Who Can You Sue Following A Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault?

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After a car accident, insurance adjusters must determine who is at fault to decide who pays and calculate how much they should pay. The process for determining fault varies from state to state. Georgia and Tennessee are both “at-fault” states, which means that whoever caused the accident must pay for resulting damages. However, like any business, insurance companies aim to pay as little as possible. You may not be satisfied with the settlement the insurance company offers, especially if you’ve sustained serious injuries or your vehicle was totaled in the accident. These expenses often amount to much more than an insurance company is willing to give you. In this case, you can sue the at-fault driver(s) to get a better outcome.

Understandably, most people want to avoid a lawsuit at all costs. They can be lengthy, expensive, and work-intensive. In many cases, a GA car accident lawyer can successfully negotiate with the at-fault insurers on your behalf, and you never have to step into a courtroom. But on occasion, a lawsuit is the only available resource against a particularly stubborn insurer. And, if your odds are good, it can be well worth it. An experienced TN injury lawyer can review your case and determine the likelihood of winning a lawsuit.

Filing a Lawsuit After a Car Accident

Following a car accident, you may want to file a lawsuit to help alleviate the cost of vehicle repairs, medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, there are several different parties you can sue. 

Suing the At-Fault Driver

If your accident involved only one other driver, you will deal with one other insurance company. In Tennessee and Georgia, all motorists must adequately insure their cars. If the insurance company fails to offer a fair settlement, you can sue the at-fault driver, but you’ll be effectively suing the insurance company for fair compensation.

Just because insuring your vehicle is the law doesn’t mean everyone complies. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you can file a negligence lawsuit directly against him/her. However, be advised that a lawsuit against an uninsured driver does not guarantee that you’ll receive damages. Someone who can’t afford car insurance probably can’t afford to pay negligence damages, either.

Suing Multiple At-Fault Drivers

Tennessee and Georgia are comparative fault states, which means that more than one driver can be found responsible for a car accident. As you might imagine, this can complicate claims. Sometimes both drivers share the blame, and other times more than two people are involved in a car accident. 

If you are found partially at fault for the accident, you can still claim damages as long as you were less than 50 percent responsible. If the adjuster finds multiple drivers at fault, all at-fault drivers are liable to pay. Without adequate legal representation, it’s unlikely that any at-fault insurer will offer you the settlement you deserve.

Suing a Negligent Driver as a Passenger

If you were a passenger in the car that caused an injury accident, or a car hit by another vehicle, you can still sue.  

As in the above cases, you would sue the at-fault driver’s insurance, regardless of which car you were in at the time. However, if the at-fault driver does not have insurance, the car you were riding in does matter. If you were in the car of a negligent, uninsured driver, your own automobile insurance would have to assume responsibility for your injuries. If you were in a car that was hit by a negligent, uninsured driver, you would submit a claim to the insurance company of the car you were riding in. 

Other Potentially Liable Individuals 

In some situations, a negligent driver may not own the car they were operating. For example, perhaps they were driving a company-owned vehicle, or their friend loaned them a truck to move. In most cases, you would submit a claim to the owner’s insurance. 

It can become complicated in the case of employers, however. If the negligent driver was operating a personal vehicle as part of their job, you could sue their employer. But if they were running an errand for their employer, and made a personal pitstop along the way, during which they hit your vehicle in a store parking lot, a court may rule that the accident occurred while the employee was on a “detour” from their work responsibility. As such, the employer may not be held liable. Similarly, if the employee took the company car outside of business hours for personal use, their employer may deny responsibility for the employee’s actions. As with all complex legal cases, it’s best to involve a car accident lawyer who is well-versed in Tennessee and Georgia accident law. 

Contact Dennis and King Today

If you have been involved in a not-at-fault car accident in Tennessee or Georgia, the legal team at Dennis and King can help. Injuries and time off work can cause significant emotional and financial strain to a victim’s entire family. Contact us today at (423) 892-5533 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

October 2, 2020 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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