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I Was in a Car Accident – What Do I Do?

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If you were in a car accident, you may only sue the driver and/or owner of the car that hit you. You may not sue their insurance company.

You may sue for: 

  • property damage to your car, and 
  • personal injury.

If there was only property damage

You are limited to suing for: 

  • the costs of repairing the car, 
  • the loss of use of your car – car payments you make while your car is being repaired, rental costs, and deductibles, or for 
  • the amount of money it would take to replace the car (at its value at time of the accident).


If you suffered personal injury

You may ask for: 

  1. all actual medical costs (doctor’s visits, therapy sessions, and medicines);

    NOTE:  It doesn’t matter if you only paid a co-pay, or if your insurance paid it all.  What matters is what you and/or insurance actually paid or will owe. 
  2. costs of buying or renting medical appliances (such as crutches); 
  3. lost wages -- because you have to go to the doctor or for therapy, or because you can’t return to work due to the accident, and 
  4. pain and suffering. (Add up the actual medical costs.  In small claims it is suggested that you multiply these by 3.)

Your claim would be the total of the amounts of 1 to 4.

NOTE 1:  If you had no insurance
You may not recover damages for pain and suffering or other non-money damages.

NOTE 2:  If you were driving under the influence
You may not recover damages for pain and suffering or other non-money damages.
 

NOTE 3:  If you collect money from the defendant after your insurance paid the medical bills, you may have to repay your insurance company – depending on your policy. Most insurance policies include repayment. Read your policy or call them to find out.


In any of these cases, seek the advice of an attorney or a Small Claims Advisor to help you evaluate your case.


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