3 Things That Can Affect Your Car Accident Case

Posted on: 30 July 2015

Getting into a car accident is never fun, especially when you feel you aren't responsible for the accident. Whenever this happens to you, you may have to file a personal injury claim in court to get the money to pay your medical and car repair bills. However, you need to be prepared just in case things don't go smoothly for you. Here are three things that can affect your car accident case.

1. No fault car insurance laws.

In several states, you actually have to look to your own car insurance company for financial compensation after a car accident--no matter who was at fault. These no fault car insurance laws help prevent people from being targeted for frivolous personal injury claims.

Of course, each state that has a no fault car insurance law doesn't completely prevent you from filing a personal injury claim against the party responsible for the accident. In most cases, if your medical bills exceed a certain amount or your medical condition meets other criteria you can sue the person responsible for the accident.

You will need to check with a personal injury attorney to see if you are able to proceed with a case if you live in one of the following states:

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kentucky
  • Kansas
  • Utah
  • New Jersey
  • North Dakota
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Michigan
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

2. You share fault for the accident.

Another thing that can affect your car accident case is if the court determines that you share fault for the accident in question. There are two legal doctrines that courts use when looking at shared fault for an accident: contributory negligence and comparative negligence.

If your state uses contributory negligence when looking at shared fault for a car accident, then you won't be able to collect any compensation if you share fault for the accident--no matter how small of a percentage you were responsible for. 

On the other hand, if your state follows comparative negligence, you will still be able to recover some compensation if you share fault. The only catch here is the amount of compensation you are requesting will be reduced by your degree of fault. For instance, if the judge found you were responsible for 40% of the accident, you would only get 60% of the amount you were requesting.

Some states use a modified version of comparative negligence where the plaintiff can only collect compensation if their degree of fault is less than 50% (if the state follows the 50% rule) or less than 51% (if they follow the 51% rule). 

3. You let the statute of limitations expire.

The thing with car accident cases is there is a time limit on when you can file a personal injury claim against the driver who was responsible. Even if your case meets all of the criteria to be able to win compensation in court, your case will go nowhere if the statute of limitations has expired.

You need to be sure to get the ball rolling on a legal case as soon as possible after an accident, because you could have as little as a year to file your claim in court. Even if you think you won't need to go to court, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident to see how long you have to file a claim. 

For more information about personal injury suits, contact a firm like Kaston & Aberle.