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Car Accident Claims: What To Expect

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With so many drivers on the road at any given time, the risk of getting into an accident is always present. Even if you have a safe driving record and have never collided with another vehicle or object, you cannot control the actions of those around you.

You may not know that in the event of a vehicle collision, you have the right to file a car accident claim to recover damages that occurred as a result of the collision. Whether or not your case is successful will depend on several factors.

When you get into a car accident, your case varies depending on your state, particularly in terms of who is at fault for the accident and how that affects your case. Enlisting the legal help of an auto accident attorney from your state ensures that they understand the legal aspects specific to your case.

Let’s explore how different states treat negligence in auto accident cases.

Who is at Fault for the Accident?

If you live in a “fault state” like Tennessee, one of the first steps in an auto accident case is determining who is at fault for the accident. This is the most important aspect of the case and determines the course of action.

To determine who is at fault, you must prove three elements:

  1. The driver owes a legal duty to other citizens and should exercise reasonable care when they are behind the wheel.
  2. The driver failed to uphold this duty of care and should be considered negligent.
  3. This negligence and breach of duty caused the accident and resulting injuries. This last step is vital to the process. It isn’t enough to prove that the driver was negligent; you must also prove that their negligence caused the injuries.

What Happens When Multiple Vehicles Involved are at Fault?

If both parties involved in the accident share some degree of fault, this can affect the case and how much compensation the injured party receives.

The degree to which shared fault affects auto accident cases depends on whether the state is a pure comparative, modified comparative, or contributory negligence state.

In pure comparative fault states, an injured person who is partially responsible for the accident can still receive compensation for the percentage of fault for which they were not responsible.

For example, if their damages add up to $10,000, and they were 70% responsible for the accident, they could collect 30% of the amount of their damages, or $3,000.

Contributory negligence states do not allow any party that shares fault for an accident to receive compensation for their injuries.

Tennessee is a modified comparative fault state. In this state, injured parties can only collect compensation if they were less than 50% responsible for the incident. So they would not be able to receive compensation in the previous example since they were 70% responsible.

But if they were only 30% responsible and the total of their damages is $10,000, they could still collect $7,000 in compensation.

What Does Pursuing a Car Accident Claim Look Like?

A car insurance claim is a complicated process with a lot of moving parts. When you choose to file a claim, the following is a preview of what you will experience.

You Versus the Car Insurance Company

Because the degree of fault can make a big difference in the outcome of your case in Tennessee, it’s vital to make sure you demonstrate that the defendant bore as much fault as possible.

In turn, their car insurance company and the insurance agent are going to do everything they can to blame you for the accident. Insurers have a great deal of experience in this area and are very canny, so getting the right legal help and advice is important to give your case the best possible shot.

If you attempt to file a claim on your own, the other driver’s insurance company may also offer a low settlement that is far below the amount that you deserve, which is another reason to hire legal representation.

Building a Compelling Case for Your Car Insurance Claim

As stated before, proving fault becomes an important aspect of any auto insurance claim. The only way to do this for your case is to compile evidence of the accident that proves who is at fault.

An experienced car accident attorney knows what type of evidence will be necessary to win your case. Images of the accident scene, eyewitness accounts, the police report, and other data will become important throughout the car accident lawsuit.

Since you may not be equipped or have the knowledge to build a compelling case that will increase your chance of winning, hiring a personal injury lawyer to help will be in your best interest.

Assessing and Recovering Damages

This is the main purpose of auto insurance claims and personal injury claims. Recovering damages refers to earning financial compensation for losses that occurred because of the accident.

Many types of damages could make you eligible to receive a car accident settlement. These include lost wages, medical bills for medical treatment of your injuries, other medical expenses like therapy, cost of car repairs for the vehicle damage, other types of property damage, and even emotional distress.

A traffic accident can be a devastating life event, with physical and financial ramifications for the victims. Filing a claim allows you to cover these losses and help you move forward after the accident without feeling overwhelmed by any financial struggles that resulted from the crash.

Personal injury lawyers will help you assess the value of what you are owed, so track as much data as you can in the aftermath of car accidents.

More Data Means a Stronger Case

After you have been involved in a car accident, emotions are likely to run high, especially if there is serious damage to your vehicle or yourself.

It is important to remember that, although you cannot turn back time and avoid the accident, you can set yourself up well for handling the costs of the accident.

Document everything about the accident scene. Take pictures of the motor vehicle accident, the vehicle damage, the car accident injuries that were suffered, and the location of the crash.

Exchange information with the other driver and any eyewitnesses. Write down their insurance information to assist insurance adjusters in their investigation and inform your car insurance company as well. Track your payments for repair costs or medical care. Obtain a copy of the police report about the car accident after emergency services have done their job at the scene.

The more data you have, the stronger your car accident case will be. It takes significant evidence to assign fault in automobile accidents, especially when going up against insurance agents who want nothing more than to assign blame to you.

Collect empirical data whenever possible and talk with a car accident attorney about how to best use this information for your insurance claims.

How to Know You Can File a Claim

Many factors will determine whether you have an eligible personal injury claim or not after a car accident.

Statute of Limitations

First of all, there is a statute of limitations for an auto insurance claim. The state’s laws have a time limit for how long after a car accident you can file personal injury claims to recover damages, which change from state to state. The best practice is to file your claim immediately after a car accident.

are there damages?

Second, there has to be actual damage that occurred. Whether this means physical injuries caused by the accident, the vehicle’s damage, or other property damage, if there is no harm then there is no case.

other questions to answer

Other factors come into play such as who is the at-fault driver. What claims payment is considered a fair settlement? Will collision coverage be enough for the damages or are there car insurance policy limits that will lead to out-of-pocket payments?

Since there are so many determining factors, speaking with personal injury attorneys to discuss whether or not you have a case is the best course of action.

How Will an Attorney Help?

Insurance claims and personal injury claims are complex and difficult for car accident victims to navigate on their own.

Communicating with Various Parties

There are many parties involved, including the other driver’s insurance company, the other driver, you and your passengers, your auto insurance company, eyewitnesses, authorities, and even businesses if the collision involves a commercial vehicle or rental car.

Evidence must be collected, such as the police report, and used to prove fault for the car accident. When dealing with other car insurance companies, the insurance adjuster, the authorities, and the other driver, a lawyer can help with your communication.

Recovering Damages

For your car accident settlement, working with one of our attorneys will provide you with the expertise necessary to win your personal injury claim.

When medical bills, lost wages, the vehicle repair process, and emotional distress are overwhelming you, we can be the difference in helping you move forward.

Providing Expert Support

Our team will guide you through the claims process, negotiate with the insurance companies and other parties, evaluate any further damage suffered, and work toward a car accident settlement that is fair and will cover your losses.

Don’t go through the claims process alone.

Contact an Auto Accident Attorney

Whether your medical bills are weighing you down after medical treatment, the cost at the repair shop is too high, or your family is experiencing financial and emotional difficulty, you deserve to be compensated after a car accident claim.

Call Today

An auto accident attorney can help you through the legal process if you’ve been in a car accident. The experts at Mitch Grissim & Associates have 36 years of experience serving the Nashville, TN area, so contact us today and let us help you.

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