After A Car Accident, Do I Sue The Driver Or The Insurance Company?

When drivers get into accidents, they typically sue each other, not the insurance companies. Insurance companies provide legal representation (a defense lawyer), handle their driver’s liability claims or lawsuits, and indemnify (pay some or all of the damages) other drivers when their insured is found responsible.

Most accidents result in claims against other driver’s insurance but don’t reach the stage where a lawsuit is necessary to recover property and personal injury liability damages. Typically, the vast majority (approximately 95%) of physical damage and personal injury claims and lawsuits are settled out of court. But many personal injury claims turn into lawsuits because insurance companies refuse to pay for damages. They refuse to pay for many different reasons, such as contesting liability, inadequate insurance, or refusal to negotiate or extend a fair settlement offer.

Who Is Responsible for The Accident?

Before filing a lawsuit, you need to prove who caused the accident. You’ll need the police report, witness testimony if available, video and still pictures of the accident scene, detailed notes (what occurred, where it happened, names, dates, license plates, etc.), and knowledge of state traffic laws, to name a few. Once you have all of your information, you will need to prove the other driver was responsible. It may sound easy, especially if you have proof, but insurance companies are in business to make money. They will do everything possible to deny your personal injury claim, or pay you relatively little.

If you are even partly responsible for the accident, the insurance company will attempt to make it look like you are entirely at-fault. Insurance companies are afraid of aggressive and talented attorneys who fight for their clients. A skilled car accident attorney can accurately determine responsibility for accidents and calculate how much their clients are entitled to receive. The compensation you receive should depend upon your injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost time at work, and length of disability.


Negotiations with The Insurance Company

Before filing a lawsuit to compensate you for damages, you should consider talking with the insurance company. If your injuries and property damage are relatively minor, they may be willing to pay for your property damage (i.e., damaged car), lost wages, medical bills, etc. But be careful what you say to them because they will use your recorded conversation against you. If your car accident or injuries are severe, you should talk with a skilled auto accident attorney for expert guidance.

Experienced car accident lawyers know how to negotiate with insurance companies effectively and get you a fair settlement without going to court. Typically, initial insurance company offers are low and are generally not accepted by experienced personal injury attornies. Experienced personal injury lawyers continue negotiations until they settle out-of-court or file a lawsuit.

Should I Sue The Other Driver?

If your injuries are severe, you may have to sue the other driver to recover damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and damaged personal possessions in your vehicle. You may also have to sue if the other driver has no insurance, or the insurance does not cover all of your damages. On the surface, it may seem strange to sue someone when they have no insurance. Negligent drivers who didn’t pay insurance premiums may have assets to sell to compensate you for your injuries and medical expenses. Plus, if you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on your policy, if you sue the other driver and win, you can collect damages from your insurance up to the policy liability limits.

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