According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 6 million automobile crashes reported by police every year in the US. In the state of Texas, not a single day passes by without a road crash. Subsequently, data from the Texas Department of Transportation show there were 14,282 crashes on Texas roads in 2017, resulting in several injuries and deaths.
If you get into an accident due to someone else’s carelessness and negligence, you can make a claim against their liability insurance. Notably, there are different types of car insurance, and understanding how each work can help your claim process.
We will look at the basic comprehensive insurance coverage and whether you can file a lawsuit should you get into an accident with a driver who has one.
What Is Comprehensive Insurance?
Apart from covering vehicles in an accident, comprehensive insurance protects against theft, vandalism, legal liability, and damage to third-party properties, including damage to other people’s cars. Signing up for comprehensive insurance coverage guarantees a driver is protected against damages deemed to be their fault. Although comprehensive insurance is an optional coverage, your lender may need it if you’re paying off or leasing your vehicle.
What Is Covered by Basic Comprehensive Coverage?
Some of the injuries and damages covered by comprehensive insurance include:
- Bodily injury damage: this part of liability insurance applies to injuries that a policyholder or designated driver cause to someone else.
- Medical payments/ personal injury protection: this liability insurance coverage pays for the treatments of injuries, lost wages, and cost of replacing services. It may also cover burial expenses.
- Property damage: this liability insurance coverage pays for damage that a policyholder or someone else driving the car caused to someone else’s property. This means the policy may cover the damage to someone else’s car, buildings, or other structures that the car hits.
Can I Sue a Driver with Basic Liability Insurance?
What is great about liability insurance is that it protects a driver from losses if they damage a third-party person or property. However, in some instances, your automobile accident claim is denied by the insurance company or settled for much less than the case is worth. When you get into a car accident that was not your fault, and a claim is denied, you are entitled to sue the at-fault driver and their insurance company. Before you start a lawsuit, it is essential to obtain the assistance of an attorney who can help dispute the insurance company’s actions.
Car Accident Settlements and Lawsuits
If you decide to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and their insurance provider, chances are you will never get to court. Studies reveal about 95 percent of personal injury lawsuits settle before a trial. It is in the insurance company’s interest to resolve a car accident claim as quickly as possible and avoid additional costs.
However, it may not be in your best interest to do so. It is crucial to determine the full extent and scope of your losses before you agree to any settlement. If the insurance company fails to offer fair compensation, it may be in your best interest to file a lawsuit.
The Stages of Your Car Accident Lawsuit
Before you start a car accident lawsuit, keep in mind personal injury cases involve a myriad of stages, steps, and procedures. The lawsuit may take a few months to several years to settle. Let’s look at the standard stages of a typical injury lawsuit.
- Pro tip: Injury litigation needs specialized knowledge and experience. It is in your best interest to work with an experienced car accident lawyer.
Stage 1: Pre-Litigation Phase
Before filing a lawsuit, your lawsuit first investigates the crash and collects documents and facts supporting your claims. Pre-litigation involves several steps such as:
- Initial evaluation: during this step, your attorney discusses the details of your case and determines if a valid personal claim exists.
- Documentation and calculation of damages: the attorney accesses your medical record and history to gain insights into the extent of physical, emotional, and psychological injuries you suffered from the crash. They will also examine copies of your medical bills to help estimate the total damages.
- Crash and negligence investigation: the attorney may also investigate the crash scene, obtain copies of police reports, and interview witnesses. Additionally, the attorney may consult with experts such as physicians and medical specialists, engineers and scientists, accident reconstruction experts, and lifecare planners.
- Insurance company negotiation: your attorney may also negotiate with insurance adjusters to resolve the case without a lawsuit. However, if the parties fail to arrive at a fair settlement, a lawsuit becomes inevitable.
Stage 2: Litigation Phase
The litigation phase involves the formal filing of a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and their insurance. The litigation phase may involve the following steps:
- Filing a lawsuit: the filing process requires you to provide the court with a written complaint and other documentation, pay a filing fee and serve the papers to the defendant. When filing a case, work closely with your attorney to avoid mistakes that may result in lost compensation or dismissal of the case.
- Discovery: Discovery is a formal process where you share documents, evidence, and other information with the other party. Both parties’ lawyers ask questions and request relevant documents from each other.
- Deposition testimony: the deposition testimony stage is a formal process for presenting testimonies called a deposition. These are statements taken under oath given by witnesses, police officers, and other experts.
- Mediation and settlement negotiations: lawsuits can be unpredictable even when you believe you are well-prepared. Typically, experienced personal injury lawyers may try to settle the case through mediation. Mediation is alternative dispute resolution where parties to a lawsuit negotiate with the help of a neutral mediator appointed by the court.
Stage 3: Trial
If you fail to negotiate a fair settlement, the case goes to trial. As mentioned earlier, most car accident lawsuits are resolved before reaching trial. However, some instances force litigants to take the case to court to get full compensation.
Trial in Court
During the trial process, both sides give evidence, facts, and testimonies to the judge. A group of peers listens to both side’s arguments and review the evidence. The jury will then issue a verdict. If the verdict favors you, the trial process is considered over. If you feel the verdict was not fair, you can file an appeal at the court of appeals.
Let Thompson Law Help Settle Your Car Accident Lawsuit.
Our award-winning team is available 24/7, we are best placed to pursue justice for you in your personal injury suit. Our experienced car accident lawyers will work with you at every stage of the lawsuit process. We are committed to ensuring you get the fair compensation that you deserve. We strongly believe we only win if you do- and we don’t ask for a dime unless we win your case.