3 Things You Need to Know If You Have Been Injured in a Car Accident
There are few things more traumatizing than being in a car accident—especially when you are injured and you feel that the accident wasn't your fault. After a car accident, you need to focus on getting better, but you also need to be aware of a few things. Here are three things you need to know if you have been injured in a car accident.
1. You should never sign anything given to you by the party responsible or their insurance company without reading it first.
After the accident, you likely will be visited by the person who caused the accident or a representative from their insurance company. They will either try to talk you out of filing a claim or may even trick you into signing a release stating you can't sue to collect money relating to the accident. That is why it is important that you read anything that you are given to sign. Not only do you need to read it, but you need to be sure you understand it. If you sign it without reading or understanding it, you could sign away your rights to collect the compensation you are due from the accident.
2. The burden of proof falls on you in court.
If you have to sue the insurance company or the person responsible for the accident, you have to prove the other party caused the accident. The good news is that you don't have to prove it to the extent as you would in a criminal case. You just have to prove it by a preponderance of evidence, which means that it most likely did happen the way you claim.
Since you will likely be claiming the other driver was negligent when causing the accident, you will have to prove there was a duty of care owed to you, that duty of care was breached by the other driver, the other driver's negligence is what led to your injuries, and that your injuries are real. If you fail to prove just one of these things, you could lose your case if it is based upon negligence.
3. Your state could have a no-fault law.
While most states allow for drivers to be sued if they cause an accident, there are some states that have no-fault laws. This means that each driver is expected to carry insurance to cover themselves in the event of an accident, no matter who causes it. If you have to sue for compensation after an accident, you will be suing your own insurance company and not the other party or their insurance company. The states that currently have no-fault laws are
- North Dakota
- Washington, D.C.
- New York
- New Jersey
For legal assistance, talk to a professional like Burgess & Perigard.