Can You Sue If Someone Hits Your Car?
If you have suffered injuries or damages in a car accident, you may be entitled to an insurance claim. Your insurer or the insurance carrier of the other driver settles the said claim. Of course, that depends on your state and who is at fault.
Texas, for instance, uses the modified comparative negligence rules. That means if you are over 50 percent at fault, you cannot recover (any losses) from the other party. However, if you are at most 50 percent at fault, your total compensation is reduced accordingly.
Sometimes, total losses from a car accident exceed the insurance policy limit. That may warrant you to sue the at-fault driver to increase your compensation.
Lawsuits succeed if:
- The other driver owed it to you to drive safely;
- They did not;
- Their unsafe driving caused an accident; and
- You suffered injuries and property damages as a result.
This article discusses reasons why you may be able to sue if someone hits your car. For more specific information, contact a personal injury attorney today.
4 Reasons to Sue if Someone Hits Your Car
There are several reasons why you would sue another driver, such as:
#1: Failed Negotiations
Personal injury claims are resolved through negotiations. You will rarely end up in court.
But, if you have negotiated with the relevant parties and failed to reach an agreement, or if the insurance carrier fails to compensate you as per your losses, consider consulting with a personal injury lawyer.
The attorney is better poised to gauge a fair settlement based on your losses and file a lawsuit if the settlement offer fails to meet the expectation.
#2: The Insurance Coverage Is Insufficient
Auto insurance policies come with a limit. As such, the auto insurer will pay up to specific amounts when settling a claim.
For example, if the at-fault driver has an auto policy with a $50,000 limit. Their carrier will only pay up to $50,000 to you as compensation for your losses. Assuming your losses in the claim amount to $100,000, the insurance firm will still not pay more than $50,000.
In Texas, the least auto liability insurance limit is better known as the 30/60/25 coverage.
- $30,000 for each person involved in the accident.
- A total of $60,000 per accident.
- Up to $25,000 for property damages.
In short, you are likely to receive some degree of compensation. But, it is best to consider the limits set by the insurance carrier(s) in question.
Ideally, the compensation should cover your medical expenses, pain & suffering, and lost wages.
Always provide an accurate estimate of your losses. Document the impact the accident has on your life before making a claim. Include medical receipts, estimates for pain & suffering per day, and estimates for lost wages. Think of expenses incurred to hire help around the house or hire a driver if you cannot drive.
While auto accident settlements rarely exceed the set limits, it is possible to sue beyond the policy limit. You only need to go for sources other than the insurance carrier in question.
You could collect recovery above the policy limit through:
- Suing more than one defendant. (That is possible if the accidents involved many vehicles.)
- Recovering under an umbrella cover. (That is common in cases of corporate entities or large businesses.)
- Collecting money from the at-fault driver. (Here, the defendant must have substantial savings, suitable assets, or stable wages.)
#3: Delayed Settlements
In Texas, insurance carriers have 15 days to acknowledge receipt of a claim and request additional information if needed. Once the company receives the requested information, it has up to 15 days to accept or deny the claim. Once they have approved the claim, the insurance firm has up to 5 business days to make the settlement.
As such, you can wait for at most 35 days for the insurance carrier to process your claim. Note, the insurance carrier can extend the waiting period to 45 days. But only if there are sufficient grounds and solid reasons to do so.
While some insurance companies are transparent in their settlement dealings, others are not. It is not unusual to deal with a carrier who is dragging their feet and finding excuses to delay the settlement. Sometimes, these insurers use the delay tactic to wear you down. They hope you will give up and abandon the claim.
If the insurance provider is delaying your settlement for no solid reasons, consider the possibility of bringing suit.
#4: Unfair Claim Practices
Consider using any relevant parties in cases of unfair claim practices. That may include:
- Delayed settlement (discussed in the previous point),
- Reduced claim size, and
- Dodged settlement.
Unfair claim practices sometimes mean the insurer is acting in bad faith. Think of when:
- The firm refuses to pay your claim without reasonable grounds or reasons
- The carrier refuses to investigate your claim; thoroughly and promptly
- The insurance firm tries to force you to settle for less compensation than you deserve
- The firm demands an unreasonable amount of paperwork or evidence
- The firm puts unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles
- Any act by the insurance carrier to deceive or defraud you.
Fortunately, Texas has passed laws to protect you from bad faith practices in the claim settlement process. You would need to leverage it.
To be successful in your claim or lawsuit, you must prove you are not at fault.
Proving You Are Not at Fault (or Less than 50 percent at Fault)
In which case, you must:
- Take pictures and videos of the scene of the accident.
- Take note of the road conditions, weather conditions, and any obstruction in the line of sight.
- Remain at the scene until you exchange contact information with the at-fault driver or until the police arrive.
- Contact the police, especially if:
- You suspect the at-fault driver is intoxicated
- The at-fault driver leaves the accident scene
- The at-fault driver lacks a car insurance
- The accident results in death or serious injuries
- The accident causes estimated property damage of at least $1,0005. Speak to witnesses (or get their contact information).
Retain an Attorney if Someone Crashes Into Your Car
Whatever your thoughts are about your accident, retain a car accident lawyer. A lawsuit requires knowledge of the law and legal procedures. And if you are not trained in such matters, you can easily fall into pitfalls—which the defendant can exploit to reduce or deny your claim altogether.
Did an accident in San Antonio injure you? Did you suffer losses? Do you need to sue the at-fault driver (or the insurance carrier)? A personal injury attorney can help. Schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney today. An attorney can leverage their expertise to interview witnesses, collect evidence, and hire expert witnesses as needed. Their focus is to make your voice heard and get you compensated for your uncalled-for losses.