If you’ve recently been in a car crash, you might have been left reeling in an emotional sense. For all drivers—but especially those who have never been in a crash before—the occasion can be traumatizing, overwhelming, and can leave you not wanting to get back in the driver’s seat for months. Unfortunately, too, a car crash can also leave you reeling from a financial standpoint. Insurance claims aren’t always enough to replace what you feel you’ve lost; you might consider suing the other party.
It’s not an easy decision to make, but JD Haas is here to help. While we offer free case evaluations for anyone in need, as car accident attorneys and personal injury lawyers, we’d also like to educate the public on auto law and when taking legal action is a possibility.
First: What Does it Mean to Sue?
We hear the term thrown around everywhere as a threat—and while it might make a person think twice about what it is that led to that threat, few actually know what the term “sue” means. For the sake of this blog post about suing, it’s important to know the word’s definition!
In a broad sense, to “sue” is to take legal action against someone—but it doesn’t really denote any specific type of action. For legal purposes, the more formal term for a car crash litigation of this sort is “civil action.” This means, in layperson’s terms, that you’re trying to prove you should earn monetary compensation for this case; you’re not out to prove another person a criminal. It’s a subtle distinction, but an important one when it comes to seeking legal help!
As the Minnesota Judicial Branch puts it: “A civil action is a lawsuit that involves money, injury or damages, return of property, civil rights, or other non-criminal matters.”
So, Can I File a Civil Action After a Car Crash?
The short answer: it depends. Whether or not you can take legal action after going through a car crash depends on your state’s specific laws surrounding recklessness behind the wheel. If you want to recover financial damages for your medical bill or your emotional pain and suffering, generally speaking, you must prove that the other driver acted in a reckless fashion.
At JD Haas, we’re Minnesota personal injury attorneys and car accident lawyers, so we’re experts in this state’s laws surrounding car crashes. We know that:
Minnesota Has a Modified “Comparative Negligence” Rule
This means that, if both you and the other driver are found to have behaved negligently, you could still collect money—as long as your amount of negligence is considered less than the other driver’s. The money you can receive depends on the ratio of your negligence to the other driver’s.
Filing With Insurance Never Equals a Civil Action
When you file an insurance claim, you are simply working with your own company to receive compensation for your car’s damages. Taking legal action seeks money for anything from medical bills to your emotional pain and suffering.
Always Seek the Help of a Car Crash Attorney After
This professional can help you work with your insurance company to obtain as much money as possible and also can help you decide if you should take legal action.
Alternative Methods of Receiving Compensation Exist
Though it is possible to go to court in a car crash case, in some instances, it might not be the most lucrative course of action. Getting court dates takes time, for example, and the process can also be expensive. Though you may appreciate the closure that comes with court, in some cases, you may know or decide with the help of your injury lawyer that it just isn’t practical.
But there’s no need to throw in the towel just yet. If the insurance company hasn’t paid out what you deserve, arbitration is still an option. As we cover in our injury lawyer blog, arbitration is a method in which you and an insurance company settle outside of court with the mediation of an unbiased third party. It can be quicker than a court case, as well as get you the money you deserve. Plus, your injury lawyer can help you with it. While it might not be “suing” in the conventional sense, you’ll still get the justice and compensation you’re entitled to.
Contact JD Haas For Compassionate Legal Help
As stated above, we are ready and willing to give you a free case evaluation. Give our Minneapolis office a call now at 952-345-1025. We also serve Rochester, Bloomington, and Saint Paul.