Car accidents are a common occurrence that sometimes leads to severe injuries to drivers and passengers. There are over 37,000 fatalities due to auto accidents every year in the United States.
Even if you follow all the rules of the road, your safety also depends on the safe driving of everyone else on the road. If you have been in an accident and believe that you need to file a claim, it is important to know how to move forward.
Understanding the laws
To have a successful personal injury case, you need to prove the other driver’s negligence. This means that the other party acted in an unlawful manner, which led to your injury and may have caused property damage. For example, if the cause of your injury was another driver hitting your vehicle because he or she ran a red light, that is a sign of negligent behavior.
Knowing the time limit
There is a statute of limitations for how long you have to file a claim after an auto accident injury. Usually, you have five years from the time of the accident to file a claim. However, a discovery rule stipulates that the statute of limitations begins from the date of injury discovery if you were not aware of the injury for an extended period.
If your injury resulted from an auto accident with a government employee, the stipulations are different. In these situations, you only have 90 days from the date of the injury to file a claim.
Hawaii has a comparative negligence law, which stipulates that if you find yourself deemed partially responsible for your injuries, it decreases your compensation for damages. You receive no compensation if found over 51% responsible.
Filing the claim
When you submit your claim, it is crucial to have sufficient evidence to support your case. This may include providing photographs from the scene of the accident, police reports and medical records to the court. Once the court reviews your claim, your case may proceed with a settlement offer or a trial, if you decline the settlement offer.