Can I sue a driver who hit my motorcycle if her insurance is taking too long to pay

Asked about 2 years ago - North Hollywood, CA

I loaned my motorcycle to a friend who was legally riding it. She was hit on the freeway and there was a witness. The witness provided a statement to my insurance company the next day and my insurance determined the other party was 100 percent at fault. The drivers insurance company took 4 months to finally accept responsibilty, meanwhile the bike has accumalated storage fees at the shop they told me to bring it to for an estimate. Now that theyve finally contacted me they want to pay the minimum. Can I sue the driver and request, full compensation for the bike, storage fees, towing and punitive since I had to call the insurance company numerous times and speak to over 10 people to get anywhere.

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Paul Y. Lee

    Contributor Level 18

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, you can sue the other driver. As noted, if your claim is for less than $10,000, you can file the suit yourself (without an attorney) in the small claims court. You can seek compensatory damages such as storage fees and towing, but it is doubtful you will recover punitive damages. Good luck.

    This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not... more
  2. Frank Wei-Hong Chen

    Contributor Level 20

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, you can certainly file a lawsuit against the driver, which will hopefully be the impetus for a speedy settlement.

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is... more
  3. Catherine Elizabeth Bennett

    Contributor Level 15

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As my colleagues indicated, yes, you can sue the driver. The easiest thing for you to do, however, is to talk to your insurance company. Your carrier owes you a duty to repair your motorcycle, get it out of storage, etc. They also owe you a duty to deal with you in good faith.

    There is no third party bad faith in California--that means that the other driver's insurance company does not have to deal with you in good faith, quickly settle your claim, or anything else.

    While you can sue them, you have no grounds for punitive damages because there is no third-party bad faith in California. That is why, if there is no personal injury (you were not hurt) I recommend telling your carrier (in writing) about the difficulties you have had with the other driver's carrier and demanding that they fix your bike or pay you its full value, pay the storage and towing fees. Ask them to waive your deductible. Often they will do so. Insurance companies have a system of arbitration they use to collect between themselves, so your carrier will take care of you and then seek reimbursement from the other carrier.

    I am licensed only in California and this response is provided as general information only. It is not intended to... more
  4. Pius Joseph

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Depends on damages . A lawsuit may speed it up but can be expensive if it is just property damage claim. If Your claim is $10,000.00 or less you have an option to file a small claim and it will be decided in a single court hearing with a single Appeal.
    You may want to give any members of this forum a call so you can discuss which one is your better option.

  5. Andrew Ronald Gillin

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, you can sue the other driver. As previously indicated, if the damages are under ten thousand dollars, small claims court is the fastest way to go. Good Luck

  6. A Melissa Johnson

    Contributor Level 15

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unfortunately, many inurance adjustors fail to communicate with claimants. It seems as though you may have found one of those adjustors. You may sue the other driver for your property damage. If your property damage is $10,000.00 or less, you can sue in small claims court. However, you will not be able to recover punitive damages for your property damage claim.

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