After a motor vehicle collision, you may know that you need to take action in order to seek financial compensation for your losses, but you may be unsure about the actions you must take in order to be eligible for damages. While you might know that it is your responsibility to file an auto insurance claim or to initiate a lawsuit against the at-fault driver with assistance from your New Hampshire or Vermont car accident attorney, whose job is it to find damages after a car accident?
While the insurance company, the defendant, and the court all may be assessing damages for separate reasons, it is also important for you to work with your lawyer to find damages so that you know what a fair settlement might look like in negotiations and so that you can take steps to obtain the appropriate compensation that you deserve.
Reasons To Account For Losses In Vermont and New Hampshire Car Accidents
You should always work with your car accident lawyer in New Hampshire or Vermont to determine damages even if other parties will also be working to calculate damages in the case. To be clear, the insurance company—whether you file a first-party claim through your own insurance company or a third-party claim through the negligent driver’s insurer—will be calculating likely damages to determine the settlement amount to offer. If you file a lawsuit, the defendant will also likely be working with an attorney to calculate possible damages in order to make a settlement offer or to raise defenses like comparative negligence.
The following are reasons that you should always find or calculate likely damages in your case:
- You will be in a better position to negotiate with the insurance company and to ensure that you receive a fair settlement offer;
- If you file a lawsuit, you will be in a better position to negotiate with the defendant and to obtain a damages award that takes into account your losses;
- You will be prepared to address issues like comparative negligence.
Comparative Fault and Finding Damages After A Motor Vehicle Collision
How can the issue of comparative fault or comparative negligence affect the total damages you are expecting to receive? When you are working with your attorney to determine the likely amount of damages you could receive if you took your case to court, you will need to consider the possibility that the defendant will raise the issue of comparative fault or comparative negligence.
What is comparative fault (also known as comparative negligence)? This is a defense strategy that the defendant can raise if the defendant believes that you are also partially to blame for the car accident in which you got hurt or the severity of your injuries in the car accident. If the defendant can prove that you are partially at fault for the accident or for the severity of your injuries, your damages award could be reduced, or you could lose your ability to recover damages altogether. Yet just because a defendant raises the issue of comparative negligence does not mean that you will be impacted. You can work with your lawyer to prove that you are entitled to a full damages award.
How does comparative negligence work to reduce a plaintiff’s damages award or to bar a plaintiff from recovery? Both Vermont law and New Hampshire law use a “modified” comparative negligence rule that bars the plaintiff from recovery once the plaintiff’s fault reaches 51 percent (or, in other words, more than the fault of the defendant). With any fault of less than 51 percent (i.e., 50 percent at fault or less), the plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by their portion of the fault.
How Much Time Do I Have To Seek Damages After A Collision?
In order to seek damages through a car accident lawsuit, you will need to file your lawsuit within the time window set by the statute of limitations. In both Vermont and New Hampshire, car accident lawsuits seeking damages usually need to be filed within three years from the date of the motor vehicle collision.
Seek Advice From A New Hampshire and Vermont Car Accident Attorney
Anyone who has been injured in a motor vehicle collision in Vermont or New Hampshire should begin working with a traffic collision lawyer as soon as possible to begin the process of seeking financial compensation. Our Vermont and New Hampshire car accident lawyers can assess your case today, and we can begin the process of identifying potential damages in your case for purposes of negotiating with the auto insurer and seeking a fair damages award through a car accident lawsuit.
Whether you have questions about seeking damages in a car crash claim or you need assistance evaluating your possible damages and negotiating for a settlement or suing the at-fault motorist, our firm is here to assist you. Contact Sabbeth Law for more information about filing a claim and seeking damages for your losses.