The majority of car accidents result from human error, which means when someone suffers an injury in a car crash, a typical cause is a driver’s actions. It’s not surprising that individuals injured in car accidents often file lawsuits to recover damages. If you suffered a serious injury in a car accident you may be wondering what could happen if you file a personal injury suit and lose the case.
Medical Expenses vs Insurance Coverage
If you lose a car accident lawsuit, your greatest concern may be the medical expenses that resulted from the crash. The National Safety Council estimated that 5.4 million vehicle-related injuries required the services of medical professionals in 2021. Auto insurance – yours or the other driver’s – may cover some or all of the cost of your medical expenses, but there are limits to the amount of coverage provided.
The minimum required vehicle liability insurance coverage varies from state to state. In South Carolina, auto liability insurance must include at least $25,000 to cover bodily injuries to each of two persons harmed. If your medical costs exceed the other driver’s policy limit you could find yourself liable for the remaining balance if you lose your lawsuit. Your own insurance policy may cover some or all of the additional medical costs, but your coverage limit may still leave you with out-of-pocket medical costs.
Other Economic Losses
A personal injury lawsuit often seeks to recover economic damages beyond what’s offered in an insurance settlement. After a serious car accident, a harmed individual may face additional financial setbacks such as:
- Lost future employment opportunities caused by a long-term disability
- Long-term rehab care
- Cost of home remodeling to accommodate a permanent disability
- Loss of high-value property (such as a rare musical instrument) damaged or destroyed within the vehicle.
Recovering the appropriate extent of damages reflects one of the main reasons for filing a car accident lawsuit. Losing your suit could deprive you of any future opportunities to adequately recover your losses.
Non-economic damages reflect issues that do not show as actual dollar amounts but still have a significantly damaging effect on a harmed individual.
Non-economic damages you may recover in a lawsuit could include:
- Emotional and mental distress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or impaired cognition
- Pain and suffering caused by serious injuries such as broken bones, head injuries or burns
- A diminished quality of life, such as an inability to participate in sports or other activities that played a significant role in your enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium, which refers to a disability or impairment that prevents intimacy with your romantic partner or spending time with your family
- Permanent disabilities, impairments or disfigurement, any one of which could present a life-altering condition.
Non-economic damages often account for high damage-award cases because they usually represent long-term or permanent life changes. Although you may have a somewhat uncertain opportunity to file a successful appeal, losing your car accident lawsuit could shut the door on your ability to put your life back together.
What Could Help You Win a Car Accident Suit?
Although it isn’t possible to accurately predict legal outcomes, what you do immediately after a vehicle accident and within the days and weeks following it could help you win a car accident suit.
Some of the things you could do to help win your case include:
- Unless an injury prevents it, taking pictures at the accident scene showing the damage and the positions of any other vehicles
- Gathering contact information from the involved parties
- Making sure the police arrive, answering their questions, then obtaining a copy of the police report
- Refraining from discussing anything with anyone – except for an attorney – regarding issues not directly related to the actual crash
- Seeking medical attention as soon as possible.
After a doctor examines you, consider contacting an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Although you have a legal right to represent yourself in court, choosing a skilled and diligent car accident attorney to represent you could make a world of difference in the outcome of your case.
Choosing the Right Car Accident Attorney
The car accident legal team at the Jeffcoat Firm has a proven track record of obtaining the compensation our clients deserve for their economic and non-economic damages. We care about our clients, and we’ll fight hard for you. Discover for yourself if we’re the right team to represent you; we’ll come to you if it’s difficult for you to visit one of our four South Carolina locations.
If you decide to have our firm represent you, you’ll get a written agreement that states an injured client never owes us anything unless we win the case. Contact us now and set up a no-fee and no-obligation consultation.