After getting into a car accident, your mind is probably running a mile a minute as you think of next steps. You know you should check yourself for injuries, call 911 and take photos from the scene of the accident. But what steps should you take if you wish to receive compensation from the driver of the other car?
The answer depends on where the car accident occurred. Since states can make their own “fault laws,” filing a claim after a car accident might not be as black and white as assumed. If you were involved in a car accident, you will definitely want to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer, like from MartinWren, P.C., to help you navigate the state policies.
Some states work under a system called “contributory negligence” when determining the at-fault party of the accident. Under this system, if a driver contributed to the accident in any way, they will not be eligible for any compensation from the at-fault party. To compare, most other states will grant compensation to drivers even if they were slightly at fault for the collision.
For example, let’s say you were cruising down the interstate at 78 miles per hour—eight miles over the posted speed limit. The car to your left veers sharply into your lane without using their blinker and you rear end them while slamming on your breaks. Since you were technically speeding at the time of the accident, you wouldn’t be eligible for any compensation. Alternatively, if you were involved in a drunk driving accident, but had previously performing a rolling stop at a stop sign, you would be found five percent guilty for the crash and not eligible for any compensation.
At-Fault or No-Fault?
States can elect to be either a no-fault or at-fault state. No-fault states require insurance companies to reimburse all drivers for any damages, regardless of fault. At-fault state, on the other hand, requires the at-fault driver to personally pay the damages to the innocent party. If involved in an accident in an at-fault state, there are three options to get compensation:
- File a claim with your insurer
- File a claim with the other driver’s insurer
- File a lawsuit against the other driver
Obtaining compensation after a car accident can already be a difficult process, and at-fault states only make it harder. If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident, consider contacting a car accident attorney today.