Two Unfair Ways You Could Lose Compensation For An Auto Accident
When you're involved in an auto accident caused by another person, the liable driver is responsible for compensating you for the injuries and losses you sustain as a result. Unfortunately, sometimes the law gets in the way, resulting in the victim receiving nothing. Here are two times this can happen and what you can do to fight back.
No Payment for the Uninsured/Underinsured
Every state requires drivers to carry enough insurance to pay for any accidents they're involved in. Thus, being uninsured or underinsured is generally only an issue if you're the one who caused the accident. If the other driver is at fault, they're still required to pay your damages regardless of your insurance status.
Some states have changed the rules, though, by enacting No Pay, No Play laws. Essentially, people who don't have insurance—or don't have enough—are barred from collecting compensation for an accident, even when another driver is responsible. For example, a driver runs a red light and T-bones your vehicle. Their insurance company won't have to pay you anything for the accident if you're uninsured.
This can be financially devastating for people who suffer significant injuries and losses. Luckily, states with these laws also provide exceptions. In Louisiana, for example, uninsured drivers are only barred from being paid the first $15,000 in compensation for physical injuries and can collect any monies due above that amount.
If you live in a No Pay, No Play state, contact an attorney as soon as possible. The lawyer can review the facts of your case to see if there's a way around the law to help you get money for your losses.
No Payment If You Contribute to the Accident at All
Some states judge whether a victim can collect compensation for an accident based on how much they contributed to the incident. In areas that use comparative negligence, victims are only awarded the amount of money equal to the percentage of liability that can be attributed to the other driver. If the other person is found to be 80 percent responsible, for instance, then the victim will only collect 80 percent of the amount due.
This can become a problem, though, in cases where the victim's actions contributed to the collision. If the victim's liability reaches a certain threshold, they won't be allowed to collect any money at all. For example, an accident occurs because both you and the other driver ran your respective stop signs. The court may find you 50% liable and bar you from getting paid based on state law.
Getting around this issue can be challenging and primarily focuses on reducing the amount of liability assigned to you. It's best to contact an attorney who can use a variety of legal methods to help you with this issue.
For more info, contact a local auto accident attorney.