When Should I File a Car Accident Counterclaim?
Many car wrecks involve two parties. In some cases, parties may share fault. In other situations, parties may place blame on each other and deny any responsibility.
After a crash where both parties have insurance, one party’s insurance company will be the first to file a claim against the other party’s insurance company. The claim is meant to recover damages from the collision, such as medical and property damage costs. Yet, just because one insurance company files first, does not mean that the other party’s insurance cannot pursue a counterclaim. In some cases, it may be necessary to file a counterclaim.
A counterclaim is filed in response to a claim that states a party is at fault for a car accident. If Driver A’s insurance files a claim against Driver B’s insurance, Driver B’s insurance could turn around and file a counterclaim. A counterclaim basically combats what the original claim suggests.
A counterclaim may say that the original claim was completely wrong or may seek to clarify the truth of what happened to cause the crash. A counterclaim may even reveal that both drivers were partially at fault, rather than one driver being 100 percent negligent.
What is the Benefit to Filing a Counterclaim?
Filing a counterclaim makes sense for drivers who did not cause an accident but who are accused of being at fault. Even though a driver’s insurance will pay a claim rather than the driver having to pay out-of-pocket expenses, the result could be expensive and frustrating for the driver. Insurance companies that have to pay claims often raise drivers’ rates or ban drivers from having coverage with the same provider in the future.
Another benefit to filing a counterclaim is to avoid being held responsible for a crash. Washington, D.C. follows the rule of pure contributory negligence when it comes to car accidents. Pure contributory negligence lays the blame squarely on one party, which means that party has to pay for all damages. This is true even if both parties are responsible for the crash. A court must decide who is more at fault, at which point that party will have to pay for everything.
What Evidence Do I Need for a Counterclaim?
Having enough evidence for a counterclaim can be tricky. For that reason, parties interested in filing counterclaims should gather as much information as they can to prove their cases. Information could include photos or videos taken at the accident scene, medical documents, police reports, witness statements, and other valuable discovery pieces.
Should I Hire a Lawyer if I am Filing a Counterclaim?
It may not be essential for a car accident victim to hire a lawyer to file a counterclaim. Insurance companies may automatically file counterclaims, even if the crash caused only moderate damages
Nevertheless, seeking the advice of a car accident lawyer may be advisable if the stakes are higher. Seriously injured crash victims seeking extensive monetary damages will probably want to at least have an initial consultation with a lawyer. That way, the injured party can determine how to go about filing a counterclaim quickly and effectively.
Counterclaims often have to be made within a small window of time after a claim is filed, so time plays an important factor. Having a knowledgeable lawyer review the case can be a huge asset and relief.
Washington, D.C. Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Car Crash Victims with Counterclaims
If you were seriously injured in a car accident and the other party is placing blame on you, it is beneficial to hire a lawyer. Our Washington, D.C. car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King give our clients advice on counterclaims. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 202-331-1963. Located in Washington, D.C., we serve clients throughout Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, and Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.