There are few things worse than getting into a car accident – especially when someone else caused it. After the accident, it may be that you have to sue the person responsible for it. If that happens, there are some things that can affect your case. Here are three things that do just that.
One of the biggest things that can hurt your personal injury case is if you are found to share any of the fault for the accident. Just how it will affect your case will depend on your state's laws. For instance, if your state follows contributory negligence and you are found to share fault for the accident, you likely won't be able to recover any damages from the defendant.
However, most states follow a form of comparative negligence because contributory negligence has been viewed as far too harsh for most cases.
One form of comparative negligence will reduce the amount of damages you can be awarded by your percentage of fault for the accident. So, if you ask for $20,000, but you were responsible for 30% of the accident, then you can only get 70% of the amount you requested.
Some states follow a modified version of comparative negligence where you can only collect any damages as long as your degree of fault doesn't reach a certain amount – either 50% or 51%, depending on the state.
2. You let the statute of limitations run out.
One thing that many people don't realize is that they don't have all the time in the world to file a personal injury lawsuit. There is a limit on how long you can wait before you are no longer able to sue the person responsible for the accident.
Each state has its own laws regarding the statute of limitations for personal injury cases. Some states only give you a year to file, while others give you anywhere between two to six years to file after the date of the accident.
Whether or not you think you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit, you need to consult an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. They can advise you on how long you have until the statute of limitations will run out for your case.
3. Your state is a no fault car insurance state.
Another thing that can hurt your personal injury case is if your state has no fault car insurance laws. No fault car insurance laws require parties involved in a car accident to seek compensation from their own car insurance company.
That is not to say that you can't sue the person responsible for the accident if you live in a state with no fault car insurance laws. Most states will allow you to sue the other person as long as a certain standard has been met. For instance, your state's no fault car insurance law may allow you to sue the other driver if you suffered a broken bone or your medical bills reach a certain amount.
There are a lot of other things that can hurt your personal injury case. You should consult with a personal injury attorney to determine how strong your particular case will be in court.