You may sue if someone hits your car. In some cases, suing may not be necessary. However, if circumstances deem it necessary, you can sue for any compensation that you deserve. A car accident attorney can lead your lawsuit or insurance claim for you.
Who Is Liable When Someone Hits Your Car?
Liability for a car accident depends on the details of your accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorist error is the most common cause of traffic accidents.
You can hold a motorist liable when their careless or reckless actions cause a collision, including by:
- Driving while intoxicated
- Texting, talking on the phone, or using social media while driving
- Ignoring traffic signals
- Any act, or failure to act, that increases the likelihood of an accident
Other parties may be liable for a car accident—instead of a motorist or in addition to a liable motorist.
Circumstances in which a non-motorist may be liable for a car accident include:
- Dangerous road conditions: Potholes, uneven roads, debris in the roadway, dangerously positioned work crews, and other hazards can make for dangerous driving conditions. Liable parties depend on the nature of the hazard and may include a local or state government in charge of road safety.
- Vehicle defects: When a vehicle has a defective component, the defect may cause an accident. A vehicle manufacturer, seller, or other parties may be liable for such defects.
- Dangerous pedestrian acts: Pedestrians can cause collisions between motor vehicles. If a pedestrian enters the roadway, for example, a vehicle may swerve to avoid them and strike another vehicle. In such instances, the pedestrian may be liable for accident-related damages.
- Entities that contribute to dangerous driver behavior: If a business overserves a motorist who then causes a drunk driving accident, then the business can have legal responsibility for the accident.
What matters most are the circumstances of your collision. These facts will determine who owes you compensation for your losses. An attorney will work to prove liability in your case.
What Is the Liability Standard in Car Accident Cases?
Negligence is the most common standard for liability in car accident cases. Negligence occurs when someone does not act as a reasonable person should in the same circumstance. Any act that contributes to an accident is unreasonable.
Your attorney may prove the negligence of the defendants in your case by showing:
- They owed you a duty of care, which requires them to abstain from unreasonable actions
- They breached their duty of care in some way
- A causal link between the defendant’s actions (or failures to act) and your accident
- The damages that have resulted from the defendant’s negligent acts
Every case is different, and other liability standards can apply to yours. An attorney will oversee all issues in your case, including liability,
What Are Your Options for Pursuing Compensation?
While it may make sense to sue someone who hit your car, suing is not the only way to obtain justice after a car accident. You may receive a financial recovery through:
An Insurance Claim
Auto insurance is mandatory in most states and comes in handy when an accident happens. You may receive all the compensation you need through an insurance claim. Your lawyer will guide you through the claims process and may negotiate a recovery with liable insurance companies.
Your attorney may negotiate a settlement with liable parties or their attorneys. You can receive a settlement before or after filing a lawsuit.
In some cases, a lawsuit proceeds to court. At the end of the trial, a jury may award a judgment to the plaintiff. In this case, you or your loved one may serve as the plaintiff.
Your attorney will pursue a certain path towards compensation based on your unique circumstances.
Factors that may affect their decision include:
- The severity of your injuries
- The extent of damage to your vehicle
- The total value of your damages
- The amount of insurance coverage you’re entitled to
Your lawyer will consider every relevant factor in your case and then advise you on a course of action.
What Are Recoverable Damages in Car Accident Cases?
An attorney should seek complete coverage of your damages.
Losses stemming from a car accident can include:
- The cost of medical care: Medical care can be a car accident victim’s greatest collision-related expense. Between emergency treatment, hospitalization, and long-term care, your medical bills may mount quickly.
- Pain and suffering: Any trauma resulting from your accident may entitle you to compensation. You may also get coverage to treat your pain and suffering.
- Damage to your vehicle (and other property): Your financial recovery may include repairs for or the replacement of your damaged vehicle.
- Professional damages: Losing earnings, employer-matched benefits, status with your employer, earning power, and other work-related benefits may entitle you to compensation.
If you’ve lost a loved one in a car accident, then an attorney will pursue justice through a settlement or judgment. While such financial recoveries do not always ease the immense pain of losing a loved one, they are ways to hold liable parties accountable. They can also ease the financial burden of a wrongful death.
Should You Hire a Car Accident Lawyer After Someone Hits Your Car?
Some car accident victims decide that they will handle their insurance claim or lawsuit on their own, and this is usually a big mistake. Doing so can leave significant funds on the table and leave you responsible for many of your future losses.
Others, though, choose to accept the benefits that a lawyer can provide. An attorney can:
- Protect you from insurance companies and others who might try to violate your rights
- Handle every step of your case, from investigation to negotiations and any necessary trial
- Allow you to spend your time recovering, resting, and tending to your other responsibilities
Choose a law firm with the experience and resources you seek.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney for Help Today
If you’ve been in a car accident, the deadline for seeking compensation may have already started. For help with your case, call a trusted car accident attorney today.