If you were recently in an accident, you may wonder, can I sue someone for a car accident?
Car crashes can be very scary. Even if the damage to your vehicle is minor, and you are ok physically, you can suffer the repercussions of the accident for a long time. Serious crashes are even more devastating and can have terrible consequences in the short and long term. If you are involved in a car accident, you may feel like someone should be held accountable and want to bring a lawsuit against others who were involved. But when can you sue someone for an accident? The answer depends on a number of circumstances.
You May Be Able to Sue Regarding Problems with Insurance Claims
Carrying auto insurance is required by Illinois law. Many car accidents cases are handled entirely by the insurance agencies of the involved parties. Expenses are paid through the claims process; and for most people, no lawsuit is necessary. However, you are entitled to sue someone after an accident, particularly if there’s a problem with insurance. In some cases, the claim may not cover all of your expenses, or the other party many not have even had any insurance, despite the fact that it is required by law.
In some cases, dealing with insurance companies can take what feels like forever. There is a lot of red tape and a great deal of waiting. You should consider the statute of limitations in Illinois. If the case hasn’t been settled after a long time has passed, you may want to consider filing a lawsuit before the statute expires—that’s two years from the time of the accident for personal injury claims and five years for property damage.
Fault Plays a Role in Determining if You Can Sue Someone after a Car Accident
In the state of Illinois, as in many states, you must be able to prove the other driver was at fault (“negligent”) in your accident in order to seek restitution. However, Illinois is one of the states with “modified comparative fault.” This means that the other party only has to be found to be partially at fault in order for you to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. Damages depend on the percentage for which the other party is found to be at fault. Put more simply, if you are also at fault, you can still file a lawsuit, as long as you will be found to be anything less than 50% at fault in the accident.
Damages Are Part of the Equation Too
Before you let insurance handle the entirety of your claim, consider the totality of the cost to you, your life, and your vehicle resulting from the accident. If you are seriously injured, you may suffer mentally and physically for many years after the accident; pain and suffering costs can be calculated and included in a lawsuit but may not be adequately accounted for through the insurance claims process.
Straightforward reimbursements of medical expenses, car repairs, rental cars and lost wages from work are costs that can be easier to get reimbursed through insurance claims. But what about loss of relationship privileges that are caused because of physical and/or mental trauma related to the accident? Or months of therapy and counseling because of injuries and trauma resulting from the incident? This is when a lawsuit can more adequately reimburse you for the total damages to your life that were caused by the accident.
Find a Trusted Advisor to Help
An experienced car accident lawyer can evaluate your case in an initial consultation and advise you as to how they would represent your interests. A lawyer is your trusted advisor, who represents you and your interests from start to finish of the case. They fight for your rights and to get every category of your damages reimbursed, including calculating future costs that will be incurred as a result of the accident. They have experience and knowledge about what the courts see as reasonable reimbursement for various types of injuries and illnesses and can give you an estimate of what to expect and when. Without a lawsuit, you may be leaving money on the table that could go toward continued efforts to make you whole in the months and years after a serious accident.
If you’re not sure whether or not insurance claims will cover the totality of the damage done to you in an Illinois car accident, contact Jeff Green to learn about whether a lawsuit is warranted. Consultations are free.