When Should I Sue After a Car Accident?
If you were struck by a negligent driver and injured, you may be entitled to compensation. Assuming your case meets the serious injury threshold, you may have grounds for a claim against the liable party’s insurance company.
Unfortunately, insurance companies aren’t always willing to approve claims or to offer a fair settlement. In these scenarios, it may be advisable to file a lawsuit.
Below we have listed some of the common circumstances when it might be wise to file suit after a car accident:
1. The Carrier Disputed Liability
Since Florida has a no-fault system, car accident victims must usually turn to their own insurers for compensation following a wreck. If you exceed your PIP coverage or meet the state’s serious injury threshold, though, you may file a third-party claim with the at-fault motorist’s carrier. That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that they’re obligated to honor it.
If they find some reason to dispute the policyholder’s liability, for example, they won’t offer any kind of settlement. Should this be the case, going to court may be worthwhile. As long as you present sufficient evidence of fault, there’s a chance the judge or jury will rule in your favor.
2. The Carrier Challenged Your Damages
Florida allows for the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages. Examples include medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
Before you can recover a single dollar, though, you’ll have to prove that you did, in fact, incur such damages. If the claims adjuster does not find the evidence you submit sufficient, he or she may deny your request. Or perhaps your damages are legitimate, but the carrier believes you contributed to their severity. Under Florida’s pure comparative fault rule, this would reduce the total compensation to which you’re entitled accordingly.
Either way, if the opposing party challenges some or all of your losses, it may be necessary to file a formal lawsuit.
3. The Carrier Refused to Offer a Fair Settlement
Sometimes, claims adjusters are simply uncooperative. Regardless of the strength of the evidence that they review, they may propose a payout that doesn’t even come close to covering the total damages.
Unfortunately, this is a viable strategy for them because injured parties are often so desperate for cash that they’ll end up accepting an unfair settlement. Once the funds run out, though, they’re left in a much worse position than they were in before because they have no additional recourse.
Unless the carrier has a good reason to offer a low payout, going to court in such a scenario may be the best option.
Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer
If you were seriously hurt in a wreck through no fault of your own, contact Donaldson & Weston to determine how best to proceed. We’ve helped hundreds of clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases. Call 561-299-3999 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free consultation with a car accident attorney in West Palm Beach.