Who Do I Sue After a Car Accident - The Driver or Insurance Company

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Suing After a Car Accident

Understanding whether you should sue the car insurance company or the negligent driver after a car accident is a very common question, and rightfully so because the entire lawsuit process can be very confusing to individuals who are not well versed in the legal and insurance industries.

So picture this, 

you were just in a car crash. A reckless driver slammed into your car while you were stopped at a red light.

This individual was obviously not paying attention, and now you are not only left with a damaged, or even totaled, vehicle, but you are physically injured and in the need of medical treatment.

You shouldn’t be responsible to pay for this right? 

Right.

Well then who do you sue? What are the first steps you need to take? These are all important questions, and they will each be answered in this blog.

Every car accident is different, and different scenarios can result in different plans of action and outcome. So keep in mind that this is a guide, but to get specific information about your car accident and your individual needs you will need to schedule a free consultation with an expert car accident attorney.

Determining Liability

First and foremost, it is essential to without a doubt determine and prove fault in the car accident. This means pictures, witness statements, and most importantly, a police report.

This evidence is essential to proving your innocence so the at fault person's insurance company can not argue who is at fault and weasel their way out of paying you the damages that you deserve.

Working with an attorney will help, and they will do most of the legwork to ensure that you receive your compensation for being the innocent victim in this auto accident. 

Negotiating with the Insurance Company

Before you "sue" anyone, it is wise to try to settle the case outside of court. If you hire a professional and experienced personal injury lawyer to help fight for your rights after an accident, they can typically handle all of the negotiations with the insurance company and get you the settlement you need without taking the case to court. 

Although, if it does come to that, make sure you find a lawyer that is willing and able to continue to represent you and fight for your needs. 

During negotiations, your attorney will collect evidence to present to the at-fault driver's insurance company.

This will consist of proving fault, the cost of medical bills, treatments, miscellaneous expenses, time missed at work, and pain and suffering. These categories will be totaled into one large sum and presented as the first settlement offer.

Typically the first offer will not be accepted and negotiations will ensue. At this point, it is important to let your attorney do their job and get you the amount of compensation that you need.

Suing the Reckless Driver

Many states will not allow individuals to sue the car insurance company directly, which means victims sue the driver who caused the crash and their insurance coverage helps them pay for the damages they caused. So in a way, you are kind of suing them both, the driver is at fault, but their insurance company is the one paying out the settlement. 

Individuals have car insurance for these exact types of situations. Most people will not have the cash on hand to pay for your damaged vehicle, medical bills, missed time at work, on-going treatments, and pain and suffering.

Therefore, people pay their car insurance company every month, so if they find themselves being held responsible, their insurance company can help back them up and bail them out financially. 

What If the Driver Does Not Have Car Insurance? 

In an instance where the driver you intend to sue does not have auto insurance, things can get a little trickier. Not only is it illegal to drive uninsured, but now the driver does not have a way to pay out the money they owe you.

This usually leaves you with one of two options, option two being the better one. 

The first option is suing the careless driver that caused your accident directly. While this seems like a fine plan, in most cases, when a driver is uninsured, they typically do not have a lot of financial, or physical, assets that would permit them to pay you back.

So while you can file a suit against them, and even win, there is no guarantee that you will be able to ever collect on your winnings. 

Thankfully, that is why you have car insurance. Typically your insurance company will then become responsible for paying your medicals bills via the uninsured motorist clause in your policy. 

This is never the best option, which is why it is so important for every driver on the road to be insured.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney for Help

In conclusion, you should try to settle your auto accident injury case outside of court with negotiations, but if necessary, it is most common to file a lawsuit against the individual that caused the accident, and their insurance company will typically be responsible to pay the amount decided on by a judge or jury. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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