Make no mistake about it – legal issues can be complex. When you add in the stress and misery of an auto accident, things can get confusing in a hurry. If the other driver was at fault for the accident that injured you, you may be owed money damages. There is more than one path toward payment, however. Read on to find out about how and when you may be paid for your auto accident damages.
Settle Out of Court
When you settle a case, you agree to accept a certain sum of money from the at-fault driver's insurer. In return, you agree not to seek damages in court. Settlements can come quickly, but, sometimes, victims get taken advantage of when they don't have legal help. Insurers may not offer a victim as much as they should, and victims may not understand how much they should be receiving. That can lead to victims who end up not being able to cover their accident expenses. To avoid that, speak to a personal injury lawyer about your case before you agree to a settlement.
Take It to Small Claims Court
Unfortunately, small claims court may not allow victims to be paid as much as they deserve. The word "small" means that each state has a cap on lawsuit damages. For example, in Alabama and several other states, you can only be paid $6,000. The highest in the land is $25,000 in Tennessee and Delaware. In most cases, victims deserve a lot more than that and will need to take another path to compensation. However, if small claims court provides you with enough money, you may find your case heard more quickly than taking the traditional civil court path.
File a Lawsuit in Civil Court
You should take this path only if you are unable to settle or use small claims court. At this level, things can proceed very slowly due to crowded court calendars and pretrial preparation. However, taking someone to court can also present accident victims with the compensation they need and sometimes more. In some cases, the court can award accident victims not only what they asked for, but they add punitive damages too.
No matter what path you take, consult with a personal injury lawyer to find out how much you are owed before you make a move. The best option is the quickest, and lawyers know how to negotiate to get you the best settlement possible. Speak to a personal injury lawyer about your case and find out more about how and when you can be paid for your accident damages.
To learn more, contact a personal injury lawyer.