Every now and then, our Marietta accident attorneys meet with a client who waited months to talk to an attorney. One of the reasons they do this is because they assume that they don’t have a right to sue after their car crash. They explain that, since they were driving someone else’s vehicle, they didn’t think they had a right to compensation.
Here, we’ll explain why you do have the right to sue. We’ll also briefly discuss what damages you may be entitled to.
A Lot of People Don’t Realize That Auto Insurance Follows the Car, Not the Driver
Our Marietta accident attorneys have found that many people don’t realize that auto insurance follows the car. It does not follow the driver. Just because you borrowed a vehicle, that doesn’t mean you aren’t protected in the case of an accident.
You are entitled to the same rights the owner of the car or SUV would have had they been driving. This means that you can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy. Or, if need be, you can file one under the vehicle owner’s uninsured motorists’ policy.
What Does This Mean for Your Case?
Your Marietta accident lawyer can help you file a claim against the other driver’s policy. Your claim will be for any losses you suffered as a result of your accident.
When the insurance company reviews your claim, they cannot discriminate against you for not being the registered owner of the vehicle. They must treat your claim like they would anyone else’s.
If they don’t, then your Marietta accident lawyer can help. They can file an appeal or, if need be, file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.
Marietta Accident Lawyers Understand That People Borrow Vehicles All the Time
Our Marietta accident attorneys understand that people lend their vehicles out all the time. That is the prerogative of the owner. Sometimes they lend their car to a family member. Or a friend or neighbor might need it for something.
The insurance company is well aware of this too. They cannot decline your claim on the basis that the car you were driving belonged to someone else. If they do, you can file an appeal.
If they still refuse to pay your claim, you can sue.
Did You Have Permission to Use the Vehicle?
It is critical that you have permission to drive the car at the time of the collision. If the owner of the vehicle denies that they gave you consent, you won’t be able to pursue a claim for damages.
Furthermore, if they say you took the car without permission, the other driver may decide to file a lawsuit against you. They’ll say that you caused the crash and, since you didn’t have permission to drive it, you are personally responsible for any damages that ensue.
Your Marietta Accident Attorney Still Has to Prove Fault
As with any other car accident lawsuit, your Marietta accident attorney must prove fault. This means they must demonstrate that the other driver was negligent and that their negligence caused the accident.
To prove negligence, your Marietta accident lawyer must show the following four (4) things.
- The other driver owed you a duty of care.
- They breached this duty.
- You were injured.
- Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s negligence.
If you’re able to prove these four things, there’s no good reason why you shouldn’t be awarded damages.
Ideally, your attorney won’t have to sue to make this happen. If they can convince the insurance adjuster that you’ll succeed in court, they’ll be able to negotiate a settlement with them instead.
Your Marietta Accident Lawyer Can Sue on Your Behalf if Your Claim Is Denied
There are times when, no matter how strong your evidence is, the insurance adjuster denies your claim. Some of the reasons why they may do this include the following:
- The defendant’s insurance policy was canceled or otherwise invalid.
- You didn’t submit your claim in a timely fashion.
- You failed to provide the necessary information or paperwork.
- The insurance adjuster thinks you caused the crash.
- They don’t believe you suffered any injury.
- You have a history of filing auto insurance claims.
Depending on the reason for the denial, your Marietta accident attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement of your claim. If this isn’t possible, then you may have no choice but to file suit.
You Technically Have to Sue the Other Driver, Not the Insurance Carrier
In Georgia, you aren’t allowed to sue the defendant’s insurance carrier directly. The only time you can do this is when the defendant is a motor carrier. Instead, you must file a lawsuit against the other driver personally.
In your initial complaint, your Marietta accident lawyer must provide the following information:
- The facts that gave rise to the lawsuit
- Facts explaining why the defendant was at fault
- The damages you are alleging were caused by the crash
When you sue, a copy of your lawsuit will be served on both the other driver and their insurance company. Legally, the insurance company is required to represent the defendant in the case.
What Kind of Damages Can Your Marietta Accident Attorney Demand?
The whole point of filing suit against the other driver is so you can be compensated for your injuries. This includes both physical injuries as well as other financial losses. In your initial complaint, your Marietta accident lawyer must list your specific demand for damages.
These damages may include some or all of the following:
- Medical bills and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (in very limited circumstances)
Your damages will depend on the facts surrounding your case. Your Marietta accident lawyer must prove the damages cited in your complaint.
There’s a Good Chance Your Attorney Will Settle Your Case
Ideally, your Marietta accident attorney will be able to settle your case early. If possible, they’ll negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. If need be, they’ll file suit. However, that is a last resort.
All throughout the case, your lawyer will continue to try to negotiate a settlement. This is what both parties want. The insurance company knows that they take a risk of losing if the case goes to trial. They’d rather settle than have to pay your full claim.
Call Our Experienced Marietta Car Accident Lawyers Today!
Our Marietta accident attorneys understand how difficult it can be to deal with the aftermath of your accident. Fighting with the insurance company while trying to recover from your injuries must be extremely frustrating.
That’s why our firm offers all new clients a free, initial consultation. Tell us your story and find out if you have a viable claim. You need to make your health a priority. Let one of our skilled associates handle the legal side of things while you get better.
Contact our team at The Weinstein Firm today!