3 Things That Can Hurt Your Car Accident Case

Car accidents can be very traumatic to experience. The situation is made even worse whenever you feel someone else caused the accident. The good news is you have legal recourse if someone else caused the accident and refuses to pay for the damage they caused. However, here are three things that can hurt your car accident case.

1. You share fault for the accident.

The first thing the defense is going to do in court is claim that you are, at the very least, partially responsible for the car accident. If they succeed in convincing the court that you do share fault for the accident, then you likely won't get the results you want from the case.

For instance, if you are proven to share fault and your state uses contributory negligence in determining damages, you will walk away with no money from the driver who caused the accident. With contributory negligence, no matter how small your degree of fault is, you will be barred from winning damages for the accident. 

However, a lot of states use a form of comparative negligence when determining awards in car accident cases where there is shared fault. In states with pure comparative negligence, your award amount is reduced by the amount of the accident you are responsible for. So, if you caused 20% of the accident, you could only get 80% of the damages the jury awards you.

Some states have a modified form of comparative negligence. One form uses a 51% rule, which means your degree of fault must be 50% or less before you can collect any compensation from the other driver. The other modified version uses a 50% rule, which means you must not have contributed over 49% to causing the accident. If your degree of fault is 50% or higher, you will not be able to collect compensation under that rule.

2. You don't file your case in time.

Usually there will be a period of time between when the accident occurred and when you realize you need to seek legal action against the other driver. Obviously, you want to avoid going to court if it's possible. However, you need to be mindful of the statute of limitations for filing personal injury cases in your state because, if time runs out, you can't recover any damages from the other driver at all.

The statute of limitations varies from state to state. However, you will have at least one year from the date the accident happened to file your personal injury case in court. A lot of states give you more time - some as long as six years. But, laws can change from year to year, so it is vital to consult a personal injury attorney to find your state's current statute of limitations.

3. You are required to carry no-fault car insurance in your state.

Several states require their drivers to carry no-fault car insurance. That means all drivers are expected to seek compensation from their own car insurance policies for accidents - even if someone else caused it. This helps keep the courts from being overrun with fraudulent car accident cases.

Of course, there is still the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the driver responsible. Each state requiring no-fault car insurance gives drivers the ability to sue the driver responsible if certain conditions have been met.

For example, one state may only allow lawsuits against the other driver if your medical bills reach a certain amount. If the state's conditions aren't met, however, you will be out of luck to collect any money from the other driver.

For more information, contact Edward M Graves or a similar legal professional.