If you are involved in an accident and injured somebody, you could be sued by the other driver who will be claiming damages. Here are some essential aspects to remember when you are facing a car accident lawsuit.
Role of Your Insurance Company
Usually your insurance company will have to pay the damages suffered by the other party, up to the extent of your policy. If the other driver has filed a lawsuit, the cost of the defending the case will also be borne by the insurance company, provided you have taken the minimum mandatory auto insurance required in your state, and there is no conflict with the insurance company.
This does not mean you can rest easy. They will raise your insurance costs which means you will be seeing a higher monthly bill every month. This is nothing to smile about as you will soon find out. The cost to drive a car for you has just increased.
If you happen to live in one of the 12 states in US that have no-fault laws, you cannot be sued, even if you have caused the accident. The accident victim has to recover damages and medical costs for treating the injuries, from his or her own insurer. However, you could be sued in a no-fault state, if you have deliberately caused the accident, you were extremely reckless, or the victim has suffered serious injuries that your insurer is unable to compensate.
Comparative and Contributory Negligent States
If you reside in a comparative negligent state, you will be held responsible to the extent you were at fault for the accident. For instance, if you are found to be 60% at fault for the accident, then you will be paying 60% of the damages suffered by the other driver. On the other hand, if you live in contributory negligent state, then you do not have to pay any compensation if the other driver is found to be even partly at fault for the accident.
Types of Damages
If you are found liable, you will have to pay for medical bills, lost income, and for emotional distress and pain, the victim has suffered. If you are found to be extremely reckless or negligent you could also be paying punitive damages.