auto accident lawsuit

Car accidents are unfortunately common and can result in serious injuries, emotional distress, and financial burdens. If you’ve been involved in a car accident in California and are considering your legal options, you may wonder, “Can I sue after a car accident?


This article will explore the circumstances under which you can file an auto accident lawsuit and the essential elements that contribute to a successful case.



Understanding the Difference: Lawsuit vs. Claim

Before diving into the specifics of filing a car accident case, you must understand the difference between a lawsuit and an insurance claim.


An insurance claim is a request for compensation made to the insurance company following a crash. It’s often the first step victims take to recover damages for medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages.


A lawsuit, on the other hand, is a legal action filed in court when parties cannot agree on a settlement through insurance claims. It involves taking the at-fault driver to court to seek financial compensation.


Knowing when to move from an insurance claim to an auto accident lawsuit is important for ensuring you receive fair compensation.

When Can You Sue After a Car Accident?

Whether or not you can file a suit for car accident injury and damages depends on several factors. Here are key points to consider:

1. Seriousness of Injuries

In California, you can sue after a car accident if you have suffered serious physical injuries. Minor accidents with negligible injuries typically do not lead to lawsuits, as they can often be settled through one’s car insurance policy.


But if your injuries are severe and require extensive medical treatment, moving forward with a lawsuit may be necessary to cover the associated economic and non-economic costs fully.

2. Fault and Negligence

Establishing fault is critical in an auto accident lawsuit. California follows a comparative negligence rule, which means you can still sue even if you are partially at fault for the collision.


With that being said, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of your fault. For instance, if you are found to be 20% at fault and negligent, your compensation will be reduced by 20%.

3. Unfair Settlement Offers

Insurance companies often aim to minimize payouts, which can lead to unfair settlement offers. If the insurance company’s offer does not adequately cover your damages, filing a car accident lawsuit can help you seek the full payout you deserve.

Elements of a Successful Auto Accident Lawsuit

To increase the chances of winning when a lawsuit is filed, certain elements must be present:

1. Evidence of Negligence

Proving negligence is arguably the most important. You must demonstrate that the other driver failed to act responsibly, leading to the accident. Evidence can include police reports, witness testimonies, traffic camera footage, and expert analysis.

2. Documented Damages

Accurate and thorough documentation of your damages is essential. This includes medical records, bills, proof of lost wages, pain and suffering, and repair estimates for property damage. Detailed records strengthen your case by clearly showing the impact of the accident on your life.

Having an experienced car accident lawyer is necessary for going through the legal process. An attorney will help gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court and go to trial if necessary.

4. Statute of Limitations

In California, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you fail to file within this period, you may lose the right to sue. Needless to say, act promptly to preserve your chances.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

If you decide to pursue an auto accident lawsuit, follow these steps to strengthen your case:

1. Seek Medical Attention

Seek immediate medical attention, even if you feel fine, as some injuries may not be apparent right away. Hospital records and even medical bills will also serve as crucial evidence.

2. Report the Accident

Report the accident to the police and obtain a copy of the police report. This official documentation can provide valuable information about the accident’s circumstances and fault.

3. Gather Evidence

Collect evidence at the scene, including photographs of the vehicles, road conditions, and any visible injuries. Obtain contact information from witnesses, as their testimonies can support your case.

4. Contact an Attorney

Consult with a car accident attorney who understands California law. They will file a lawsuit on your behalf and help you understand your rights toward securing the monetary compensation.

How an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Can Help

Working with a seasoned personal injury lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Here’s how they can assist:

1. Case Evaluation

An experienced attorney will evaluate your case to determine its strengths and weaknesses. They will provide an honest assessment of your chances of success and potential compensation.

2. Negotiation with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies may try to settle quickly for a low amount. An attorney will negotiate on your behalf and represent you in litigation to ensure you receive a fair settlement.

3. Representation in Court

If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will represent you in court. They will present evidence, question witnesses, and make compelling arguments to support your car accident claim.

File a Car Accident Lawsuit for Injuries and Property Damage. Call Our Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation.

Knowing the legal options available after a car accident is necessary for securing a fair financial payout. Whether you are dealing with an insurance provider or considering an auto accident lawsuit, having the right information and support is the key to success.


If you’ve been asking yourself, “Can I sue after a car accident?” and need professional guidance on the lawsuit process, contact the experienced accident and injury lawyers at RTM Law Firm. 


Waiting will only hurt your case. Contact us today for a free case review.




    We Help Accident Victims File
    a Personal Injury Claim in Santa Ana, CA

    Our Santa Ana personal injury attorneys handle a wide range of personal injury claims in several areas, including:

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