Can You Sue For a Car Accident If You Weren’t Injured?
If you or a loved one was involved in a car crash and did not suffer a serious injury, you're one of the lucky ones. Most car accident claims involve bodily injuries that result from a collision. But just because you weren't the victim of a personal injury doesn't mean you can't take legal action to seek compensation for other damages.
Car accidents happen every single day. Consider this, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); there were 4,548,000 non-injury car accidents in the United States. Together, these damage-only accidents cost more than $70 billion in damages and insurance settlements.
Indeed, car accidents are a big deal, regardless of whether they caused a major injury, minor injury, or no injury at all.
If your car accident resulted in damages of any kind—whether you suffered an injury or not—seeking the legal advice of a personal injury lawyer or car accident attorney can help you get the most compensation for your claim.
In most instances, non-injury car accidents are resolved with a settlement, but if the insurance company tries to offer you much less than you need, you may consider taking your case to court.
In this article, I'll cover what you need to know about non-injury car accidents and share my advice on seeking fair compensation for your losses and damages.
Understanding No-Injury Car Accidents, Lawsuits, and Insurance Claims
If you are one of the lucky ones who walked away from a car accident unscathed, you may still be wondering about your options for compensation to cover other damages.
In most car accident cases, the victim is responsible for filing a claim with the insurance company to begin the process of recovering compensation for resulting damages and losses.
Claims can include compensation for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. If you were not injured in the accident, bodily injury-related damages would not be available to you.
The criteria for a personal injury lawsuit are:
- You were involved in a crash that was caused by someone else's negligence
- You suffered injuries as a result of the accident
- Your injuries resulted in significant economic damages
If your situation does not involve all three of these criteria, you may not be able to pursue damages for a personal injury lawsuit. However, you are still entitled to seek legal action and compensation for a non-injury auto accident claim.
Settlement or Lawsuit?
Car accidents that result in bodily injury are often resolved in a settlement with the insurance company, but this is not always the case.
If a settlement agreement is not reached or the terms are unsatisfactory to either party, a car accident claim can be escalated to a lawsuit. This type of action may be necessary if there was significant damage done to your vehicle or if the other driver attempts to deny that it was their negligence that resulted in the car crash.
Though you suffered no injuries and thus have no medical bills and or injuries needing medical attention, there's still a good chance you have some property damage on your hands. Even something as seemingly innocuous as a fender bender can cause severe damage—damage that someone needs to pay for.
And if you were on the receiving end of this damage, you may still be able to file a property damage claim with the at-fault motorist's insurance company.
Seeking Compensation After a Car Accident with No Injuries
In Louisiana, you can recover non-injury damages from a car accident.
If the at-fault driver's negligence caused the accident, then they may be liable and held responsible for compensating you for any damages you suffered from the event.
What Non-Injury Damages Can You Recover?
In the case of a non-injury car accident, you may be able to recover damages, including:
- Property damages—Financial compensation to pay for repairs to your vehicle and damaged personal items.
- Emotional pain and suffering—Emotional health consequences from the car accident.
- Lost wages—If you can no longer work, you may be eligible for compensation for lost wages or reduced earning capacity.
The damages you may recover depend on your particular case. Every car accident is unique, and the type and severity of the damages sustained will be used to determine what kind of compensation you're entitled to. A car accident attorney can help you figure out your options.
Fault Versus No-Fault Considerations
Your ability to pursue compensation is determined in part by the state you live in.
The laws and regulations of the state you live in will determine how you should approach the insurance claims process. When it comes to car accident claims and settlements, there are two types of states: fault and no-fault.
Most states in the country operate on a fault-based insurance system. This means you should take legal action directly against the negligent driver's insurance company.
Louisiana is a fault state, and the statute of limitations is one year. That means you have up to one year to file a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company to seek compensation for your losses.
In no-fault states, such as Florida, Pennsylvania, and ten others, you can't file a personal injury claim or bodily injury claim against the driver who was responsible for the car accident.
Instead, you must file with your own insurance company using a type of insurance policy called personal injury protection (PIP). That said, if you have damages that exceed the insurance coverage limits of what PIP provides, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for more serious damages or injuries.
If you are trying to seek compensation from a driver who is either uninsured or under-insured, you may need to explore other options to get the money you need to recover your damages. In some cases, the best option is to seek compensation from the driver or their insurer in a lawsuit. A car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you need.
A Car Accident Attorney Can Help You with Your Non-Injury Claim
Most non-injury car accident victims recover compensation through the insurance claims process in the form of a settlement.
Even if you did not suffer any apparent injuries, a personal injury attorney can help with your non-injury claim in a few important ways.
At Bruscato Law offices, we offer a free case evaluation to all car accident victims in the Monroe, Louisiana area. If you need assistance dealing with the at-fault party's insurance company or exploring your rights to seek fair compensation, contact our office today.
We Will Prove Fault and Seek Maximum Compensation
We understand the car accident legal process inside and out. And for you to seek fair compensation for your damages, you must prove liability. Bruscato can help you prove liability in your car accident claim (including injury and non-injury damages) and figure out the best possible path forward that allows you to recover maximum compensation.
To prove your case, we'll work together to collect the following pieces of documentation (including, but not limited to):
- Police reports
- Medical bills and medical records
- Photos of the crash site
- Photos of property damage
- Out-of-pocket expense receipts
- Receipts associated with damages and repairs
These pieces of information will be used as evidence to help build your case and come up with a fair amount of money to push for you in your car accident claim.
We'll Handle the Insurance Company
Negotiating with the insurance provider is a crucial component in securing a favorable settlement. During the claims process, you'll need to work with the insurance company's claims adjuster and show them concrete evidence of your losses. The insurance company will either offer to cover your car repairs costs, cover the cost to replace your vehicle, or offer you much less than you need.
Suppose you aren't comfortable or confident in negotiating with insurance adjusters to reach an ideal outcome. In that case, Bruscato is ready to negotiate on your behalf and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Lastly, if you cannot resolve your claim with the insurance company, you will probably need to file a lawsuit. Litigation can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. Also, you will likely have to give a deposition. Going to trial is not likely, but if you do need to file a lawsuit, an experienced car accident attorney can help you through the process.
Speak to a Non-Injury Car Accident Lawyer in Monroe, LA Today
Even if you don't notice any physical symptoms from your car accident, I recommend waiting several weeks before finalizing your settlement details. In some cases, the onset of injury symptoms is delayed—especially in traumatic brain injuries (TBI), soft tissue damage, or herniated disk injuries.
Whether you decide to handle the car accident claim by yourself, with a repair shop, or with a car accident attorney, you will need to go through the structured settlement process to seek compensation for your property damage claim.
Bruscato Law Firm specializes in personal injury cases, car accident cases, wrongful death cases, workers' compensation cases, and more.
Call Bruscato today at 318-855-1613 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your non-injury auto accident claim.