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What to Know When You’re in a Car Accident and Are Contemplating Suing

Founding Member of Moshes Law, P.C.
During his years of practice, Yuriy has concentrated in litigation and real estate transactions as his areas of expertise.

car accident suing at fault driver

If you are in a situation where you were in a car accident and have sustained bodily injuries requiring you to seek medical treatment, then in all likelihood, you’ve probably decided on seeking damages and getting compensated for your injuries. However, proceeding to that next step and filing the paperwork to sue someone can be very overwhelming, confusing, and you may not know whether it is worth it.

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How much can you receive? Do you even have a case worth pursuing? What factors are involved in determining when I will receive my money? All of these questions will be addressed in this article. In fact, in this article we shall specifically address the following topics:

  • Car Accident Suing At-fault Driver
  • How to Determine Liability in a Car Accident
  • Car Accident Sue Driver or Insurance Company
  • Negotiating With the Insurance Company About Car Accident Other Driver At-Fault
  • Reasons to File Car Accident Lawsuit When Other Driver At-Fault
  • Legal Representation in Car Accident Suing At-Fault Driver
  • Suing For Damages Car Accident At-Fault Driver
  • Car Accident Lawsuit: What if the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Car Insurance?
  • BONUS: Who Pays for Car Damage in No-Fault State?
  • FAQ
  • Importance of a Personal Injury Car Accident Attorney

Car Accident Suing At-Fault Driver

As soon as you’ve been injured in a car accident, you’re probably asking yourself, “Can I sue someone who hit my car? Do I have a legal claim for being in a car accident suing at-fault driver?” When you’re suing after a car accident, the answer to this is yes. However, whether or not you will prevail and how much you can recover will depend upon two main factors: One, the liability involved, and two, how much in damages you have sustained. So if you’re thinking about suing for a car accident injury, you need to consider these two factors.

After you’ve asked yourself whether you can sue someone, you’ve then probably asked how to sue after a car accident. In order to seek compensation and be able to succeed in your car accident suing the at-fault driver, you’ll first have to wait for your medical treatment to resolve. Whether you have a simple whiplash to your neck, or you end up having a bulging disc to your back requiring surgery, you’ll have to wait until you’re done with all of your medical treatment and are no longer actively treating. This is also called reaching maximum medical improvement. While you are doing this, you’ll need to gather the evidence of your case. This consists of getting witness statements, police reports, lost wages information, photographs, and any other information you are relying on to prove your case.

After you’ve gathered your evidence, the next step to suing somebody is sending a demand letter to the liable party. In your letter you will be addressing your injuries, your legal theory of the case as to why the liable party is liable for your injuries, and the compensation you are seeking.

If you are unable to reach a resolution, the final step is to file a lawsuit against the liable party in New York State or Federal court. After you do this, the litigation phase begins which may lead to a trial, depending upon whether or not the case is still not resolved.

How to Determine Liability in a Car Accident

You may be asking, “Can I sue for negligence in a car accident?” Can you sue someone for causing a car accident?” The answer is a resounding yes. As mentioned earlier, one of the key factors in your lawsuit will be proving the auto accident liability or what’s also known as proving fault in a car accident. In order to do so, one of the most common reasons for getting hurt is due to the negligence of the liable party. In New York, negligence may be due to the liable driver drinking and driving, speeding, reckless driving, paying attention to their phone, not paying attention, not stopping at a stop sign, not slowing down in bad weather conditions, along with a variety of other reasons.

In order to prove negligence, you must show that the liable party had a duty of care, that they breached that duty, and that as a result, you sustained bodily injuries that were the proximate cause of the injury. Accordingly, it’s not just a matter that you must show that you’ve sustained injuries, but that those injuries, from a medical standpoint, were directly causally related to the auto accident. This sometimes is contested by the insurance companies of the liable driver by claiming that you, as the victim, were being treated for pre-existing conditions prior to the injury date, or that the medical treatment you received wasn’t necessarily treatment, but was more testing or diagnostic in nature, and therefore, wasn’t related to the injury.

To prove the proximate cause, most likely, you’ll need medical evidence and/or testimony connecting the treatment that you received to the accident.

One of the common methods used to prove liability is by using the police report to indicate that the liable party violated a particular traffic law and was cited or ticketed for such violation. If the officer ticketed the liable party, that is very strong evidence to suggest that the liable party was negligent and breached their duty of care.

However, just because you may not have a police report available does not mean you can’t prove liability. You can also prove liability through witness statements and photographs. Accordingly, as soon as you get in an accident, as long as everyone is safe, you’ll want to proceed as early as possible to start gathering evidence by securing video and/or surveillance cameras, taking photographs of damage to vehicles and skid marks, and getting contact information of witnesses. The more you can show about what happened and who saw what, the easier it’ll be to resolve your case and the shorter it will take.

Victim of Car Accident Sue Driver or Insurance Company

As soon as you find out who the liable party is and their contact information, you’ll want to send them a letter so that you can provide them notice that you’re claiming a loss for the car accident. Once the insurance company becomes aware of the car accident, they will send you a letter with their contact information asking you to provide them with details and any evidence of what you’re claiming.

In order to avoid providing any admissions or saying something that you didn’t intend, it is always best to hire a car accident lawyer to sue auto insurance company for you. In New York, although the lawyer will work on a contingency fee and will take a percentage of your awarded damages, hiring a lawyer is worth it because they are familiar with this area of the law and how to provide information that will be most favorable to you. Otherwise, if you represent yourself, you run the risk of jeopardizing your case and saying something unintentional to the insurance company that will end up hurting you in the end and compromising your settlement and case.

Negotiating With the Insurance Company About a Car Accident with Other Driver At Fault

Almost as soon as your accident occurs, the insurance company will seek you out and try to contact you about your injuries. They will immediately want you to provide them a statement of what happened. Oftentimes, you may be confused or will not be in a position to be able to speak about the accident, but provide a statement anyway. If you do provide a statement, the insurance company will then use your statement against you to try to damage your case. This is why when you’re considering suing after a car accident, it’s always important to hire an attorney to act on your behalf. An experienced personal injury car accident attorney will know how to present your information in the best light favorable to you. Furthermore, an experienced personal injury attorney understands the car insurance settlement process and how to deal with insurance companies after a car accident. In fact, many times, in order to avoid you seeking legal representation, the insurance company will offer you an auto insurance payout after the accident by letter or over the phone.

suing after car accident

They think that you will be so enticed with the offer that you will take it and not consult with an attorney. When this happens, you probably are asking yourself, “Should I settle with the insurance company?” The answer to this is no. If you do find yourself in a position where you are presented with a settlement offer before you hire an attorney, you’ll want to delay responding until you’ve spoken and consulted with an attorney. One, an experienced attorney will be able to let you know whether they think the initial offer provided is a good offer; most of the time, it is not. Two, this attorney will be able to give you an honest answer of whether they think they can help you. If the offer is sufficient or they think that you lack evidence to be able to successfully prevail on your case, they will inform you of such.

In addition to providing a statement, the insurance company will not automatically just comply with your settlement demand. Just because you ask for a certain amount of money for compensation, does not mean that the insurance company will agree to it. They will most likely provide you an offer and you will have to negotiate with the insurance company for a settlement amount that is agreeable to you. This will require negotiation. Accordingly, if you’re contemplating suing after a car accident and are in an accident where the car accident’s other driver is at-fault, you’ll want to hire an experienced car accident attorney to be able to negotiate on your behalf.

Reasons to File a Car Accident Lawsuit When the Other Driver is At-Fault

Suing after a car accident is not an easy task. Not only do you have to prove your damages or what’s also called the pain and suffering, but you have to indicate why the liable party is at-fault, or, in other words, provide the reasons to sue after a car accident. This will most likely include negligence and specify how the liable party was negligent. Things to sue for in car accident may include drinking and driving, speeding, reckless driving, paying attention to their phone, not paying attention, not stopping at a stop sign, not slowing down in bad weather conditions, along with a variety of other reasons.

After you’re done with treatment, what happens in car accident lawsuit is that you then submit a settlement demand in the form of a letter outlining your legal position, why the at-fault driver was negligent, and what type of compensation for your pain and suffering you are seeking. This demand letter will include all of your medical treatment records, medical bills, and any other type of evidence that you are relying on to prove damages and liability.

Legal Representation for a Car Accident and Suing the At-Fault Driver

At some point, after settling down from your car accident, you’ll probably ask yourself, “Do I need an attorney after a car accident? The answer is yes you do. Car accident liability claims and suing after a car accident is big business and insurance companies will do everything they can to either deny your claim, frustrate you so that you’ll quit pursuing your claim, or to mitigate and jeopardize the value of the damages that you are seeking. If you hire lawyer to sue, or at the very least consult with a car accident lawyer, you’ll put yourself in a better position to not only be able to recoup a better settlement, but recover faster as well.

An experienced car accident lawyer will know how to gather the evidence, what evidence to gather, present your case, and if need be, file the suit in court and present it at trial. Furthermore, an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury car accident attorney will be familiar enough with the trial process in case the lawsuit needs to be filed.

Suing for Damages in a Car Accident Against At-Fault Driver

As mentioned earlier, in addition to having to prove liability, the other major factor in suing is proving damages. In order to do so, you need to indicate the pain and suffering you’ve endured. For the car accident lawsuit, your request for damages may include medical treatment obtained along with any medical bills, lost wages if you were unable to work while you were injured, and any permanent disability.

In a situation where there is a car accident and the at-fault driver either had no insurance or their policy is very limited, then you can still proceed against the driver by filing a claim with your own insurance company under the uninsured or underinsured policy.

Car Accident Lawsuit: What if the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Car Insurance?

For both of these types of claims, you still submit the same information as before and still negotiate yourself a good settlement in regards to your car accident lawsuit; however, the only difference is that you are dealing with your own insurance rather than the other drivers insurance. In order for this type of claim to be filed, you will need evidence to indicate that either the uninsured driver had no active policy at the time of the accident or documentation of what their policy limit was at the time.

car accident other driver at fault

It should be noted that in addition to pursuing a uninsured or underinsured claim with your own insurance, you can still sue the uninsured driver to obtain a personal judgment against them. Whether they have insurance or not, they are still a party to the case, their negligence caused your injuries, and they are still individually responsible for your pain and suffering.

BONUS: Who Pays for Car Damage in No-Fault State?

What is a no fault state when dealing with car accidents? If your accident occurred in a no-fault state as relevant to car accidents, no-fault insurance means that your own automobile insurance policy will pay some or all of your medical bills and lost earnings if you get into a car accident, regardless of who was at-fault for the crash. This is in contrast to at-fault states, in which your automobile insurer will only pay depending upon who was at-fault. New York’s no-fault insurance law protects Injured Parties by providing reimbursement of a portion of the injured person’s economic or financial losses, which includes medical expenses, lost earnings and other reasonable expenses, such as prescriptions, travel expenses and household help.


Can You Sue Someone for Causing a Car Accident?

Yes, as long as you can prove damages and liability against the at-fault driver, you can most certainly sue the at-fault driver for your car accident. In order to prove damages, you needs to show the pain and suffering that you’ve endured. This may consist of medical records, medical bills, wage loss information, and any permanent and/or partial disability. In order to prove liability, you’ll need to show how the at-fault driver was negligent. A copy of the police report showing that the at-fault driver was ticketed is the easiest way to do this. In addition, you’ll also want to show witnesses statements and any photographs you have.

What Happens if You Are Not At-Fault in a Car Accident?

If you are not at-fault, you can still make a claim against your own insurance company for vehicle repairs and injuries in regards to your car accident lawsuit, assuming you had the right policy to cover that claim. This is commonly referred to as collision coverage.

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Sue?

In New York, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of accident. However, if the at-fault party involves the city, county, state, or government entity, then a notice of claim must be filed within 90 days of the accident.

What Happens if You Get Hit By An Uninsured Driver?

You can still proceed with your claim by filing a claim with your own insurance company under your uninsured or underinsured motorist policy. This is a specific policy for when you are involved in an accident, and the at-fault party has little or no insurance coverage.

Do I Sue the Driver or the Owner?

In order to use the owner, you have to show that the owner knew or should have known that the driver was unfit to drive. It is best to sue both just to be on the safe side while you are gathering your facts.

Importance of a Personal Injury Car Accident Attorney

Lincoln said it best when he said, “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” This is especially true when it comes to your car accident lawsuit. Representing yourself is not a good idea. Not only do you risk providing unintentional admissions and information that could jeopardize your car accident suing at-fault driver, but most likely, you will lack the knowledge and experience to be able to try and win cases in a trial setting.

A qualified personal injury attorney from the Law Office of Yuriy Moshes will have the expertise, knowledge, and experience to do this. Moreover, they offer a free consultation. They help victims of personal injury lawsuits in the New York City area including all its boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island) as well as Northern New Jersey, Long Island, and Upstate New York

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