Disputing Fault–Car Accidents
Personal injury cases are legal disputes that arise when a party suffers harm as a result of an act and/or incident caused by the actions of another. Often times, the responsible party pays damages to the injured person for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other ongoing expenses. Every case is different, but claims involving car accidents are the most common type of personal injury case. While personal injury cases can be formalized through the retention of an attorney, hundreds of minor personal injury claims are filed throughout the country every day. Formal personal injury claims can be determined through litigation and a court judgment or, as is much more common, through informal settlement agreements. Consequently, there are five things that an individual should know when disputing fault for a car accident:
1. Check Your State. While many states base compensation on which party was at fault for the accident, some do not. Consequently, it is important to check the state’s local policies and statutes to determine the best, next steps for an injured individual.
2. Notify the Insurance Company. Initial communications with an involved insurance company may be stressful, especially if one of the companies refuses to compensate the injured party for a variety of reasons. If an individual is injured in a car crash and the at-fault insurance company denies that party’s initial claim, the victim needs to immediately notify the insurance company that he/she disputes the company’s finding of fault. By notifying the company immediately, a victim may be able to negotiate further with the company and settle quicker than expected.
3. Obtain Police Reports. Often times, at-fault parties are ticketed at the scene of the accident if police were called to investigate. As a result, a citation may be an important indicator when determining fault for a particular accident. Likewise, if ticketed on scene, the cited individual may be able to fight the citation in court if he/she acts within a reasonable amount of time.
4. Voice Disagreements. Frequently, individuals who voice their disagreements push investigators to review their findings more carefully. Even if the fact finders do not change their original opinions, speaking up creates a record of disagreement that may be important further into the litigation process.
5. Retain an Attorney. Although not required, retaining a car accident lawyer, like from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, may help make the settlement process easier for the victim. For an untrained individual, negotiating with an opposing party may prove to be an unnecessary challenge. As a result, many experts recommend that injured parties retain representation to ensure their demands are adequately represented and met.
The decision to file a lawsuit can have monumental impacts on a plaintiff’s life. Personal injury lawsuits are becoming exceedingly more common throughout the United States with nearly 400,000 cases filed each year. As a result, an interested party needs to be fully informed before pursuing any set legal reparations. While litigation is always an option, settlements provide an opportunity for parties to resolve the dispute outside of court; disputing fault is just the first step in the lengthy settlement process.