What Are The Legal Consequences Of A Car Accident?

February 1, 2024

Car accidents can be traumatic experiences, leaving individuals not only physically and emotionally shaken, but also grappling with potentially life-changing legal consequences.  

Understanding the legal aftermath of a car accident is crucial for those involved. Even just going over the speed limit can get you arrested and change your life. 

So, what exactly are the consequences that someone can face after a car accident? Let us find out. 

1. Your Insurance Rates Will Increase

Car accidents often trigger a series of insurance claims. Parties on both sides involved typically file claims with their insurance providers to cover damages and medical expenses. 

However, if you are at-fault for an accident, your personal insurance rates will likely increase significantly. According to NerdWallet, an at-fault accident can increase your rates for at least three years, even if the accident was minor. 

Based upon this fact, you need to understand your insurance policy and work closely with your provider to seek the necessary coverage after an accident. Furthermore, you need to be aware of how much damage your insurance will cover after a lawsuit, since insurance may not cover the entire amount. 

2. You Can Be Subject To A Lawsuit

In cases where injuries occur, individuals may pursue personal injury claims against the at-fault party. This legal avenue seeks compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other related damages.

If you are an at-fault driver, you need to be prepared to deal with a potential lawsuit, since there can be long-term ramifications after a lawsuit is filed. 

And usually, personal injury claims often involve negotiations between attorneys, insurers, and the parties may escalate to court if a fair settlement cannot be reached.

3. You Can Receive Traffic Violations

If the car accident resulted from a traffic violation, legal consequences may extend beyond civil matters. 

Traffic violations such as reckless driving, speeding, or driving under the influence can lead to criminal charges, such as prison or community service. 

Law enforcement may issue citations or make arrests, initiating a criminal legal process separate from any civil proceedings.

4. You Can Face Criminal Charges And Penalties

In cases of severe negligence or misconduct, criminal charges may be brought against the responsible party. 

Driving under the influence (DUI), vehicular manslaughter, or other criminal charges can result in fines, license suspension, probation, or even imprisonment.

The severity of these consequences depends on the nature of the offense and applicable laws, as well as the state you are in. For example, Texas and Arizona have much harsher DUI laws as compared to New York and California. 

Should I Get Legal Representation?

Getting legal representation is often advisable for individuals navigating the aftermath of a car accident, whether it is your fault or not. For a minor fender bender, it is likely not necessary, but for an accident with severe damage and injuries, it is worth it to call an attorney. 

An attorney in Kent, Washington specializing in personal injury or traffic law can provide guidance, negotiate on behalf of their clients, and ensure their rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Be Aware Of The Legal Consequences Today

A car accident’s legal consequences are multifaceted, involving liability determinations, insurance claims, personal injury actions, and potential criminal charges. 

Navigating this terrain requires a clear understanding of legal processes and often benefits from the assistance of experienced legal professionals.

By being informed and proactive, you can better manage the legal aftermath of a car accident and work towards achieving a fair resolution from both parties involved. 

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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