What is Car Accident Law?

What is Car Accident Law?

Car accident laws refer to legal rules that determine who is responsible for personal or property damage caused by a road accident. This field of law consists of the principle of negligence, as it relates to this particular class of personal injury. In other cases, when such negligence laws apply, car accidents are almost entirely resolved by state law.

Even as nuances exist, car coincidence victims in every country have to show the same simple 4 factors so one can recover repayment. These elements are duty, breach, causation, and harm. With appreciation to obligation, drivers have a legal responsibility to obey the regulations of the road and to perform their motors in an inexpensive manner. This indicates using a safe speed, maintaining control, workout focus, gazing traffic indicators, using blinkers and headlights, and so on.

The lifestyles of responsibility are usually conventional without lots of argument. With the aid of contrast, the plaintiff will normally be required to offer proof that the defendant breached that responsibility. The breach may be shown by means of direct proof, including eyewitness testimony, visitor’s surveillance video, or an admission of fault. Or, the plaintiff may also want to inn to circumstantial proof, along with skid marks, paint smudges, or blood alcohol readings.

Just due to the fact the defendant had a responsibility to perform his or her automobile in a sure manner, and it’s far proven that the defendant breached that duty, the courtroom will not anticipate those circumstances brought on the plaintiff’s injuries. Instead, the plaintiff must prove the element of causation. In automobile accident instances, this may be finished thru clinical testimony demonstrating the accidents are consistent with the nature of the crash, and they did no longer exist in advance.

Subsequently, the plaintiff should prove damage. No matter how egregious the opposite motive force’s behavior became in the back of the wheel, the plaintiff can not carry a negligence lawsuit unless the conduct produced harm to the plaintiff’s character or car. “near leave out” instances will no longer qualify. As soon as harm is shown, the plaintiff can be entitled to reimbursement for scientific prices, ache and grief, misplaced wages, and greater.

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Steps to Take Following an Accident

The first issue to do after a vehicle accident is to stay silent approximately who is in charge of the incident. As easy as this may seem, admitting fault is by using far the most commonplace mistake ability litigants make within the moments following a crash. generally, the rules of evidence do now not allow out-of-court docket statements (aka “hearsay”). but there may be an exception for admissions. Even an easy apology can potentially be used in opposition to you.

Conversely, it’s miles important to make notes of any statements made via the other driving force. A smartphone, pill, or different electronic tools may be tremendous for recording voice memos in the chaos of a coincidence scene. By something means are to be had, gather as a whole lot element approximately the twist of fate as viable. To begin with, take down the opposite motive force’s name and deal with, license wide variety, and insurance facts.

Different proof to preserve consists of witness touch statistics, descriptions of the street, visitors, and climate conditions, and photographs of the cars. In case your cell telephone or digital camera has the ability to record video, use it. Make a video of the coincidence scene up near and from a distance, which includes the place of traffic signs and symptoms, crosswalks, and so forth. Additionally, be sure to put in writing down the names of police officers so it will likely be less difficult to get copies in their reports.

In no way forget the significance of in search of instantaneous scientific interest. The whiplash motion due to vehicle injuries can produce accidents the sufferer won’t word at first, however that ends up extra reported as time passes. As a capacity plaintiff in a negligence case, you do now not need the other motive force’s lawyer to belittle the severity of your injuries, based on the fact that you did not sense it essential to searching for treatment right away.

Of the entirety that may be accomplished after an automobile accident to keep a sufferer’s right to reimbursement, contacting a non-public damage legal professional may have the best impact. Without the help of suggestions, you’ll be on your own and susceptible to the methods of the opposing aspect’s coverage corporation. The adjuster may additionally stress you to accept an unfair settlement or to waive other rights. Earlier than signing something, be sure to seek advice from a legal professional.

Car accident Law

Car Accident Laws

A Guide To Your Rights If You Are In A Car Accident

In case you have been concerned about a vehicle coincidence, it is essential to follow sure tactics on the way to acquire the reimbursement you deserve and defend your rights. Insurance providers may also refuse to offer repayment or region a limit on the amount of repayment available. It’s far important to understand how coverage claims paintings after distinctive varieties of car injuries and how a legal professional can be capable that will help you.

Can Texting While Driving Lead to a Murder Charge

A motive force turned into sending a textual content message whilst he by chance swerved throughout the middle line and killed the motive force of a car heading in the opposite route. The incident turned into truly a twist of fate, however, was the youngster’s action of composing text messages while riding so wanton and reckless that it could quantity to criminal murder?

Hit and Run Accidents and the Consequences

For those who caused the accident then fled the scene, usually in a panic, the consequences can be severe.

How do You Know Who is at Fault in a Car Accident

Determining the responsible party for a car accident can sometimes be tricky. There is often a difference between who actually caused an accident and who legally is at fault.

How to Know if a Car Accident Case is Worth Anything

Virtually any civil lawsuit has one thing in common: damages. That is the injury, financial harm, or damage to property for which one is entitled to recover money from the other party.

In a Rear-End Collision, Is the Guy in the Back Always at Fault?

Being in an accident can be a nightmare, but when you are the driver of a vehicle that collided with another from the rear, it can be particularly troubling. Conventional wisdom will usually tell you that the driver in the back is always at fault, and in most instances, this will be true, but not all.

Single-Vehicle Accidents

A single-vehicle collision or single-vehicle accident is, as the name implies, a car collision in which only one vehicle is involved. This can include accidents like running off the road, colliding with fallen rocks, running over debris on the road, losing control of the vehicle and rolling it, hitting animals, and so forth.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident

For many, it can be a nightmare scenario: driving safely and minding their own business when another vehicle hits them, causes damage and possibly injuries, then flees the scene. What do you do? Who will pay for the damage?

What to do When a Defective Part Caused Your Car Accident

We expect our cars to keep us and our families safe, but with a system of hundreds of moving parts, it is not uncommon for something to fail, often with dangerous results. Indeed, each year, millions of cars are recalled because of manufacturing defects or defective parts that can cause fatal car crashes.

What to Do After a Car Accident?

Due to the high number of accidents, motor vehicle accidents compromise the most significant proportion of personal injury cases. Knowing what to do immediately after an accident can make a significant impact in a case and help individuals protect their legal rights. Use this car accident law handbook to understand your legal rights and strengthen your claim.

Car Accident Laws per State:

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 California Car Accident Law

California has a variety of laws that may apply in case of a car accident. These laws determine how insurance claims are handled, what damages are available, and when a lawsuit must be filed, if necessary. It is important that people who are involved in a car accident in California understand these laws and how they may impact their claim.

Minimum Insurance Requirements

California law requires that vehicle owners be financially responsible for any accidents that they are involved in. The state’s insurance code requires that all vehicles are covered with a minimum of 15/30/5 insurance, meaning that it provides maximum coverage of:

  • $15,000 for the injury or death to one person
  • $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person
  • $5,000 for property damage

Motorists must have proof of insurance readily available in case they are involved in an accident. They must show this proof of insurance when involved in a car accident, when law enforcement requests to see it or when renewing or obtaining vehicle registration. Failing to provide proof of insurance can result in the issuance of fines or even the loss of driving privileges.

 

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

California law requires insurance companies to offer uninsured motorist bodily injury and underinsured motorist coverage. These types of coverage cover injuries and property damage that a motorist who did not have insurance or did not have sufficient insurance caused. Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage provides up to the amount of the insured’s liability coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage can make up the difference between the amount the underinsured driver’s insurance covered and your actual damages. If you decline these types of insurance, you must do so in writing.

Other Forms of Car Insurance

The insurance mentioned above is simply the minimum that the state requires. You can purchase additional insurance. Because California is a tort-based insurance system, if you cause an accident, the injured party can file a lawsuit against you and seek compensation for the damages that they sustained for any amounts above those covered by your insurance. For this reason, many people purchase supplemental insurance, including:

  • Increased liability insurance
  • Medical payments covered
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Theft coverage

 

Accident Reporting Requirements in California

State law requires motorists involved in an accident to stop at the scene of the accident, check if anyone has been injured, render aid to anyone who was injured, and exchange information with the other driver.

California Vehicle Code § 20008 requires the driver of a vehicle involved in a car accident or his or her representative to make a written report regarding the crash to the California Highway Patrol or to the police department where the accident occurred if it resulted in injury or death within 24 hours of the accident. If a law enforcement officer responded to the scene of the accident, he or she will prepare the written report and you will not be required to file a separate report.

California Vehicle Code §16000 requires anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident to report an accident to the DMV within 10 days from it occurring if it involved any of the following:

  • Death of a person
  • Injury of a person
  • Property damage in excess of $750

The accident report includes the following information:

  • The names and addresses of the drivers and anyone who was injured in the accident
  • Time, date, and location of the accident
  • Birthdate, driver’s license information, and other information about the motorists
  • Insurance information
  • Explanation of property damage and injuries

What to Do in Case of an Accident in California Accident

It is important for people involved in a car accident in California to understand what they should do. The most important thing is to call 911 if there are injuries and you need immediate medical assistance. If you are able, check on the other motorist and passengers to check for injuries. The accident should be reported to the police or the local authority that handles motor vehicle accidents. Some police departments respond to every accident while others may only respond based on the accident severity and the location of the accident.

The drivers should exchange information with each other, including the following:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • Driver’s license number
  • License plate and VIN
  • Insurance information, including insurance company name and policy number

If there are any witnesses, you should obtain their names and contact information in case you need to contact them after the accident.

The individuals involved in the accident should do their best to document the scene of the accident. They should take pictures of the following:

  • Accident scene
  • Damage to each vehicle
  • Traffic controls
  • Visual obstacles
  • Any property damage in the roadway
  • Any nearby signs that may be relevant

Preferably, these pictures should be from different angles.

If you are injured, you should seek medical treatment and explain to your medical providers that you were involved in a motor vehicle accident.

You should also notify your insurance company about the accident or begin a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance claim.

Damages Involved in Car Accidents in California

California law states that personal injury victims have the right to recover the damages that they suffer caused by the negligence of others. California and many other states divide damages into different categories. The most common categories are economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include those losses that are connected to a certain economic loss. They include damages, such as:

  • Vehicle repair or replacement costs
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Loss of employment or business opportunities
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Loss of the use of property
  • Burial expenses

Non-economic damages are those that are not as easy to compute, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Disability
  • Inconvenience
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of consortium, affection or companionship

While many states impose a limit on certain types of damages, such as non-economic damages, California does not have a limit of this nature. However, California does have a unique law that prohibits a person who does not have automotive insurance to recover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or emotional distress, regardless of who is found to be at fault for the accident. This individual can still make a claim based on property damage, lost wages, medical expenses and other economic damages against the at-fault party.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the time limit that a person has to file certain legal actions, such as a personal injury lawsuit. If the time limit passes and the accident victim files a complaint against the negligent driver, the judge will likely dismiss the case because the statute of limitations has expired. In California, injured accident victims have two years to file a lawsuit based on bodily injury. Individuals who file claims based on property damage have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.

Tolling the Statute of Limitations There are a few rare instances when this time limit can be exceeded. In certain situations, the statute of limitations is “tolled,” meaning that it is temporarily paused until a certain event occurs. These situations include:

  • The plaintiff cannot locate the defendant
  • The defendant is imprisoned
  • The victim is minor or mentally incapacitated
  • There is a reasonable delay in the discovery of an injury related to the accident

A California personal injury lawyer can explain when these situations arise.

Government Accelerated Claims In some cases, the time limit is shortened, such as when a government party is involved. This situation may arise when a local, county or state government party is responsible for an accident. In these cases, the injured party only has six months from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Additionally, these types of cases involve filing an administrative claim.

Determining Liability Determining liability often comes down to determining how a party was negligent, meaning that someone drove in a way that a reasonably prudent person would not drive. A reasonably prudent person obeys traffic laws and demonstrates a reasonable degree of caution.

Examples of negligence include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Disobeying traffic laws or signals
  • Not keeping a proper lookout
  • Speeding
  • Following too closely

Rules of the Road In some situations, there is a particular driving rule that one of the motorists did not follow. Some of the rules that may be involved include:

  • Speed limits – Drivers must adhere to all posted speed limits. These limits are designed for daylight hours and optimal driving conditions. Drivers must reduce their speed when driving conditions are not optimal.
  • Preemption – A driver who is entering a road must yield to oncoming traffic and use appropriate caution. This applies to leaving a driveway, alley, or another road to enter another road or highway. The driver must ensure that there is sufficient time to enter the road without disrupting traffic flow.
  • Following distance – Drivers who hit the vehicles in front of them are almost always found at fault for the accident because they have not kept enough space between their vehicle and the one in front of them. If a vehicle in front of you suddenly stops, you should have enough time to also stop so that you do not cause an accident.
  • Distracted driving – Drivers should avoid using electronic devices or engaging in other forms of distracted driving that takes their eyes or mind off of the road or their hands off of the steering wheel.

These are just a few examples of potentially relevant rules of the road. An experienced personal injury lawyer can review the specific circumstances surrounding your accident to determine which rules may have been violated and by whom. A judge or jury may have to decide if these rules were violated when determining whether to award compensation to an accident victim.

Insurance Investigation In many car accident cases, the insurance company appoints a claims adjuster to conduct an investigation into the accident. This adjuster may get verbal or written accounts regarding the accident from the insured and the other driver. Witnesses may also be contacted to explain what they saw. The claims adjuster may request proof of damages, such as medical bills, medical reports and lost wages documentation.

Pure Comparative Negligence System

California uses a pure comparative negligence system to determine liability when the liability of more than one person or entity is involved in a personal injury claim. Under this system, each person found to be at fault for an accident is liable for his or her portion of the fault. This system ensures that accident victims will be able to cover at least a portion of the damages they sustain. Additionally, it prevents an injured party from receiving compensation caused by his or her own contribution to the accident.

For example, if two drivers are involved in the accident, one driver may run a stop sign. The other driver may be speeding. The first driver may be found to be 70 percent at fault while the second driver is found to be 30 percent at fault. If the injured driver suffered damages totaling $100,000, his or her damages would be reduced by 30 percent to $70,000. Additionally, the second driver would be liable for 30 percent of the first driver’s losses.

In some car accidents, multiple parties may be at fault. California law allows for more than one person to be held financially responsible for damages stemming from this type of accident. Each party is held financially responsible to the degree of their own fault.

Even if a victim contributed to an accident, he or she is not barred from recovering compensation from the other parties at fault for the accident.

The “pure” aspect of this law means that an accident victim can recover damages, regardless of the victim’s own degree of fault. For example, if the driver was 90 percent responsible for the accident, he or she could still pursue a claim against the other party for the remaining 10 percent of the total damages. In many other states, the accident victim is only allowed to recover compensation if he or she is 50 percent or less at fault for the accident or the combined liability of the other parties exceeds the plaintiff’s own degree of negligence.

This system applies in situations in which judges or juries determine the liability of the parties. However, it also applies when a car insurance claims adjuster is evaluating a claim. He or she may make a decision about the degree of fault of each party involved and then make a settlement offer based on this decision.

Seek Help from a Qualified California Car Accident Lawyer

If you were involved in a California car accident, it is important that you contact a qualified California car accident lawyer who can help you with your claim. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you maximize the amount of compensation that you are able to recover.

Personal injury lawyers handle a variety of responsibilities during this process, including advising you of your legal rights, handling communications with the insurance company, preparing a demand letter, and negotiating with the insurance company. They may also collect pertinent evidence in your case to conduct an investigation into its cause and to identify the parties responsible for your damages.

Most car accident lawyers in California charge on a contingency fee basis, meaning that their payment is conditioned on you receiving an insurance settlement or court verdict.

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Florida Car Accident Law

Florida motorists should be aware of the laws that pertain to car accidents. Millions of motorists are on Florida roadways every day and accidents occur each day, so it is important to understand what to do after an auto accident and the laws that may impact a claim.

Minimum Insurance Requirements

Florida law requires all motorists in the state to carry the following minimum insurance requirements:

  • Bodily injury coverage – $10,000 per individual and $20,000 per accident
  • Property damage coverage – $10,000 per accident
  • Personal injury protection – $10,000
  • Uninsured motorist coverage – $10,000 per individual and $20,000 per accident

Florida’s financial responsibility law may impose higher requirements on certain types of drivers, based on their driving history. If a driver has been at fault in past accidents resulting in the injury of others, convicted of DUI, had their license revoked because of serious or repeated offenses or received excessive points against their license may be required to carry full liability insurance.

Teen Driving Laws in Florida

Florida uses a graduated licensing system, meaning that before a teen receives full driving privileges, he or she is permitted to gain driving experience until graduating to complete driving privileges. A teen may apply for a learner’s permit when he or she reaches the age of 15. Within the first 90 days of having the permit, the teen can only drive until 10 p.m. during daylight hours and a licensed driver over the age of 21 must accompany the teen driver. After the teen has held the learner’s permit for one year and completed 50 hours of certified practice, he or she can apply for a driver’s license. When the teen reaches the age of 16, he or she can drive between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. When he or she reaches the age of 17, he or she can drive between the hours of 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. Most restrictions are removed when the driver reaches the age of 18.

The Requirement to Report an Auto Accident

In Florida, motorists are required to report any accident that they are involved in if the accident resulted in death, injury, or apparent property damage of $500 or more. Motorists must report the accident to the local police department if it occurred within a municipality or the sheriff’s office or station of the Florida Highway Patrol if it did not.

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Car accident laws

What to do After a Car Accident in Florida

There are several steps that Florida motorists should take after a car accident. The first is to check if anyone has been injured. Motorists must stop at the scene of the accident and render aid if someone is injured. The motorists should also move their vehicles to a safe place to avoid further accidents and to avoid blocking traffic.

After reporting the accident, the motorists should share their contact, vehicle, license and insurance information with each other. If there are any witnesses, they should get their contact information as well. Motorists may wish to take pictures of the accident scene, including photos from different angles and of relevant information, such as traffic signs, traffic signals, weather conditions or road conditions. They may also photograph the damage to the vehicles and any debris on the roadway. They may also document their injuries by taking photographs of them when the accident first occurred and then as they progress.

If injured, it is important to seek medical treatment. Victims may request an ambulance and be transported to a nearby emergency room. They may choose to go to their family physician instead. Not all automotive accident injuries are readily apparent. Sometimes, a car accident victim may not realize that he or she has been injured until days or weeks later, but it is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible to connect the accident and your injuries.

You should also get estimates on the costs to repair or replace your vehicle. Supply your lawyer with any reports that the mechanic provides you.

Motorists should report the accident to their own insurance carrier in accordance with Florida’s no fault insurance system.

Florida’s No-Fault Insurance System

Florida is a no-fault insurance state for automotive accident claims. Every motorist must have a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection coverage, but they can have more. This insurance covers their own medical bills and lost wages they suffer in an accident, regardless of who is found at fault for the accident. Each motorist seeks compensation first from their own insurance policies. This is different than it is in most states that use an at-fault system in which the insurance carrier that covered the driver at fault is responsible for paying the damages that the party not at fault sustained, subject to the policy limits.

However, personal injury protection only provides for payment for 80 percent of the medical bills that the insured incurs in an accident and 60 percent of his or her lost wages. The insured will also be required to pay the deductible. Therefore, if a person has $10,000 in the personal injury protection coverage with a $1,000 deductible, is hit by another driver and incurs $2,000 in medical bills and $3,000 in lost income, he or she would only receive a total of $2,400, even though he or she had damages of $5,000. This is because 80 percent of the $2,000 in medical expenses is $1,600 and 60 percent of the lost wages is $1,800, totaling $3,400, of which the motorist is still required to pay the $1,000 deductible. If you did not incur any permanent injuries in the accident and total damages are less than $10,000, this system prevents you from suing the at-fault driver.

Exceptions to No-Fault Insurance Process

There are several exceptions to Florida’s no-fault insurance process. The most significant one is if the accident victim suffers a permanent injury. Florida law defines this as suffering any of the following injuries:

  • Death
  • A significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
  • Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, excluding scarring and disfigurement
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement

If a driver suffers this type of injury, he or she may be able to bring a claim against the at-fault driver for the damages he or she suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Another exception is if the damages exceed the $10,000 threshold. In this type of claim, a motorist can sue the at-fault driver for the expenses that were not covered by his or her personal injury protection coverage.

Additionally, the at-fault party’s car insurance can be pursued for payment for property damage caused by the accident.

Determining Fault in a Florida Accident Case

If the accident is not limited to the personal injury protection coverage, it may be necessary to determine fault. Insurance adjusters, judges, and juries can determine fault based on the evidence regarding the case. These individuals may review evidence such as:

  • The statements of the motorists involved in the accident
  • Witness statements
  • Police reports
  • Photos or video of the accident scene
  • The damage to the vehicles
  • Damage reports to the vehicles
  • Medical records

Most car accidents are the result of negligence, which is driving in a manner that is not as cautious as a reasonably prudent would use. Negligence may be present if it can be shown that the accident was caused by:

  • Distracted driving
  • Intoxicated or drugged driving
  • Speeding
  • Running a stop sign or red light
  • Driving too closely
  • Driving in a careless manner
  • Not following traffic laws

Legal Action Against At-Fault Drivers

Florida’s Bureau of Motorist Compliance can take enforcement action against a party that has caused an accident when the car accident victim has received a court judgment against him or her. If the at-fault driver had personal injury protection and property damage insurance but did not have bodily injury coverage, the bureau will provide the injured party with information about the driver’s insurance coverage after the injured party submits a crash report and a certified copy of the final judgment against the at-fault party. The judgment is enforced for injuries the victim sustained. The bureau can suspend the driver’s license, tags and registration for up to 20 years or until the judgment is satisfied.

If the at-fault party did not have insurance, it will automatically enforce the judgment by suspending the driver’s license, tags and registration for up to 20 years.

Any time that a person is involved in an automotive accident and wants information about the other party’s insurance, they can make a written request for this information to the following address:

Bureau of Motorist Compliance
2900 Apalachee Parkway, Room B260F, MS-87
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0585

They must include a complete copy of the crash report or driver exchange form.

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Car accident laws

Comparative Negligence in Florida

Florida law considers the degree of negligence of all parties involved in car accidents. The state’s comparative negligence system determines the degree of liability of all parties involved, including that of the plaintiff. When the claim is not limited to the personal injury protection coverage, each individual at fault in the accident is liable to the extent of his or her portion of fault. The jury calculates the total dollar amount of the plaintiff’s damages, as well as the percentage of fault that each party is responsible for. The plaintiff’s damages are then reduced by a percentage equal to his or her own degree of fault. For example, if the defendant failed to yield and was found 80 percent at fault for the accident and the plaintiff was slightly speeding and was found at fault for 20 percent of the accident, the plaintiff’s damages would be reduced by 20 percent. Therefore, if the plaintiff sustained damages of $100,000, he would only be able to recover $80,000 since he was responsible for 20 percent of the damages.

This principle applies regardless of how much the plaintiff is at fault. Many other states use a modified comparative negligence system in which the plaintiff can only pursue a case if he or she is 50 percent or less at fault for the accident. However, Florida’s law does not limit the plaintiff in this way.

This principle applies in court. Judges and juries use this rule to apportion fault between the parties and make damages awards. Additionally, Florida insurance adjusters use this system when evaluating the value of a claim.

Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Florida

Every state has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. The statute of limitations is the law that establishes a time limit on a person’s right to bring a particular cause of action. There are different statutes of limitations for crimes, car accident claims, different types of personal injury cases and other legal actions against other individuals or businesses.

In Florida, the statute of limitations is four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in the case. If this deadline passes and you try to file your auto accident lawsuit, the court will likely dismiss the case unless a rare exception applies to the case.

While this timeline may seem long, it is important not to delay in protecting your legal rights. Your lawyer will need time to try to resolve the case first through an insurance claim and settlement with the insurance company. Additionally, the longer you wait to take legal action, the more difficult it will be to connect your damages to the accident and the more likely it will be for the insurance company to deny the claim.

How a Florida Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

Florida’s no fault insurance laws make car accident claims in Florida complicated because an outside insurance company is not expected to cover damages except in limited situations. A Florida car accident lawyer is familiar with the state’s insurance system and knows when a claim is outside the limitations of the personal injury protection laws. He or she can use this knowledge to assert a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company when an exception applies.

He or she can conduct a thorough investigation to determine the full extent of damages that you sustained. He or she can also review your claim to determine if you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. This investigation can also determine if there may be other parties who may share in liability, such as an employer if the at-fault driver was working at the time of the accident. He or she can handle all communications with all insurance companies involved and protect your legal interests.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you were injured in an automotive accident in Florida, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. He or she can review your case during a consultation in which you can learn about your rights and the potential value of your claim.

Most personal injury lawyers work car accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that their payment is contingent or conditioned upon you receiving compensation through an insurance settlement or court verdict. If you do not win your claim, you usually do not have to pay for attorney’s fees. However, there may be a difference between legal fees and legal costs. Legal costs consist of expert witness fees, filing costs, telephone costs, and mailing costs that are out-of-pocket litigation expenses. Talk with your lawyer about how these costs are covered.

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Texas Car Accident Law

Every day, motor vehicle accidents occur in Texas. It is important to know what to do after a car accident and the laws that may impact your car accident claim.

Auto Insurance Minimum Limits in Texas

In Texas, every vehicle owner is required to carry a minimum amount of liability auto insurance in case they cause an accident. The minimum requirements include:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury liability per individual
  • $60,000 for bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage liability

Individuals who do not carry the minimum amount of car insurance can be ticketed up to $350 or more if they have been ticketed for no insurance previously.

Additional Insurance

There is nothing to prevent residents of Texas to carry additional car insurance. Some additional types of insurance that a person may carry include:

  • Uninsured motorist coverage – If you are hit by a driver who does not have insurance or you are the victim of a hit and run, uninsured motorist coverage can cover your damages.
  • Underinsured motorist coverage – If another person is responsible for the accident and his or her insurance limits only cover a portion of the damages you sustained, underinsured motorist coverage can help cover the overages, up to the policy limits.
  • Comprehensive coverage – Comprehensive coverage pays for your vehicle coverage if it is damaged in ways other than a collision, such as due to theft, vandalism or storm damage.
  • Collision coverage – Collision coverage pays for your property damage that is sustained in a collision, even if you were at fault for the accident.
  • Personal injury protection – This form of insurance covers your own medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault for your accident.

Carrying additional insurance can often help car accident victims because the minimum amounts are often inadequate to compensate them for the full extent of their damages.

The requirement to Report a Car Accident in Texas

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, drivers should call the police to report a car accident in Texas if any of the following apply:

  • Someone is injured or killed in the accident
  • The vehicles cannot be moved
  • One of the drivers is suspected of being intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
  • One of the drivers does not have insurance
  • One of the drivers leaves the scene of the accident

Additionally, Texas law requires motorists to file a Crash Report, Form CR-2 within 10 days of the accident occurring if a police officer did not investigate the accident and the accident resulted in injury, death or property damage of more than $1,000.

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What to Do After a Car Accident in Texas

If you are involved in a car accident in Texas, take the following steps:

  • Move your vehicle – If the vehicles are in a dangerous place that can lead to a subsequent accident, move them out of the way of the flow of traffic. Place cones or flares around the vehicles so others can spot them and avoid them.
  • Check on others – Check to make sure everyone is safe and if there are any injuries. If there are injuries, render aid and call for an ambulance.
  • Report the accident – If you suspect anyone was injured in the accident, someone died or there is any property damage, contact a local law enforcement officer.
  • Exchange information – Exchange your name, contact information, driver’s license number, auto insurance information and vehicle information with the other driver.
  • Get witness information – If anyone witnessed the accident, get their name and contact information.
  • Leave your information – If you collided with a parked vehicle, try to find the driver. If this is not possible, write your name and contact information and leave it in a visible spot by the impacted vehicle. You must also write the vehicle owner’s information down if you were driving someone else’s vehicle.
  • Write down your account – After the accident, write down your account of what happened as soon as possible. Write down where the accident occurred, what time it was, weather conditions, road conditions and anything else that may have impacted the claim.
  • Photograph the scene – Take pictures with your cell phone of the accident scene, including damage to the vehicles, any other property damage, relevant signs that may have played a part in the accident and any debris or marks on the roadway. Take pictures from different angels.
  • Seek prompt medical attention – See a qualified medical professional for treatment of any car accident injuries. This can help you protect your health, as well as establish the connection between the accident and your injuries.
  • Do not admit fault – Even if you think you may have contributed to the accident, you may not be aware of all of the factors that may be involved, such as a defective auto part or if the other driver was texting at the time of the accident. Avoid saying “I’m sorry” or acknowledging fault in any way for the accident.
  • Be wary of the insurance company – While some insurance adjusters may act like your friend and like they are concerned about you, their job is to minimize the payout of insurance claims. They will look for any legitimate way to do this. They may ask you to sign documents to release your claims or they may ask for a recorded statement. Avoid taking any of these actions before you have spoken to a personal injury lawyer.
  • Contact a personal injury lawyer – If you were injured in a car accident, it is important that you contact a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights. An experienced lawyer can conduct an investigation and preserve evidence to bolster your claim.

Most car insurers also require that motorists report all accidents to them, regardless of who is at fault. Not complying with this requirement can potentially negatively affect your claim.

Because the immediate actions after a car accident can have a significant impact on your claim, it is important that you keep a level head during this process and seek legal assistance for help with your claim.

Texas’ Fault Car Insurance System

Texas is a fault car insurance state, meaning that injured victims can file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Every driver can potentially be held liable for any damages they cause. While liability insurance covers these damages, any excess amount may be recovered by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Because Texas is a fault car insurance system, the first step in a car accident claim is to determine who was at fault for the accident. The insurance companies may conduct an investigation to determine who was at fault for the accident. They may review evidence such as:

  • Car accident or police report
  • Photographs of the damage of the vehicle
  • Vehicle inspection reports
  • Photographs of the accident scene
  • Photographs of injuries
  • Medical records
  • Statements from witnesses
  • Reports from accident reconstruction experts

Once the insurance companies review the necessary information, they make a decision regarding fault. If a fair settlement is not offered or fault is denied, the victim may decide to file a lawsuit against the defendant. If the case proceeds to trial, the judge or jury reviews the evidence presented. The jury considers this evidence as well as traffic laws to determine fault. It then calculates the victim’s damages.

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Texas’ Modified Comparative Negligence Rule in Car Accident Cases

If more than one person was at fault for the accident, Texas’ modified comparative negligence rule is applied. This rule assigns a portion of fault to each at-fault party, possibly including the victim. Each person is responsible for the percentage of damages that corresponds to the percentage of fault. For example, if Driver 1 was distracted and was responsible for 70% of the damages and Driver 2 was speeding 5 mph over the speed limit and was responsible for 30% of the damages, Driver 1 would be responsible for 70% of the damages and Driver 2 would be responsible for 70% of the damages. The same result would occur if Driver 2 was the victim who filed the lawsuit. In this situation, the victim’s damages would be reduced by his or her own degree of fault, or 30% in this example. So, if he or she suffered $100,000 worth of damages, his or her recovery would be reduced by 30%.

The “modified” portion of this rule comes into play if the victim is more than 50% at fault. In this situation, the victim is barred from recovery. So, even though the other party may have been 49% at fault for the accident, he or she would not be legally responsible for this damage. This rule is applied if your case goes to trial, but it is also applied when the insurance adjuster is reviewing your claim for possible compensation.

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Damages in a Texas Car Accident Case

Texas law recognizes the right of accident victims to receive full compensation for the damages that they sustain in accidents caused by another person’s negligence. Car accident victims may be able to receive compensation for the following damages:

  • Costs of reasonable and necessary medical expenses
  • Costs to repair or replace your vehicle
  • Loss of past and future wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering

The value of these damages varies in each case. If the accident resulted in death, the victim’s family may be able to recover other damages, such as the loss of financial support due to the death, medical expenses and pain and suffering incurred before death, burial expenses and funeral expenses.

Determining the Value of Your Claim

The potential value of your car accident claim is based on a number of factors, including:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The costs associated with the damages described above
  • The defendant’s degree of fault
  • Your own degree of fault
  • The amount and strength of your evidence
  • The types of insurance coverage you have
  • Whom you select as your personal injury lawyer

Many personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation in which they can assess the viability of your claim and its potential value. They can tell you what the possible value of your claim is.

Car Insurance Claim Process in Texas

The car insurance claims process in Texas may work differently for each insurance provider. However, the general process includes the following steps:

1. A report of the accident is made to the at-fault party’s car insurance claim.
2. Your personal injury lawyer gathers and analyzes evidence.
3. Your personal injury lawyer prepares a settlement demand package that explains why the other driver was at fault and demands payment of a certain amount to compensate you for your damages.

At this point, the insurance company may do one of the following options:

  • The insurance company admits fault and agrees to the demand amount or makes a counteroffer for a lower settlement amount. The personal injury lawyer accepts this offer on your behalf or makes a counteroffer that the insurance company accepts.
  • The insurance company may admit fault but may make a settlement offer that is too low and that your personal injury lawyer rejects on your behalf.
  • The insurance company denies fault and does not make a settlement offer.

If you accept the settlement offer, you will be required to sign a release that states that you will not file any more claims against the defendant or insurance company based on the same accident. If you were unable to reach an agreement, you may choose to file a lawsuit against the defendant. Even after a lawsuit is filed, you and the insurance company can negotiate a settlement.

Texas Time Limits to File a Claim

Texas has a statute of limitations that imposes a time limit for you to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. In Texas, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. The statute of limitations in Texas for wrongful death cases is also two years. Therefore, if you are filling a claim based on the loss of your loved one, you will have two years from the date of his or her death to file your claim.

There may be other timelines that apply to the case, such as a time limit that the insurance policy requires you to file the claim by. Once the insurance company has the necessary documentation and information to make a determination regarding coverage, it has 15 days to decide to approve or deny the claim. If the insurance company denies the claim, it must set out the reasons why it has denied your claim. If it approves your claim, it must pay out on the claim within five business days.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

Many people are confused during the aftermath of an accident. They may be confused about what steps to take and what their legal options are. They may make the mistake of trusting an insurance adjuster that is protecting the interests of the defendant. After a car accident, it is important to seek qualified legal representation from an experienced personal injury lawyer.

A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can conduct an investigation into the accident. Some lawyers keep private investigators on staff or hire accident reconstruction experts to further bolster their case. A personal injury lawyer can also review the evidence that stems from the accident to establish how the accident occurred and why the defendant is liable for the resulting damages. A personal injury lawyer can handle all communications with the insurance company while you recover and devise solid arguments regarding the other driver’s negligence

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Nevada Car Accident Laws

If you were injured in a car accident in Nevada, you should become familiar with various laws that may affect your claim. The following are important laws and tips to help you understand the process of filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the negligent driver who caused your accident.

Car Insurance Requirements

Nevada requires car owners to carry liability auto insurance that meets the following minimum criteria:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one individual in an accident caused by the owner or driver of the insured vehicle
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury or death in an accident caused by the owner or driver of the insured vehicle
  • $20,000 for property damage per accident caused by the owner or driver of the insured vehicle

Liability coverage provides for medical bills, property damage and other damages that other drivers, passengers or pedestrians suffer because of the acts of the insured, up to coverage limits. Liability coverage only applies to other people and does not pay for the insured’s own damages. Additionally, once the policy limit is exhausted, the accident victim can still sue the at-fault driver for any remaining damages. Car owners can purchase additional insurance to increase the coverage amounts. Additionally, they can purchase insurance that overs their own damages, such as collision coverage, which pays for repairs to or the replacement cost of the insured’s damaged vehicle. They can also purchase uninsured motorist coverage to pay for their damages if the at-fault party did not have insurance or sufficient insurance.

Driving without insurance in Nevada is considered a crime. Letting an insurance policy lapse can result in a minimum reinstatement fee of $251 and a suspension of the driver’s registration. Nevada uses a tiered system to assess fees and fines for driving without insurance that factors in the length of the current lapse of insurance coverage and the number of prior lapses.

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What to Do After a Car Accident in Nevada

Motorists who are involved in a car accident must follow certain actions. They are required to stop at the scene of an accident. If the accident resulted in property damage of at least $750, injury or death, they must report it to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days.

They should try to render aid to anyone who is injured at the scene of an accident, such as asking for an ambulance for a passenger injured in the accident. The motorists should also move their vehicle out of traffic if it is safe for them to do so. If the accident was to a parked car, the motorist must locate the owner or leave his or her contact information in an obvious area for the person to see.

If the accident caused an injury, the victim should seek medical attention. When visiting with the provider, the victim should note that the accident occurred so the injury and accident are linked together.

At the scene of the accident, the motorists should exchange information with each other, including their names, addresses, phone numbers, vehicle type, license plate and make and model of vehicle. They should also exchange insurance information with each other and write down the driver’s license number of the other driver involved.

If anyone else saw the accident, their information should also be collected.

If it is safe to do so, the drivers should take pictures at the accident scene. These pictures should include:

  • The damage to the vehicles, including any broken debris on the roadway
  • The accident scene from different angles
  • Any nearby traffic signs or signals that may have applied to the case
  • Any injuries

At the scene of the accident, it is important that the motorist does not admit any fault, even if they think they were at fault. The motorist may not know how the accident actually occurred or whether there were unseen forces at work, such as a defective product. The other driver may be partially at fault. Apologizing at the scene can be misconstrued as a statement of guilt. Additionally, the motorist should not state that he or she was not injured. The motorist may not know that he or she was injured because the adrenaline may cloud symptoms of the injury. Other injuries, like soft tissue injuries may take days to develop. Saying that the motorist is not injured could provide justification for the insurance company to deny a claim that arises later.

The motorist should also write down his or her recount of the accident. He or she should list the following information:

  • The time of the accident
  • The date of the accident
  • The cross streets
  • The direction each vehicle was traveling
  • Any adverse weather or road conditions

Most insurance carriers require their insured to report the accident to them.

Nevada’s Fault System

Nevada follows a tradition fault system for motor vehicle accidents. The person found to be at fault for causing the accident is responsible for damages that stem from the accident, including medical expenses, lost income, property damage and pain and suffering. A person who suffers damage due to an auto accident caused by another person in Nevada usually has three options:

1. File a claim with his or her own insurance policy for covered accidents.
2. File a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
3. File a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault driver.

If the driver files under his or her own policy, this insurance company will likely pursue a separate claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.

Filing a Car Accident Claim

When the driver files a car accident claim, he or she should provide all of the objective, factual information about the accident while this information is clear in his or her mind. If the insurance company is the driver’s own, he or she should have his or her insurance card and declarations page available during the call.

The insurance company will investigate the circumstances surrounding the collision and review information that the motorist submits, such as pictures of the accident scene and the accident report. The insurance adjusters assigned to the case will talk to all parties involved to determine fault and the degree of fault of different motorists, if applicable. They will assess damages, such as the amount to repair the vehicle and medical expenses. They will use their findings to structure a settlement.

The insurance company may ask the motorist to submit certain forms and give a deadline by which they need to be submitted. The motorist should keep detailed records of all conversations he or she has with the insurance company, other parties, doctors, repair shops and any others.

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Negligence

If the case proceeds to civil court, the plaintiff will need to establish that the other driver was negligent. This means that the other driver had a duty to drive in a safe manner and failed to do, which resulted in the accident victim’s injuries. The injured party must have suffered some harm, such as property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, or pain and suffering for which he or she is seeking compensation. The crux of this type of case usually depends on showing how the other driver did not drive in a safe manner and providing proof of this.

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Common Causes of Car Accidents

Accidents are often caused by driving errors or the actions of one or more motorists. Some of the most common causes of car accidents include:

  • Distracted driving – Distracted driving involves any manual, visual or cognitive distraction. A manual distraction is one in which a driver takes his or her hands off the wheel, such as adjusting the radio, eating or drinking. A visual distraction involves looking at something inside or outside the vehicle, such as looking at a crying baby or loud passenger. A cognitive distraction is one that takes a driver’s attention off of the roadway, such as being caught up in lively discussion or daydreaming. Texting while driving is considered the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it involves all three types of distractions.
  • Drunk driving – Even one glass of alcohol can affect a person’s driving ability. Alcohol clouds judgment, reduces reaction time, increases drowsiness and lowers people’s inhibitions.
  • Impaired driving – Illegal drugs, prescribed medication and over-the-counter drugs may affect a person’s ability to drive safely. Accidents can occur when impaired drivers get behind the wheel.
  • Speeding – Many drivers choose to ignore posted speed limits, or they drive too quickly for the road conditions. Accidents that involve speeding often result in more serious injuries because of the force of impact upon collision.
  • Running red lights or stop signs – Some of the most dangerous accident scenes are at intersections where drivers have disregarded stop signs or drove through red lights. These accidents often cause side-impact collisions at high speeds.
  • Tailgating – The more space that there is between vehicles, the more time the driver will be able to stop suddenly if necessary. When motorists tailgate, they may wind up rear-ending the vehicle in front of them.
  • Unsafe lane changes – Many accidents occur as motorists switch lanes. They may be unnecessarily moving between lanes quickly without signaling and may cause an accident. Other such accidents occur when drivers fail to signal or check their blind spots before switching lanes.
  • Wrong-way driving – Nevada drivers unfamiliar with some of the state’s one-way roads may inadvertently travel the wrong direction down the roadway.
  • Reckless driving – Reckless driving involves speeding, changing lanes too quickly, tailgating other motorists or taking other careless action that can result in an increased likelihood of an accident.
  • Weather – Many car accidents occur in less than ideal weather. Rain can make the roads slick and dangerous. Ice can make the road slippery, causing vehicles to run into ditches or each other. Fog can negatively affect a motorist’s ability to see. Many motorists drive too quickly for the road conditions and may cause accidents.
  • Fatigued driving – Driving in the night, driving long distances or driving after taking certain kinds of medications can make drivers drowsy or fall asleep at the wheel.
  • Inexperience – Teenage drivers and other inexperienced drivers may lack the skills necessary to drive carefully or they may disregard safety procedures.
  • Product defects – Thousands of parts – large and small – make up an average vehicle. If a part is defective, it may not operate correctly and may cause an accident, such as accelerators that suddenly accelerate, electrical problems, tire blowouts or computer issues.
  • Road rage – Traffic can cause many people to get irate behind the wheel. Some drivers are overcome by rage and begin driving aggressively by speeding, pulling out in front of other drivers, suddenly braking and tailgating drivers. These actions can cause accidents.

 

Wrongful Death Claims

If a person dies as a result of a car accident in Nevada, the surviving family may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault motorist. However, only certain people are entitled to file this type of claim in Nevada, including the surviving spouse or domestic partner, the children of the victim, the parents of the victim, if there is no surviving spouse or child or the personal representative of the estate. Other individuals may be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim if they can show they were financially dependent on the victim when he or she died.

Damages that may be compensated in a wrongful death claim include the following:

  • Medical expenses stemming from the victim’s final injury or illness
  • Reasonable burial and funeral costs
  • Property damage caused by the accident
  • Loss of care, affection, and companionship of the decedent
  • Lost benefits and wages the decedent may have earned if he or she had lived
  • Loss of benefits to heirs

 

Comparative Fault

Nevada uses modified comparative fault when liability for an accident is split between two or more parties. This rule may reduce or eliminate the amount of compensation an injured victim can receive. If the accident victim is less than 50 percent at fault for an accident, he or she can still receive compensation for the accident, but his or her compensation will be reduced by his or her own portion of fault. For example, if he or she sustained $100,000 and was 30 percent at fault, he or she would only be able to recover $70,000 from the defendant. If the plaintiff is 50 percent or more at fault, he or she cannot file a personal injury claim.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the time limit that a person has to file a lawsuit. If this time limit lapses and the case is later filed, the court can dismiss it for falling outside the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for a personal injury or wrongful death claim in Nevada is two years from the accident.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were injured in a car accident in Nevada and would like to learn more about your legal options for filing a claim, you may wish to contact a personal injury lawyer in your area. A personal injury lawyer can help identify the parties who may be legally responsible for your injuries. He or she can also handle communications with the insurance company and negotiate a fair settlement for your claim and prevent you from saying that may negatively affect your claim.

When selecting a personal injury lawyer, it is important to select a lawyer who is experienced in personal injury and car accident claims.

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Georgia Car Accident Law

Car accidents in Georgia are often complex matters that require legal support to get through even if the victim is only partially at fault for the collision. The two parties must understand comparative fault, how to process a settlement and what to do after the wreck occurs to ensure that all necessary procedure occurs within the confines of the law.

Car Accident Laws in Georgia

Car accident laws in the state of Georgia exist to provide an understanding of the various aspects of these incidents to include how to proceed through the collision, when and how to contact insurance companies, and when and what to report about the accident. The person that suffers injury often has the ability to either acquire a settlement for compensation by damages that accrue from the collision or must go through litigation to force a person or company to pay for these damages. The laws in this state also explain who is at fault based on liability and comparative fault through a detailed number which the court can use to calculate compensation amounts within the range awarded.

Georgia Insurance Requirements

Per Georgia law, all drivers have standard minimum requirements for auto insurance coverage within the individual policy. To legally drive in the state, the adult driver must carry bodily injury liability of $25,000 per person and $50,000 for each accident. Property damage liability of $25,000 is necessary for each collision. Uninsured motorist bodily injury of $25,000 for each person and $50,000 for each incident along with and property damage of this type of $25,000 as well as deductibles of $250, $500, or $1000 based on the coverage policy. This is necessary for all drivers, but teen drivers must also adhere to additional policies.

A fifteen-year-old teen can acquire an instructional permit after passing a written test. He or she must have a licensed driver no younger than 21 in the car. After one year and one day, this teen can pass a driving test and receive an intermediate driver’s license between ages sixteen and eighteen. Supervised driving is still necessary but it tapers off after increments of months and as the teen ages. At seventeen, this person is exempt from the driver educational requirement but must still drive with supervision. At eighteen, the teen can apply for a Class C driver’s license but keeping a permit or license with unexcused absences in the school of ten or more is not possible.

The Requirement to Report Accidents in Georgia

In most situations, the person in a car accident will contact the police and also exchange information with the other driver at some point. Then, the individual will follow Georgia law and report the accident with certain information. This requires proof of insurance, following through with a police report, and following all necessary steps. The steps usually start with police contact and remaining at the scene. Both drivers should stay but often must move the vehicles out of traffic if they are still there. If that is not possible, contacting a tow truck or emergency services is the next step.

The officer will immediately respond when communication comes through about an accident. This professional will complete a crash report, record property damage of $500 or more, and detail injuries or deaths of any drivers or passengers. He or she may question both drivers and even passengers for additional information. Then, a copy of the report is available at the local police station. A personal report about the accident is not useable in the courts in the state. However, it can help understand what happened and explain to an insurance adjuster the specific details.

What to Do After an Accident in Georgia

After suffering the collision in Georgia, the victim should follow certain steps to report the accident and ensure everyone is alright. When the car stops moving from the impact, the driver or anyone that is conscious should check for injuries and contact emergency medical help if there is any possibility of bodily harm. If there are no injuries, it is important to take pictures of everything at the scene to include the other vehicle in the collision. Staying at the scene and reporting the matter is essential and will lead to a police report in most circumstances.

If the police require additional information from witnesses, the officer will usually have them stay as well. The victim can collect their details and the contact information of the other driver when exchanging insurance data. Contacting the insurance company is often one of the last steps. This happens last because everything else is already taken care of, and the victim will have the contact information of the other driver to report. It is important to only give general details of the incident until a lawyer is available to explain anything else or to provide the client with what to say to the carrier.

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How an Insurance Claim is Processed in Georgia

Georgia is a state that assigns fault in car accidents. This is counter to no-fault states because drivers must have insurance that will apply to the accidents and protect the victim with coverage from the at-fault driver. Filing a claim is the first step when contacting the insurance carrier. The adjuster will investigate the accident and determine how much each person should pay from each insurance policy. The adjuster usually collects enough information to apply the collision details to a settlement offer. Then, the victim can either accept the offer or reject it stating that it is not enough. The rejection usually occurs with the help of a lawyer so that the injured party understands how much the compensation should provide.

In many circumstances, the two drivers will contact and process the entire event through the insurance companies attached for coverage. However, some accidents require a third-party claim against the carrier. These usually start because of negligence from the other driver. Using the personal injuries as the subject of the claim, the plaintiff will need the services of a lawyer to initiate the matter in the state. Even with a third-party claim, the insurance company may still attempt a settlement offer. The individual can either take the claim or pursue the matter in court based on the advice and help of the lawyer hired for the legal concern. The claim in the courtroom will rely on liability, comparative fault, and evidence to build the case. The lawyer will present different aspects and arguments for each condition and how the plaintiff requires a certain range of compensation because of the damages incurred by the other driver.

Proving Georgia Liability

To prove that the other party is liable for damages and at fault in the accident, it requires at least one of four issues within the incident. The person needs to prove negligence, recklessness, intentional misconduct, or strict liability. If the other party does not appear at fault, using one of these four concepts, the plaintiff can raise the level of fault in the claim to the point that he or she can sue the other party. Unless the other driver intentionally caused the collision, he or she is usually negligent in some manner. The person failed to do something such as pay attention to signs or was irresponsible when on the road. Proving negligence can involve a breach of duty that caused unsafe driving, a lack of avoiding dangerous situations, or direct violations of road rules and laws that places others in jeopardy.

Proving recklessness is either difficult or easy depending on the situation. If the other driver is under the influence of alcohol, is engaging in drag racing, or is over fifteen miles above the speed limit, this is usually obvious. Disobeying rules such as running stop signs or lights or cutting into and out of traffic can also demonstrate reckless behavior. Intentional misconduct is when the other driver is purposefully malicious or has every intention of causing harm. This is similar to recklessness and can have the same actions but with a different intent. These drivers are almost always responsible and held liable. Strict liability is different because it happens through defective products and a company rather than the other driver. The manufacturer of the item on the car is the reason for the wreck and can provide the plaintiff with a valid lawsuit against the entity.

Comparative Fault and How it Works in Georgia

The aspect of comparative fault connects both parties in the accident as partially at fault for the damage. In Georgia, the victim can recover compensation when the other party is more at fault in the collision than he or she is. Damages are less than the maximum awarded if held partially responsible because both parties are held liable. Both litigation and insurance settlements use this concept to apply modified awards after the damages run through calculations for the range of possible compensation. It is up to the victim to convince a judge, jury, or insurance adjustor who holds what percentage of fault in the accident.

The adjuster or court will look at the evidence available. For someone speeding and not able to stop in time, he or she could retain 80 percent fault. With the other twenty held to the plaintiff, he or she will acquire less compensation. Running through this calculation, a $50,000 award reduces by twenty percent and the court or adjustor will take off $10,000. The plaintiff will receive a $40,000 total of this award when the claim is successful. However, if the victim shares more than 50 percent fault with the other party, he or she will receive nothing in this state.

Georgia Damages

A decision by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2010 removed the limits on the car accident damages for a plaintiff. Because of this, there are near limitless compensation awards possible when recovering damages through a personal injury or property damage claim in a collision in this state. The different damages include medical bills, repair or replacement of the car, rental car costs, lost income from a job, loss of affection or companionship given by a loved one, pain and suffering, and wrongful death. The one type of damage that does have a maximum cap is punitive damages awarded by a judge. This is to punish the other party for egregious behavior or conduct and is set at a limit of $250,000. These are usually possible for severe injury, permanent disability, and sometimes the death of the driver or passenger.

Medical bills can cover many different items the person needs. These can include therapy, ambulance costs, consultations with a medical professional, accessory purchase such as heating blanket crutches, recovery for disfigurement, and in-home expenses. Lost income damages involve the loss of wages through a lack of work when the victim is still in the recovery process or receiving treatment. Injuries can affect a spouse or romantic partner because of a lack of affection during recovery because of what the injuries do to the person. This can include sexual activity, visible affection, and companionship given to the partner. These are damages for the uninjured spouse.

Pain and suffering cover the injury, the severity of bodily harm, and the recovery process. Treatment given can also inflict pain. This damage covers the time of injury, the period of and recovery and the future pain and suffering injuries can cause. Different aspects of harm can also require compensation for trauma, distress, emotional and psychological damage, and therapy to recover. These issues are often long-term with a modifier to help acquire the full scope of damages through compensation awards with a successful claim.

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Georgia Car Accident Statute of Limitations

The set time limit for the victim to start a lawsuit for personal injury claims in the state of Georgia is within two years. The deadline available depends on the type of case and the diagnosis of the damage. For a person that suffers an injury that is known and recognizable to a doctor, he or she will have up to two years from the point of injury to file a claim in this state after a car accident. While a claim is not necessarily the path this person will take, he or she could contact and notify the insurance company of the harm that requires settlement. Generally, this is far less and should occur within a matter of only a few days or weeks at the most if recovery time takes longer.

This statute of limitations of two years does not apply to insurance claims with the carrier. It is to file a lawsuit against the other driver that caused the property damage and physical injury. The date starts at the point of the accident. There are certain special conditions that may change this date, but they are all subject to the overseeing judge of the case. The same timeframe holds for wrongful death suits that the person needs to file for someone that died in the crash unless he or she dies later. Property damage may extend the time to up to four years to start the case.

Contact a Georgia Lawyer

When a driver or passenger suffers injury caused by the other driver or special circumstances, it is vital to contact a Georgia lawyer to initiate the lawsuit in a timely manner. A legal professional can help prove liability, explain and use comparative fault and assist with the investigation. He or she can also communicate with the insurance company and the settlement offer.

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Illinois Car Accident Law

Due to the high number of automotive accidents in Illinois, it is important to understand the various laws that may apply if this event occurs. Knowing the laws in place can make a significant impact in a case and can assist victims to protect their legal rights. Use this car accident laws in Illinois information to understand your legal rights and strengthen your claim.

Insurance Requirements

Illinois is an at-fault state, meaning that the insurance company that insures the person who caused the accident is responsible for paying for the damages it’s insured caused, up to certain policy limits. Every driver in Illinois is required by law to have the following minimum insurance limits:

  • $20,000 property damages
  • $25,000/$50,000 bodily injury coverage

These are only the state’s minimum liability coverage. Liability coverage pays for claims by another person if the insured causes an accident. Insurance is a contract between the insured and the insurance company in which the insured pays premiums in exchange for the insurance company covering damages that the insured may cause. Additionally, if the victim sues the insured, the insurance company will pay for a lawyer if the claim results in litigation.

Insured drivers can purchase additional coverage known as first-party coverage. In Illinois, this additional insurance consists of the following:

  • Medical payments – This additional insurance pays for an insured’s medical expenses arising out of an accident involving a covered vehicle. It may cover the driver and other occupants in the vehicle.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist – This type of insurance covers the property damage and medical expenses the driver sustains when the at-fault party did not have insurance or had inadequate insurance.
  • Comprehensive – This type of insurance covers property damage to an insured’s covered vehicle arising out of incidences other than motor vehicle accidents such as fire or theft.
  • Collision – This type of insurance covers property damage to an insured’s vehicle that is caused by an accident.

Typically, if a vehicle is financed, the finance company requires additional insurance over the state minimum requirements.

Potential Defendants

In Illinois, there are a number of individuals who may be held legally responsible for a car accident. It is important to understand who may share responsibility for the accident in case an insurance company denies coverage or the defendant did not have insurance. Some potential defendants other than the at-fault party include:

Agent

If the driver was performing an errand or task for another person when he or she caused the accident, the person who sent the driver on this errand can be held liable for the driver’s negligence in some instances. Similarly, under an agency theory, the negligence of a minor driver can be imputed to his or her parent when the child is performing a task at the parent’s request.

Employer

If the at-fault driver was working at the time of the incident and was performing his or her work duties, the employer may be held liable for the accident. This rule does not pertain to independent contractors. However, whether a person is an employee or independent contractor may be a question of fact for a judge or jury to consider.

Negligent Entrustment

If a person lends his or her vehicle to another person and has reason to know that person will use it in a way that involves an unreasonable risk of harm to others, the legal theory of negligent entrustment may apply. This translates to mean that if a person lets a friend borrow a vehicle knowing that he or she is unlicensed, is known for drinking or driving, or is an inexperienced driver, the car owner may be held responsible for the damages that result.

Filing an Insurance Claim

The driver who was injured by the at-fault driver files an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. During the aftermath of an accident, the parties report the accident. Illinois law requires the drivers involved in an accident to stop. A law enforcement officer may come to the scene of the accident and gather basic information about the parties, including their names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information, and may share this information with the other party. The law enforcement officer may also write down information about the accident, the extent of the damages, weather conditions, and his or her impressions about what caused the accident.

Investigating the Claim

Once a third-party claim has been filed, the at-fault driver’s insurance company investigates the claim. The insurance company may review information about the area surrounding the accident, traffic signs or controls in the immediate vicinity of the accident, road conditions, location of impact on each vehicle, witness statements, driver statements, lighting conditions, any reports regarding alcohol or drugs, any concern mentioned in a police report regarding distracted driving, medical reports, any tickets, and other factors.

First Party Claims

If the victim seeks compensation against his or her own insurance policy, such as under the collision portion of his or her coverage, the first party insurance company may then pursue the at-fault party’s insurance company for reimbursement of these expenses, including any deductible that the driver had to pay.

Denying Third Party Claims

After the insurance company investigates the claim, it may deny it. The insurance company’s representatives will try to minimize the losses the insurance company sustains and will deny coverage whenever possible. There may be a variety of reasons why an insurance claim is denied, such as the insured is determined not to have been at fault or the insurance company believes the victim is seeking recovery for damages that were not sustained in the accident. If the insurance company denies the claim, the victim’s only recourse is to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The insurance company must then provide legal representation to the insured under the terms of the insurance contract.

Insurance Company and Insured Duties

The insurance company owes its insured a number of duties. The insured also has duties to the insurance company. The insured must notify the insurance company of any accidents that could result in a claim. The insured must also cooperate with the insurance company in its investigation. The insured must report the accident within a reasonable time. Failing to give reasonable notice as required by the insurance contract can make it so that the insured loses its right to recover under the policy. Therefore, an insured driver should notify his or her insurance company even if he or she believes the accident was caused by the other party. Likewise, if the insured is served with a summons, he or she should immediately notify the insurance company.

The insured must maintain timely payments for premiums. If he or she fails to pay the premium, the insurance contract may be canceled.

The insurance company has a duty to defend it’s insured even if it has denied the third-party claim. The insured is required to participate in the litigation process as required by the insurance company. If the third party is successful in its lawsuit against the defendant, the insurance company pays out the number of damages up to certain limits.

Health Insurance Principles

Rules regarding health insurance may apply in car accident claims. If a private health insurance company pays for treatment a victim of a car accident received, it will have an interest in recovering for the amount that it paid. The insured usually has a contract in place with the insurance company to reimburse it out of any settlement or jury award of damages for the treatment it covered. The medical provider typically has a medical lien for any unpaid portion of the bill against the victim’s claims for damages. The Healthcare Services Lien Act limits the potential recovery of insurance companies. The total amount of liens cannot be more than 40 percent of the victim’s recovery. Likewise, no single lienholder can receive more than one-third of the victim’s recovery. This law also impacts how much personal injury lawyers can receive for their services. If the total liens are more than 40 percent, the lawyers’ fees cannot be more than 30 percent of the victim’s recovery unless there is an appeal in the case. Medicare and Medicaid also have lienhold interests in victims’ recovery.

Starting a Lawsuit

To start a lawsuit in Illinois, the victim must have a Complaint and Summons prepared. The complaint sets out the legal arguments as to why the defendant should be required to pay damages for the accident. The summons notifies the defendant that a lawsuit is filed and that he or she has a limited right to answer the lawsuit or risk a default judgment. How the defendant must be served depends on the type of claim and the defendant’s residence. If the claim is filed as a small claims case that alleges $10,000 or less in damages, the victim can send it through certified mail with a return receipt, per IL SCR 284. Generally, the defendant is served personally, per 735 ILCS 5/2-203. If the defendant is a corporation, it is served on the registered agent, per 735 ILCS 5/2-204. If the defendant is not a resident of the state of Illinois, it is served on the Illinois Secretary of State with notice to the defendant through registered mail at his or her last known address, per 625 ILCS 5/10-301.

Proving a Claim

To recover for a claim, the victim through his or her legal counsel must be able to prove several elements of the offense. The victim must be able to establish that the accident was caused by the negligence of the other driver. This means that the defendant must have done something unreasonable or failed to act in a reasonable manner when operating the motor vehicle. For example, the at-fault driver may have failed to yield, ran a stoplight, been speeding, was distracted or was drinking and driving. Due to these actions, the defendant caused the accident which resulted in the victim’s damages which stemmed directly from the accident.

Damages

The final element that an insured must establish in a car accident lawsuit in Illinois is damaged. These are various types of damages that a car accident victim may be able to recover, including payment for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Additionally, victims may recover for property damage they sustained, lost earning capacity, car rental expenses, and permanent scarring. The victim must keep records to establish these damages.

Illinois uses modified comparative fault principles if the victim is partially responsible for the car accident. As long as the victim was not 50 percent or more at fault for the accident, he or she can still recover for it, per 735 ILCS 5/2-1116. However, the victim’s own contribution to the accident will reduce the number of damages that he or she receives by his or her proportionate share of the accident. For example, if the victim sustained damages of $100,000 and was 25 percent at fault for the accident, his or her recovery would be reduced by $25,000. These principles apply if a lawsuit is filed, as well as if an insurance company is deciding how much money to offer an insured during settlement negotiations if it did not deny a claim.

Statute of Limitations

Illinois has a strict statute of limitations for car accident claims. This is the time limit by which a victim must file a lawsuit to prevent being barred from bringing forth the claim due to passing a time limit. For personal injury claims, there is a two-year statute of limitations, per 735 ILCS 5/13-205. However, if the defendant is a public entity, the time limit is only one year, per 745 ILCS 10/8-101. If the accident claim only involves property damage, the statute of limitations is five years, per 735 ILCS 5/13-202.

It is critical to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer well before the statute of limitations so that a lawyer can properly investigate and prepare your claim. He or she can advise you of your rights during the legal process.

Car accident laws, Car accident laws, Car accident laws

Car accident Law 8

Car accident laws, Car accident laws, Car accident laws

Car Accident Law Articles

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Car accident laws, Car accident laws, Car accident laws

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