Who can sue in a traffic accident? 🚗
When you have no choice but to file a civil lawsuit in a traffic accident, it is because you have a problem with the insurance company.
Once again, helplessness is the common denominator of accident victims, who, in addition, are forced to invest time and money to defend their interests.
It is obvious that filing a legal proceeding of this type requires the intervention of an injury lawyer.
But it is also true that specialized legal help and not just any injury lawyer will do. It is more than likely that you will get the compensation you are entitled to.
Suing in a traffic accident: when is it appropriate?
If you are a regular reader of our blog, you already know that the victim of an accident is always at a disadvantage when it comes to claiming damages:
Nobody tells you what to do when you have an accident...
You have a thousand doubts about where to go or what steps to take to recover from your injuries... The insurance company gives you a problem to fix the material damages and you don't know anything about it? And of course, you don't know the procedures, deadlines, and how to claim.
Conclusion: you make a mistake in a procedure and you are left without compensation.
It's as simple as that. And it happens more often than you think.
The process of claiming damages derived from an accident is not at all simple.
But when the company has problems paying what you are entitled to, things get even more complicated.
It is relatively easy to be left without compensation if you do not know how to proceed or what to answer.
Or even if you mess up by not doing things right from the start. For example, you miss the 72-hour deadline to go to the doctor after the accident and the company tells you that it will not pay you.
The good news is that on many occasions the case can be redirected when you have the help of an injury lawyer specialized in civil liability derived from accidents.
And it will be your injury lawyer who will tell you when it is appropriate to sue the insurance company.
If there is no other choice, because the insurance company does not want to pay you the compensation, for one reason or another, and you have the necessary arguments and evidence to prove that you are entitled to it, you have to sue.
The end of criminal complaints: complaint and lawsuit are not the same things.
And when do you have to sue in case of a traffic accident?
The answer is easy: when the insurance company does not want to pay you compensation.
And it may not want to pay you:
Because it considers that the fault of the accident is yours and rejects the responsibility of its insured, or simply the opposite party does not recognize the accident.
Because they dispute the extent of the injuries, in order to pay less compensation. Or in both cases, they dispute fault and injuries. You sue because the company disputes your fault.
Many of the lawsuits that are brought against insurance companies for traffic accidents are based on the discussion of fault.
Liability is what determines entitlement to compensation.
When the accident is clear, and the fault is also clear, the company does not dispute this part, for example, when there is a signed friendly report or a police report.
But this is not always the case. In fact, there are many controversial accidents:
The opposing driver denies that he is at fault. The accident is unclear and it is complex to determine who is responsible, as in a chain collision. Both parties have intervened in its production and there is a concurrence of fault.
In all these cases, and at the slightest doubt, the company will always start by denying you compensation.
It knows that victims who are not advised by an injury lawyer are very likely to desist from claiming because they do not know what rights they have.
When you sue the company because it disputes your fault, it is very important to gather all the evidence that proves that they have to compensate you because the responsibility is not yours, and sometimes it is even necessary to count on the help of accident reconstruction experts, who prepare reports based on a study of the accident that prove the fault of the other party.
You sue because the company disputes the extent of your injuries.
Let's think that you have the problem of fault solved, but the insurance company disputes the extent of your injuries.
In other words, they have made you a reasoned offer of compensation that has nothing to do with what they should really pay you. This position of the companies is in the order of the day.
In fact, the vast majority of reasoned offers are not well calculated because the valuation is always downward.
When this happens there are two ways:
When you have a lawyer, his expertise and good work in an amicable negotiation can lead the company to raise the offer and thus get the compensation you are entitled to. But when, despite the intervention of your lawyer, the insurance company still does not want to pay you the full amount of your damages, you have to sue.
There are times when the economic difference between what the company offers you and what you are entitled to be not excessive.
But in many other cases, that difference can amount to many thousands of euros that are not being paid to the victim, who is entitled to it, especially in cases of severe or serious injuries. Who and how do you sue in a traffic accident case?
Your injury lawyer is the one who will explain all the steps to take when you have to file a claim against the insurer.
And for claims for amounts greater than that amount, an ordinary lawsuit is filed.
The difference is substantial because the times are much longer when an ordinary procedure is filed.
The person who sues the company is you, the victim, assisted by an injury lawyer and a solicitor.
The defendant is the insurance company that does not want to pay you.
And what you claim is the totality of the damages to which you are entitled: material damages, personal damages, and pecuniary damages (loss of profits and consequential damages, if any).
What do you need to sue?
Whatever type of traffic accident lawsuit you are going to file, it is very important, and your injury lawyer will explain it to you, to first comply with the requirements indicated by the Law for it to be admitted for processing.
And here comes into play the prior claim that must be made to the insurer. The injured party must make an initial claim to the insurance company requesting payment.
The company has three months to reply with a reasoned offer of payment or a reasoned reply, where it explains the reasons why it does not compensate you (for example, because it considers that you are at fault).
From that moment on, you as the injured party may choose, whether you are at fault, injured or both, to sue the company through civil proceedings.
If you do not comply with this requirement and prove in your claim that you have presented the previous claim to the company, as well as its offer or motivated response, it will NOT be admitted for processing.
That is why it is very important to compile all the documentation that demonstrates not only that you have complied with this requirement, but also that it justifies what you are claiming.
This means providing:
All the medical documentation, reports, and tests that demonstrate the entity of your injuries.
Invoices and proof of payment showing the expenses you may have incurred that the insurance company must reimburse you for.
Proof that you have suffered some type of property loss or loss of earnings (loss of earnings).
Any document that justifies that the liability is NOT yours.
In short: you not only have to be good, but you have to prove it.
And the proof is the main asset you have to win the civil claim against the company. Suing for an accident: legal steps and what can happen
Your injury lawyer will not only be the professional who defends your interests, but also the one who will show you the legal steps of the process, the documentation you need, and how the procedure will be carried out.
But in addition to the documents requested, he will also prepare the rest of the evidence that he considers necessary to win the lawsuit.
For example, if the company disputes the dynamics of the accident, it is very likely that it will consider the option of relying on the help of an accident reconstruction expert.
This professional will not only prepare a report to be submitted with the claim but will also attend the trial to defend it.
His role is to refute the insurance company's argument that the accident was your fault and that is why they will not pay you compensation.
The injury lawyer's mission is to demonstrate the extent of your injuries, and that they are not what the company has offered, or at least, that the valuation is incomplete.
And for the famous cases of minor injuries, such as those derived from spinal trauma, especially sprains and whiplash, the medical expert helps to prove that your damages exist and that you are entitled to be paid for them.
In all these cases, our mission as lawyers is to "build" your claim with everything that can help us to demonstrate that the company has to pay you, and not what they want, but what you are entitled to.
Settlement before trial
We are not going to deceive you: filing a civil lawsuit slows down your claim and you will take longer to collect your compensation.
It is common knowledge that our Courts have a backlog, which is greater or lesser depending on the Court and the locality where the lawsuit is filed.
However, in many cases, it is not necessary to wait for the entire procedure to be processed.
And this is because many times the companies receive the claim and when they see that they have many possibilities of losing the lawsuit and having to pay interests and costs, they contact your lawyer to try to reach an agreement.
In these cases the claim is expedited and reaching the agreement, both parties desist from the procedure and you receive the compensation much earlier.
Other times this agreement takes place in the time between the preliminary hearing between the parties and the date of the trial.
In other words, until the Court sets the trial date, there are possibilities of reaching an agreement with the insurer, often encouraged by the insurers themselves.
The good work, knowledge, and experience of your injury lawyer are key to reaching an agreement that benefits you both in time gained and money saved.
Trial and Judgment
What happens when the insurer continues to maintain its position of not paying you? The procedure continues until the end, that is until the trial is held.
There have been cases where the agreement is reached before entering the courtroom, that is, when all parties are present for the trial, and negotiating at that last moment.
When this is not the case, during the trial each party defends its position, all the evidence admitted by the Judge in the previous hearing (statements of experts, witnesses...) and after the conclusions of each party, the Judge leaves the case ready for judgment.
And at this point you may be thinking:
Does it pay to sue in a traffic accident?
The answer is YES, WITHOUT A DOUBT, if your lawyer recommends it.
In Perez Gurri Law we have it clear: we will never recommend you to get into a legal proceeding against the insurer if we do not believe that you have all the options to win.
Above all, is the defense of your rights as a victim.
Are you interested in contacting a lawyer and starting your claim?
We want you to tell us about your case, you can contact Perez Gurri Law Firm here and you will receive initial advice with no obligation.
Or if you prefer you can call us at 305-661-1200.