Personal Injury

States Vary in Their Requirements for Auto Accident Suits

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Auto accidents often result in personal injuries and lead to lawsuits for loss, pain, and suffering. Each state has its own laws that apply in the wake of an auto accident. Generally, to sue an automobile driver for bodily injuries you must prove negligence. In some states, medical bills and lost wages are paid regardless of negligence.

Drivers Must Operate Automobiles Safely

All drivers have a legal duty to operate their automobiles in a safe manner. For example, you should obey the speed limit, follow traffic laws, and drive carefully at all times. When drivers are careless, they violate their legal duties to other drivers on the road and any passengers in their cars. The duty to drive safely also protects pedestrians. Generally, you can sue if you are injured by a careless driver.

Auto Injuries Can Lead to Lawsuits

You may be entitled to compensation for any bodily injury and pain and suffering caused by a negligent driver. Many states require auto injuries to be serious before someone can sue. Short term, small injuries may not be grounds for a lawsuit. In Michigan, for example, minor scratches and bruises would not qualify for a personal injury auto lawsuit. The loss of a limb or a permanent head injury would qualify.

Victims Can Share Auto Accident Fault

Many states, such as California, consider a victim's own fault in auto accident lawsuits. For example, if a pedestrian is struck in a crosswalk by a speeding car, the driver is completely at fault. However, if the pedestrian is jaywalking across a busy street and struck by a speeding car, both parties share the fault. If you are a victim in an auto accident and you share fault for your injuries, you may receive less money.

No-Fault Benefits Help Injured Victims

Many states, including Michigan and Florida, have no-fault auto accident laws. You do not need to prove anyone was negligent to have your medical bills paid in no-fault states. Your auto insurance company must automatically cover your medical treatment for auto-related injuries. Generally, lost wages are also automatically covered in no- fault states. No-fault laws eliminate the need for you to prove a driver was negligent in order to receive payment for medical bills and wage losses.

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

The laws on personal injuries caused by cars can be complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a personal injury lawyer.

If you've been involved in a car accident within the last three years, please consider taking our car accident survey so that we can include your experience in Martindale-Nolo's 2016 Car Accident Survey. Your participation will help inform others about their situation and options before dealing with their car accident.

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