A Car Just Crashed Through Your Living Room: What Are Your Legal Rights Here?
You and your family were just sitting at home, minding your own business, when a car suddenly burst through your wall and scared the wits out of everyone. Nobody was seriously hurt, but you now have a large hole in your home and a variety of other property damage to fix. What are your legal rights here? Can you sue the driver? Or will their insurance cover it?
There Are Limits To Insurance Policy Coverage
The good news is that the driver's insurance policy will pay for much if not all, of the damage to your home. However, there are limitations here. For example, auto insurance companies will only pay for damage up to the worth of the vehicle. So if the car was worth $10,000, and the crash caused $30,00 worth of damages, you'd get a check for only $10,000.
In this instance, a lawsuit may be necessary, but not against the insurance company. An auto insurance company never has to pay anyone more than the value of the insured car, which would cause your lawsuit to get thrown out of court almost as soon as it started.
Suing The Driver Is Possible
So the person at fault has a junker and you aren't going to get enough money to pay for your damages. At this point, suing them is probably necessary. How much money could you possibly get out of this lawsuit?
You could obviously ask for money to cover the rest of the repair costs, but you could also pursue more for any emotional duress you suffered when the car burst through your home or any medical treatment that was necessary for injuries caused by the crash.
Negligence Must Be Proven
Before you try to sue the person who ran into your home, you have to make sure you can prove they were driving in a negligent manner. This is important because it will prove that the person driving was truly at fault in the situation, which will make your lawsuit stick. Driving negligence must be documented by evidence, such as eyewitness testimony or pictures, proving that the driver was:
- Driving in a dangerous way, such as swerving or performing "stunts"
- Failing to follow traffic laws
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Ignoring and breaking speed limits
Negligence is more complex if the accident occurred due to a breakdown of the vehicle. Sometimes, the owner is responsible for an accident if they didn't manage the upkeep of their vehicle. For example, if their brakes went out at a stop sign and they drove past it and into your home, they are at fault for not maintaining their brakes.
That said, manufacturers can also be held responsible if a manufacturer error led to the accident. Unfixed errors are the fault of the car company and you can sue them for the damage caused to your home. This is especially true if the company knew about the error and didn't fix it. However, if the vehicle was under a recall and the driver didn't get the car fixed, they are at fault, as car companies will fix recalled vehicles free of charge.
As you can see, car accidents of this type are complex and tricky to manage. That's why you should call a professional personal injury lawyer (such as one from Walsh Fewkes Sterba) immediately. While you may not have been physically harmed in the accident, these lawyers can still help sort through the complexities of the legal matter.