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Do You Have to Sue the Other Driver After a Car Accident?

You have read about what to do after getting into an accident to help your chances of physical and financial recovery. Such advice is beneficial whether you get into a major collision or a minor fender bender. Some steps you may wholeheartedly embrace, but perhaps one of them really bothers you: litigation.

Do you have to sue the other driver after you get into a car accident? Maybe you are a noncontentious person who wants to avoid court battles and go your separate way. Perhaps you are a very understanding and forgiving person and knew the incident was truly an accident, so you do not want to go after the driver. Or maybe you just do not want to deal with the headache and cost of a lawsuit.

Regardless of how you feel, remember that the issue is not seeking revenge or even making the other driver pay. The real purpose of getting a lawyer involved is to ensure that the insurance companies properly compensate you.

The purpose of insurance

The point of having insurance is to not have to pay for the high cost of emergencies out of pocket. Insurance is meant to protect you whether you are a victim or at fault. In a motor vehicle accident, you rely on your insurance provider first to cover related expenses. You also pursue reimbursement from the other driver’s provider if the person has insurance. (If not, a personal lawsuit is unlikely to be effective.)

Insurers do not want to pay, however, and have many ways of getting out of giving you what you are eligible to receive. Legal representation encourages them to cooperate to avoid litigation. You can often negotiate a settlement outside of court.

The costs of an accident

Suing may be unpleasant now, but much more unpleasant is facing the financial consequences of an accident later. You will have to repair or perhaps replace your vehicle. You have to pay for medical bills and any necessary long-term care. You also need to recover lost wages from being unable to work temporarily or permanently. Lawsuits are not about hurting the other party but about securing for yourself the money you need to deal with the effects of the accident.