – depending on whether or not you were at fault in the car accident at issue.
It’s also important to realize, regardless of whether you are filing a lawsuit or being sued, that there are specific time limits that will apply to a case. These are called statutes of limitations in legal terminology. If these time limits pass, a court might deny a claim entirely. For that reason, it is essential to consult with an attorney following any car accident, to ensure that you can best protect yourself and assert your rights.
RODEN LAW – YOUR CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS
At Roden Law, we know car accident law. We understand every aspect of the litigation process from beginning to end – and we’re here to walk with you every step of the way. You need and deserve a legal team on your side who has knowledge, experience, and a hard-earned reputation for excellence. At Roden Law, we are that team. We’ll pursue the best legal strategies on your behalf, and we’re ready to get started. If you are ready to take the first step toward a better and brighter chapter ahead, give us a call. We look forward to speaking with you soon.