In the aftermath of a car crash, those who were injured or were not at fault can be extremely upset. They may jump to the conclusion that filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party is the only way to recover damages and feel better.
While legal action is certainly effective in many situations, the truth is that it's not always easy to tell if you should or even can file a lawsuit after a car accident. Below are a few basic questions you can ask yourself after a crash to determine if filing a lawsuit is in your best interests.
- Who was at fault? In Kentucky, we observe pure comparative fault laws. This means that you can file a lawsuit against a negligent party if you were also negligent in an accident, but any award will be reduced in proportion to percentage of negligence. In other words, if you were 75 percent to blame for an accident, you would only receive 25 percent of any award. This could mean it is not financially beneficial for you to pursue a legal claim.
- What are the damages? It is important that you consider the full extent of damages before deciding about whether to take legal action. Remember, it's not just your medical bills that you need to worry about. You can also seek compensation for property damage, emotional distress, lost wages and any other type of emotional, financial or physical injury suffered. If these are significant, legal action can help you maximize the compensation you deserve.
- Is the insurance company offering a fair settlement? Insurance companies are going to make you an offer to settle the claim. In many cases, these offers will be less than what you hoped for, but whether they are fair or not will depend on the offer and the extent of your damages.
Answering these questions can give you a good idea of what to do after a crash, though this too could be easier said than done.
To thoroughly and accurately assess your situation and your legal options, it can be wise to consult an attorney after any crash. A lawsuit may not always be the answer, but it is certainly one legal remedy you will want to consider.