You’re involved in a car accident. You suffer severe injuries and are forced to miss some time at work while you recover. Medical bills and other costs related to your accident add up over time. Now, thanks to an accident that wasn’t your fault, you’re in a tough financial situation.
Fortunately, you have the right to obtain compensation from the person who caused your accident. How do you get the money you need and deserve? Will you have to file a personal injury lawsuit, or is there another way to obtain your financial award?
Primary Source of Compensation After a San Diego Car Accident
If you own a vehicle in the state of California, you’re legally obligated to purchase a car insurance policy. State law requires you to purchase minimum amounts of coverage. Your policy protects you and others if you’re involved in an accident. Your policy may even protect you if you’re injured by an underinsured or uninsured driver.
Since insurance is mandatory, it’s also the primary source of compensation after an accident. You can file a claim to recover benefits from your own provider or an at-fault driver’s insurance company. In most cases, insurance benefits are sufficient to cover the cost of medical bills, property damage, and other expenses after an accident.
However, keep in mind that accepting an insurance settlement offer may waive your right to recover additional compensation in the future.
When Filing an Insurance Claim May Not Be Enough
Most car accident claims are resolved privately with car insurance companies. You submit your claim, present evidence to support your demand for compensation, and negotiate a settlement with an insurer. This can take time, but the process is generally shorter than pursuing compensation through a lawsuit.
However, there are times when filing an insurance claim may not be sufficient. You may need to consider filing a car accident lawsuit if:
- Insurance companies wrongfully deny your claim for benefits
- Insurance companies refuse to extend a reasonable offer, or
- Maximum benefits payable under a policy aren’t enough to cover all of your costs.
It might be necessary to file a car accident lawsuit if you suffered severe and/or catastrophic injuries. Severe injuries can generate tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, expensive rehabilitation costs, and limit your ability to work. Some injuries, particularly those involving the spinal cord and brain, often end up costing victims more than a million dollars over the course of their lifetime.
Insurance companies will not be willing to pay more than a driver’s insurance policy covers. If a driver only purchased coverage to satisfy the state minimums, his or her policy may not cover all of your costs.
How Can I Know If I Need to File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Should you pursue an insurance claim or file a lawsuit after your car accident? It will really depend on the details of your case and the extent of your injuries. You can protect your right to recover compensation by contacting an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer immediately after your accident. Your attorney will review your case and determine the best strategy for your particular situation.
If your accident-related costs are relatively minor, it may be best to focus on an insurance claim. Your attorney can help you construct a persuasive demand letter, complete with evidence and witness statements. The stronger your case for benefits, the better your chances of obtaining a fair settlement award.
If your accident-related costs are extensive, you may want to turn your attention to a personal injury lawsuit. Even if you are able to recover some money from insurance, it may not be enough to make you whole again. A lawsuit can allow you to maximize your recovery and obtain all of the money you deserve.