A car wreck caused by someone else's negligence can occur without warning and be a life-changing event. You may have sustained injuries that require months of expensive medical treatment. On top of that, you may not be able to work and earn a paycheck. The good news is, you may be able to recover all of your crash-related losses, both economic and non-economic. Getting compensation is often a confusing and complicated process, however.
Insurance companies will pay you as little as possible if they have the opportunity to do so, but they are responsible for compensating you for your losses. To maximize your chances of being compensated for every penny owed to you, it's critical that you consult with an experienced car accident attorney who knows how insurance companies work.
How fault and compensation are determined after a car wreck
In "at-fault" car insurance states, the party who is at fault for a crash is deemed responsible for paying the damages. Drivers in these states are typically required to purchase car insurance policies with minimum liability limits. These limits vary from state to state, but pay for death or bodily injury of one or more persons, as well as property damage.
In at-fault states, fault must be proven in order to recover damages. This may be accomplished through an in-depth investigation. Insurance companies often deny car accident claims if there isn't enough solid evidence that a crash was caused by negligence. Your attorney may be able to prove fault by gathering these key pieces of evidence:
- Pictures from the crash scene
- Surveillance camera or dashcam footage (if available)
- A copy of the police report
- Documentation of your medical evaluation
- Subpoena of cellphone and electronic records
- Evidence from the other driver's social media accounts
- Statements made by witnesses
What if I live in a "no-fault" state?
Most states are at-fault states. "No-fault" states include Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota and Utah.
In most no-fault states, drivers are required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP covers medical expenses, but coverage limits vary from state to state. It covers policyholders and passengers, even if they don't carry health insurance.
In no-fault states, a driver who is responsible for causing a crash can still be compensated for medical expenses. In addition, it also covers lost wages and funeral costs associated with a crash. If the damages accrued in a crash exceed the threshold of PIP coverage, drivers can sue for additional damages. This may also include non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
How to pursue compensation after a crash
In order to pursue a successful car accident claim, it's critical that you first see a doctor and get a full medical evaluation and diagnosis. Insurance companies often capitalize on the opportunity to downplay your claim. If you delay seeing a doctor, they may argue that your injuries are exaggerated. You should then speak to an experienced car accident attorney who can investigate your crash and negotiate for a fair financial settlement.
Contact The Mike Slocumb Law Firm and schedule your free case evaluation. We have law offices in Alabama, Maryland, Colorado, Mississippi, Texas, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.