If you have been involved in an auto accident, you may be able to recover some money from your automobile insurance company or other third parties who helped you drive your car. Here’s what you need to know about car accident lawsuits before you file them.
It might be possible to sue your insurance company for violating an implied warranty law that requires an auto insurer to defend its customers where they stand when they get into an accident. If you can show that your auto insurer broke this law, it will likely qualify you as a primary plaintiff and almost certainly force them to pay damages based on a numerical ground-rule formula.
What Is a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Car accident cases are normally brought by the car’s driver and passenger, though often other parties also suffer injuries in a crash. The driver and passenger of a car are called primary defendants, while the other parties are called secondary defendants.
A car accident lawsuit is when one party in an auto accident causes or witnesses an injury that they can prove was the result of another party’s negligence.
The legally enforceable elements of a car accident lawsuit are that the surviving party show by clear and convincing evidence that the surviving party was at the scene of the accident when it happened, that the missing person was the driver of the car at the time of the accident, and that the other party was driving the car at the time of the accident.
To prove a car accident lawsuit, you need to show that the driver of the car that caused the accident drove at a speed that was less than the legal limit, and that the other party in the auto accident was at the wheel at the time of the accident, and that the accident was dangerous.
A primary time-wasting crash is usually the first instance of a motor vehicle collision, so it’s a good idea to start your car accident lawsuit in the first case you file.
Read also: 8 Must-Know Tips for Choosing the Best Car Accident Lawyer
How to Start a Car Accident Lawsuit
If you have a car accident claim, start by bringing a claim to the courts. There are several ways to do this, but the most common way is to file a lawsuit in the state circuit court for the county where your accident happened.
Then, if the court rules in your favour, you can move to judgment in your favour. This is usually done after the admission of facts by way of a trial and is called a bench trial.
If the court gives you an affirmance, you can then file a counterclaim.
Or, what if the court rules in your favour, you can then cross-petition the court to enter a different verdict. You can then appeal the decision to the state supreme court. You can do this if you have a specific issue that the court should have answered, or if the court’s ruling affected your vehicle insurance coverage or financial situation.
Who Can Sue in an Accident Lawsuit?
If you are a driver and/or passenger in a car accident, you can file a claim in court against the driver and/or the other party to the accident.
The rules for who can claim an accident differ from state to state, but most things are the same across the board. The only exceptions are if the driver is a minor or the other party is an adult, in which case it is the other party who can sue.
It is also then up to the court to decide how much money you need to show that you were at the scene of the accident when it happened. If the other party to an auto accident is a third party, that party can also sue in the same way.
What Happens When You File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
If the state in which you file your car accident lawsuit fails to prove all the elements of a car accident lawsuit, you can still try to prove them all to court. There are various ways to do this, but the main ones to keep in mind are that you must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt and that you must prove each of them to the jury in a single sitting trial.
Furthermore, if you fail to show these elements to the grave, nothing can stop you from pursuing other claims, including court actions, and appeals.
The license or insurance of the car’s owner:
The car insurance company must have carefully examined the condition of the car and how it was driven before it issued you a car insurance policy. If their report said that the car was in good order, and they were wrong, you must prove that the report was false.
The car’s make and/or model:
The manufacturer of the car must have carefully examined the car before it was sold and must have proved that the car was in good order at the time of the sale.
The car’s year and make:
The year and make of the car must be shown on the test sheet for the car insurance company to show that the car was in good order at the time of the test drive.
The car’s mileage:
The actual mileage of the car must be shown on the test sheet and must be less than the amount shown on the test sheet for tax purposes.
Starting the Process
Now that you know what is needed to start a car accident lawsuit, it’s time to start the process. Even if you win your claim, it will take a long time for the courts to rule on your claim. That is because the rules for how and when a car accident is proven in a car accident case are different in each state.
The only way to get started is to bring your case to the state court where the accident happened. When you win your case, you can then move to judgment in your favour and get all the money you need to show that the driver who caused the accident was at the wheel at the time of the accident.
If the other party to an auto accident is willing to participate in a car accident lawsuit, they can be a valuable resource. The following are some facts you need to know before you team up with a car accident lawsuit:
You must bring a claim in court:
If you seek to bring a car accident lawsuit, you must bring a claim in court. This is because the only way to prove a car accident claim is by a written statement from the driver.
You can only file a claim in court:
The only way that you can bring a car accident lawsuit is if the other party to an auto accident also brings a claim in court.
Doing so is called joining in the lawsuit. This does not mean that you must show up in court every time the other party is hurt. Instead, you can file a single claim, in a heartbeat. This can be used as a means of showing that you are the real owner of the car and that the other party is in the wrong.
## Jury trial:
Juries are the ultimate arbiter of facts in a car accident lawsuit. You will have to prove every one of the following elements to a jury:
The driver was at the wheel:
This means that you must prove that the other party was driving the car when he was in the right place at the right time. You will have to do this in the course of the trial, not just in a single sitting.
The other party was wearing a seat belt:
This means that you must show that the other party was wearing a seat belt when he was in the right place at the right time. You can do this in a single sitting, or sometimes you can show it two or three times a day.
The other party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol:
This means that you must show that the other party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he was in the right place at the right time. You can do this in a single sitting or two or three times a day.
## Collateral: This means that the other party has a legal claim against you. You can take it up on the court if he/she so desires.
The other parties to an auto accident lawsuit can also bring claims in the same way. They can be:
Parents or other minor children:
A parent or next-of-kin can bring a parental property damage claim if the parent was the driver of the car that caused the accident.
Business owners or managers:
A business owner can bring a financial products liability claim if the manager or other key personnel were at the wheel when they were at fault for the accident.
runner-up: If the other party to an auto accident is also a primary or secondary driver, you can still bring a car accident lawsuit, but only if he/she also runs a victorious counterclaim.
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