Car accidents are never fun. If someone else causes the car accident, it is even worse. Sometimes, it is necessary to take the person responsible for the car accident to court. To do that, you would need to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. Here are three things that can affect your personal injury case.
1. You live in a state with a no fault car insurance law.
There are a few states that have no fault car insurance laws. This requires you to seek compensation from your own car insurance company instead of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible for the accident.
As of right now, the only states that have no fault car insurance laws are:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Washington, D.C.
- North Dakota
Of course, that doesn't mean you can never file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver responsible for the car accident. If your particular case meets the thresholds set in place by your state, you can file a lawsuit against the other driver. In most cases, your medical bills have to reach a certain amount before that is possible. However, you will still need to seek compensation from your own insurance company first.
2. Your own negligence contributed to the accident.
Unfortunately, sometimes the accident is not just the fault of the other driver. Sometimes, the plaintiff is also found to have contributed to the accident. If that is true for your case, then it can affect your ability to win compensation.
If your state follows the legal doctrine of contributory negligence, then you will be barred from seeking compensation from the other driver. Contributory negligence states that you can't collect any damages if you share fault for the accident - it doesn't matter how small your degree of fault is.
Most states, however, follow a form of comparative negligence for personal injury cases. Under pure comparative negligence, the amount of compensation due to you will be reduced by your degree of fault. For example, if you are asking for $10,000 in damages, but your own negligence caused 20% of the accident, you will only be able to collect $8,000 - or 80% of the total you were seeking.
Some states follow a modified version of comparative negligence. One rule is the 50% rule, which requires you to have less than 50% degree of fault for the accident in order to sue the other driver. Another rule is the 51% rule, which states you can't be more than 50% responsible for the accident in order to get compensation from the other driver.
3. You let the statute of limitations expire.
Once the accident occurs, the clock begins ticking on your ability to file a personal injury lawsuit. Of course, most people don't realize right away that they need to file a personal injury lawsuit. You might argue with the other driver or their insurance company for several months before you realize that you need to seek legal help.
It is important that you know how long your state allows you to wait before filing a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations varies from state to state. Some states may give you six years to file, others may just give you one year.
If you wait around and end up not filing your personal injury lawsuit in time, you won't be able to sue the other driver or their insurance company for compensation. You need to find out what the statute of limitations is for your state as soon as possible after an accident. That way, you will know how long you can wait on the other driver or their insurance company before you need to file a personal injury lawsuit against them in court. For more information, check out websites like http://www.sarklawfirm.com/.