If you are at fault in a car accident, the other parties involved may feel entitled to pain and suffering compensation. But what about your own pain and suffering?
Car accidents can be traumatic experiences for everyone involved, regardless of who is at fault. You may have minor injuries, but the costs of medical care and fixing your car can’t compare to the pain you’re feeling.
Each party will likely have expenses that result from the incident, so collecting money can be a pressing, life-changing matter.
Here’s what you need to know.
What Happens If I’m At-Fault in a Car Accident?
The responding law enforcement officers are responsible for determining fault in an accident. They survey the scene, collect eyewitness statements, review camera footage (if available), and examine other evidence to piece together the story.
So what happens if you are found to be at fault?
In most cases, your insurance company will be required to pay damages to the other drivers. This may include paying for car repairs, medical expenses, and in some cases, their pain and suffering.
Most drivers do not have to pay for these expenses out of their own pockets. (This is one reason why auto insurance exists in the first place.) However, involved parties who are not satisfied with the insurance payout may partner with a car accident lawyer to get a better settlement for pain and suffering.
To do this, the plaintiff must be able to prove that you were at fault in the accident, according to the state’s definition of fault.
Most states, including Florida, are Pure Comparative Fault States. This means that parties are liable for damages in proportion to their contribution to an accident.
For example, if you are 80% at fault and the other driver is 20% at fault, then the other driver can collect 80% of the total damages in pain and suffering compensation.
Other states are Pure Contributory Negligence States. This means that no matter how much you or the other driver are at fault, even just 1%, you cannot collect pain and suffering damages. Very few states follow this law.
What Money Am I Entitled To?
If you’re determined to be at fault for the accident, your insurance company should pay you according to your policy. At the minimum, you should have a liability policy that will cover bodily injury to another person if you are found at fault.
Liability policies will also cover property damage to someone else’s vehicle. In some cases, your insurance company may also pay for lost wages in the event of injuries that put you out of work.
Your collision insurance coverage should also take care of the damage to your car.
It’s best to review your auto insurance policy to understand what you’re entitled to in the event of an at-fault accident.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help?
Police officers use certain investigative skills to determine who was at fault in a car accident, but they are human and humans make mistakes.
There may be certain mitigating factors that led you to “cause” the accident that weren’t the result of carelessness or recklessness. They may have missed a vital piece of evidence that puts you in the clear.
But how are you going to present this new evidence by yourself?
A qualified car accident attorney does a lot more than defend you in a court case. S/he can also gather evidence to support your case.
What to Do After a Car Accident
If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident, never admit fault on the scene. Leave the investigation to law enforcement to protect your interests.
Next, schedule a consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney.
It’s an auto accident lawyer’s job to represent your interests, protect your rights, and seek the maximum benefits following an accident. If you’re found to be at fault, a reputable attorney can help you with the next steps and guide you through the process.
At Sunshine State Law, we’ve seen what happens when individuals go up against insurance companies. Without an attorney, the insurance companies almost always win.
Our auto accident attorneys are committed to serving victims just like you…NOT huge corporations or insurance companies. If you’ve been involved in an accident, contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.