If you've recently suffered a car accident, you are most likely wondering what the law entails and how it will affect your ability to receive monetary compensation.
Car accidents fall under personal injury laws, and are subject to the same rules. This means that in order to persuade the courts of the fault of the other party, your attorney must be able to provide evidence of negligence. Negligence means that the other driver did not operate the vehicle in a way that would be considered reasonable or safe under the circumstances. The courts will decide if the driver ignored traffic rules and signs, or drove recklessly during inclement weather. If police reports show that the defendant was under the influence alcohol at the time of the accident, this will also be taken into consideration.
Court vs. Settling
You can choose to pursue your personal injury claim through the courts, or go the informal route and settle with the other party. Keep in mind that most cases involving car accidents usually go the settlement route because the outcomes in jury trials tend to be unpredictable. This is true even if the evidence clearly indicates the other driver was at fault. However, if you choose the settlement option, you are saving time and are more likely to achieve a favorable resolution.
What to do if you choose the settlement option
Since in most cases you will be dealing with someone else's insurance company, it might be in your best interest to draft a demand letter. A demand letter allows you to explain your perspective of the accident as well as describe the full extent of your injuries and suffering, while demanding financial compensation. Be prepared to undergo a full medical examination at the request of the insurance company if you want to validate your claim.
Even if negotiations initially seem like they are going smoothly, both parties might end up dissatisfied with the end result. In the event of this, the services of a mediator might be required. Mediators bring a wealth of legal experience to the table and can help move along stalled negotiations so that satisfying resolutions are ultimately reached.
Please, contact me if you have any questions.