There are few events more traumatic to go through than a car accident. The experience is made even worse whenever you feel someone else is responsible for the accident. In many cases, car accident victims find it necessary to take the other driver(s) to court. Here are three things to keep in mind if you file a lawsuit over a car accident.
1. You need credible witnesses.
After a car accident, you may not be too concerned with seeing if there are any witnesses. However, finding credible witnesses to the accident can come in handy later on if you have to take the other driver to court.
Of course, the police report will list any witnesses the officer spoke with at the scene of the accident. But, there are likely to be some witnesses the officer doesn't speak with. For instance, the officer may have spoken with a driver in a different car who witnessed the crash, but not the person in the passenger seat of that car. Oftentimes, those who are driving will be more focused on something else, such as avoiding the accident, so they may not be the most credible witnesses to rely on in a lawsuit.
Instead, you and your attorney need to look for witnesses to the accident who weren't preoccupied with other things. A passenger in a car or someone walking along a sidewalk near the scene of the accident can be considered more credible witnesses since they were more likely only focused on watching the accident unfold.
2. You should never sign anything after the accident without consulting an attorney.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make after a car accident is signing paperwork given to you by the other driver or their insurance company. For one thing, legal terminology can be confusing for some people. The last thing you want to do is accidentally sign papers waiving your right to sue for compensation. Once that's done, you have no legal right to sue for compensation.
Another thing to consider is, even if the insurance company is offering you a monetary settlement, it could be significantly lower than what you would get from a judge. If the other driver or their insurance company seems a bit too quick to offer a settlement, chances are you could get more by going to court.
The best thing you can do is have an attorney evaluate any paperwork you are given after a car accident before you sign it. You want to make sure all of your expenses are covered before you agree to anything the other driver or car insurance company offers.
3. You only have a limited amount of time to sue over a car accident.
Many people think they have all the time in the world to try to get the other driver or their insurance company to pay up. The truth is that you don't. As a matter of fact, the clock starts ticking on your ability to file a car accident lawsuit from the moment the accident occurs. If the clock runs out, you won't win any compensation for the accident.
The specific amount of time you have to sue over a car accident depends on the state you are in. No matter what, you will have at least a year following the accident to file a lawsuit in court. However, many states give you even more time. You could have up to six years to initiate legal proceedings in a car accident case.
An attorney can let you know the statute of limitations for your state. The important thing is you discuss your case with an attorney early on so you know how much time you can afford to give the other driver or their insurance company before you file a lawsuit against them.
To learn more, visit a website like www.lawyersinarizona.com.