I am frequently asked, “What happens if I’ve been injured in a car accident but the accident was my fault?”

The first question I would have for you is, who said it’s your fault? Sometimes the police will reach the conclusion that an accident was someone’s fault, but that’s a different burden of proof than is required in a civil case or in a civil court, which is what we handle. Just because the police or an insurance company or someone else said an accident is your fault doesn’t mean it necessarily is.

That aside, let’s say that you have contacted an attorney and the attorney, after doing an analysis of the facts of your case has reached the conclusion that yes, in fact, this accident is your fault. The first thing you need to do is contact your insurance company. Your insurance company will handle the other party — the person that you hit — who brings a claim against you for injuries. That’s what you have insurance for. But if your question is, “I’m hurt; is there any way I can recover anything for my injuries if the accident was my fault?” the answer is probably no.

Hopefully you have something in your insurance policy called PIP coverage, which stands for Personal Injury Protection. If you have that, PIP coverage will pay for your medical bills that are reasonable, necessary, and related to the accident, even if the accident is your fault. So be sure to take advantage of that PIP coverage to get your medical bills paid.

If you don’t have PIP, hopefully you have health insurance that will help you with those medical bills. But as far as getting anything for your pain, your suffering, your disability, your loss of enjoyment of life, your lost wages, the damage to your car —any of those sorts of things, if the accident is your fault, unfortunately you aren’t going to be able to get any of those things. You can’t bring a claim against yourself. So if the accident is your fault, really PIP coverage is going to be your best option. Health insurance will be your second, and those will take care of your medical bills.

If you have any questions about an accident, it’s always the best idea to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney. Give us a call at 206-285-1743. Also be sure to check out our many free resources for accident injury victims.

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