Ask the Experts

Accidents and Attorneys

I was recently involved in a car accident that was definitely not my fault. The other driver seems like a nice enough person, but she made a big mistake, and now I’m dealing with stuff like medical bills (my parents are taking care of a lot of this for me, but I feel bad about it, because they obviously had nothing to do with the accident!). What I’m wondering is: should I consider a lawsuit here to try to get some money to help with the bills? I don’t want to hurt the other driver, but I also don’t want my parents to bear an unfair financial burden. How will I know if I have a case? How much money could I get? Experts, please help!

It sounds as if you’ve been put in a tough position through no fault of your own. It’s natural to want to be compensated by the person who really was at fault. Getting the money you deserve should be a simple thing, right?

Well, not necessarily, say lawyers at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices. The legal routes available to you after a car crash will vary depending on state laws. For instance, some states are “no-fault states,” meaning they do not allow blame to be assigned for car accidents. In states like New York, only insurance companies can be forced to pay for things like lost income, medical treatments, and other consequences of a car crash.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you are out of luck in such states–it just means that you need an attorney who can push for your rights against the insurance companies. The legal path to compensation is different, but it still exists. And the only person who can tell you whether or not you have a case, how much money you could be entitled to, and what your state’s laws will allow is an attorney. Your best bet is to consult with one and bring these same questions to them! Bring any documentation you have of the accident–the more the better–and choose an attorney who specializes in this sort of case.

If you have a case and get a good attorney, there’s a chance that you can be compensated for your medical bills, any income you may have lost, and the damage to your car. Hopefully, this will be the last time that you have to go through any of this! While nobody can be sure of being safe at all times on the road, you can take steps to be as careful as possible. Investing in a modern car with superior safety features is always a good idea, say mechanics at Rockaway, New Jersey’s Trend Motors. You can also opt to take a defensive driving course, which will teach you skills and techniques that could help you avoid accidents caused by less careful drivers.

“Take it easy driving–the life you save may be mine.” — James Dean

Steven Callahan is a Financial Analyst and former Writer / Editor for Deadspin.