Being involved in a car accident can be horrible. If you are injured, then things can be even worse. If you weren't the one responsible for causing the accident, sometimes the only way you can get compensation is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible. Here are three things that can affect your personal injury case.
1. You share fault for the accident.
One thing that can definitely have an impact on your personal injury case is if the judge finds that your actions, or inaction, helped cause the accident. The judge will use one of two legal doctrines to determine if your degree of fault will affect your ability to win compensation.
If the court uses contributory negligence, then you will not be able to collect any compensation if you are found to share any fault in the accident. It doesn't matter how small your degree of fault is -- having any is enough for you to lose your case.
While there are still some states that use contributory negligence, many use the doctrine of comparative negligence today. Under comparative negligence, the amount you are requesting in compensation will be reduced by your share of the accident. For example, if you are asking for $14,000 in damages and you are 30% responsible for the accident, you will only get 70% of the $14,000 you were asking for.
2. States with no-fault car insurance laws.
There are a handful of states that have no fault car insurance laws in place. That means, when you are involved in an accident, you are to seek compensation from your own insurance company - no matter who caused the accident. You can only file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver responsible for the accident if your medical bills exceed the threshold your state has put in place.
Currently, the only states that have no fault car insurance laws are:
- Washington, D.C.
- New York
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
If your state isn't listed above, then they use either comparative or contributory negligence.
3. The statute of limitations has passed.
Your ability to collect compensation from a car accident has an expiration date. The minute the accident occurs, the clock starts ticking on the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for your personal injury case varies from state to state. Some states only give you a year to file a personal injury case, while others give you up to 10 years. So, you will need to consult with an attorney, like those at Garrett Law Firm, PA, to make sure your personal injury case is within the statute of limitations and you can collect compensation.