One of the most common questions after a car accident is – Who pays for the damages? It’s a simple question with a not-so-simple response. To understand who pays for the damages after a car accident, you first have to understand what exactly are considered to be “damages”.
Damages in a car accident are organized into the following categories:
- Property Damages
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Wrongful Death Damages
With each of these potential car accident damages, the situation and the extent of the damages will determine your claim eligibility. Property damages can include damage to the vehicle, damage to the property where the collision occurred, or even damage to the property inside of the vehicle. Medical expenses are any expense related to an injury incurred during the accident and any future medical costs, such as physical therapy or medicine.
Lost wages occur when a serious injury causes an individual not to be able to work for an extended period of time, while pain and suffering damages refer to the non-tangible suffering from an accident such as psychological counseling. When an individual dies in an accident caused by someone else, the family can claim wrongful death damages to help pay for expenses such as medical bills and funeral costs.
So, who pays for all of these damages?
After an accident, determining who pays for the damages depends on the insurance policies of both parties and how much each individual wants to fight. If the at-fault party is not covered by insurance, the other parties may be forced to rely on their own insurance companies to help pay for the damages. There is also the option of filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party; however, there is no guarantee that you will collect compensation. If the driver does not have sufficient money or assets to pay for your damages, you may still be forced to pay for them on your own. If you find yourself involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, it’s best to talk with a car accident attorney to discuss what you should do.
If both parties have car insurance, it is more likely that each party will involve their insurance companies to help pay for the damages. In one circumstance, both parties may involve their insurance companies to help pay for the damages. In this case, each individual only pays for their deductible. The not-at-fault party may request a deductible recovery to get this money back if it can be proved that the other person was at fault. This process is called “subrogation” and is the process of your insurance getting your deductible money back from the other parties’ insurer. A lawsuit can also be filed directly against the at-fault individual to demand compensation.
In the event of more serious damages, it is more common for the non-guilty party to make a claim directly against the at-fault party. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as calling the at-fault individual’s insurance to demand money. A claim must be filed, the evidence must prove the other individual’s fault, and the insurer must accept the claim and the responsibility. This is where the process can get difficult. Insurance companies will try and deny their client’s fault in the accident or will try and minimize their fault to pay less. This is why you need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side to fight against the insurance company for you.
What are some common misconceptions about car accident claims?
One of the biggest misconceptions that many people have about car accident claims is that a claim can only be filed if the individual was severely injured or the car severely damaged at the scene of the crime. This is not true. Many car accident victims don’t experience injuries until later on after the accident once the adrenaline and shock have worn off. Also, some cars may not appear to be severely damaged on the exterior, but interior motor damage or system damages can be expensive and cause the car to not run. It’s important that individuals involved in an accident visit a doctor in the days after to check for injuries and take their car to an auto shop to check for damages. At the accident scene, don’t make any immediate statements about injuries or damages.
Another big misconception is that someone must claim fault at the accident scene. It’s important to be involved in an accident not to claim any immediate fault. You don’t know if the other driver was driving drunk, was texting while driving, or if the accident was caused by a faulty car piece or road construction. Don’t claim any fault until you have a lawyer on your side to guide you.
Should you file a car accident claim on your own?
No! Don’t try and fight the insurance company alone. You need an experienced car accident attorney on your side to help you understand the legal process, your rights as the not-at-fault party, and to help you get the full compensation that you deserve. Call Lamar Law Office to fight your case for you as an experienced car accident lawyer in the Atlanta area. For more information about the process of car accident claims and how we can help you to get money for your damages, call our office today.