A car accident claim can be a complicated, but necessary, legal process to recover compensation for property damages and injuries sustained in a crash. Navigating the legal system on your own can be overwhelming, it is always recommended to speak with a lawyer who can guide you through the claims process. Each state has insurance and negligence laws that impact the amount of compensation you can recover and if you can hold the at-fault party liable. An accident attorney can help you with the specific laws in your state and how they affect your claim.

  • No-Fault Insurance Laws

If you are injured in a no fault insurance state you cannot hold the at-fault party accountable for your damages, you must recover compensation from your own personal insurance policy, regardless of who contributed to the accident. No-fault insurance states require people to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to cover for their expenses in case of an accident. However, an injury victim may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party if the case satisfies certain requirements and injury thresholds set by each state.

  • Fault insurance laws

States with fault insurance laws allow car accident victims to pursue compensatory damages from the at-fault or negligent party in the accident.

  • Contributory Negligence Laws

Contributory negligence laws state that if the injured party is found to have contributed to the accident, they can’t recover any compensation. Even if they are found to be only 1% at fault, they lose all possibility of recovering damages for their injuries. Four states in the U.S. follow these negligence laws, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama and D.C.

  • Pure Comparative Negligence Laws

States that follow pure comparative negligence laws assign a percentage of fault to each party to determine the compensation award. If the victim is found to be 30% at fault for the accident, the total compensation amount will be reduced by 30% of the fault.

  • Modified Comparative Negligence Laws

Accident victims in modified comparative negligence states can recover damages only if their fault in the accident is below the state’s set threshold. Some states threshold is set at 50%, if the victim’s fault is found to be 49% or less then they can recover compensation. If their fault is above the state’s cap, they are disqualified from recovering damages.

  • Statutes of limitations

Statutes of limitations are set as a time limit in which you can file a lawsuit to recover compensation for damages you suffered during an accident. Each state has its own statute of limitations depending on the type of accident and damages that the victim is pursuing. It’s important to research what is the statute of limitations in your state for filing a car accident or personal injury claim. If the time limit has passed it will be difficult or sometimes impossible to recover compensation.

Filing a car accident claim without the proper legal representation can be complicated and stressful. It’s always advised to consult with an attorney who has experience and knowledge in your state’s laws and is able to pursue compensation on your behalf. Filing a claim without an understanding of your state’s negligence and insurance laws could affect the outcome of your case.