Can I sue the driver of the car who hit me personally in addition to her insurance company?

Asked over 4 years ago - Pompton Plains, NJ

I was riding my bicycle when this woman didn't make a complete stop at a stop sign, ran me over and drove down the street and sat there. She sat there while 2 other passers by stopped and helped me out of the road. I am told she is 100% at fault. I don't own a car and therefore have no insurance. Due to the accident I can't work, have had knee surgery and will probably have to have hip surgery. Is it possible for me to sue her personally in addition to the lawsuit with her insurance? I am forced to borrow money to pay for prescriptions, transportation to doctors, living expenses, etc. I'm on the verge of becoming homeless. I can't wait years for a settlement. Doesn't she have some responsibility? Also, will this accident increase my cost for car insurance?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. John Morelli

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . When you sue someone who hits you, you are suing them personally. Insurance will cover them only to the policy limit that they have selected. If your damages exceed the policy limit coverage, you have the right to proceed against that person for whatever assets they may have. You should be aware that her insurance coverage for medical bills has changed in NJ. Personal Injury Protection Coverage used to be available to you in this type of case through her insurance company, but the law has now been changed. If you owned a car, your own insurance company would have paid your medical bills, but since you do not, you have the right to make that part of the claim against the other driver. Your claim for damages would include the pain and suffering you have undergone, any medical expenses that you incur and any loss of wages that you have. I would suggest that you obtain an attorney who would likely handle this case on a contingency fee basis. Finally, if you are not at fault, your cost for auto insurance should not be affected if you should purchase and insure a car. I hope this is of some help. Good luck to you.

  2. Pamela A Wilson

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . You would sue the person who hit you and their insurance company will either defend the lawsuit or try to settle the case. Get legal counsel so you don't settle for too little. You need the advice of an attorney so you know all of your rights and what damages they should have to pay you for. You will have to prove duty, breach, causation and damages which it sounds like will not be a problem. Be aware she will possibly claim you too were negligent.
    Disclaimer: It is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive legal consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. Consequently, this response does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship but is offered for general informational purposes only. Laws differ from state to state and each case turns on facts specific to the case and parties thereto, thus this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied upon as anything more than a starting point or suggestion that the questioner seek professional assistance from a practitioner in your state or county/parish, practicing in your area of law.

  3. Dennis Michael Phillips

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . Typically, an injury victim sues the driver and the owner of an at-fault vehicle. Hopefully, they carry adequate insurance to cover the victim's losses; but the claim is technically against the driver and owner, not against the insurer of the at-fault parties. If a victim has some sort of first party insurance of their own that refuses to pay benefits due, then it would be proper to sue that insurer.
    This incident should not cause your future auto insurance premiums to be higher, if it was not your fault.
    Consult with an attorney locally about this before getting involved; but there are companies out there (pre-settlement finance companies) that are in the business of providing living expenses to injury victims with no other source of income during the pendancy of their claims. However, this is very expensive money. When it comes time to pay them back from the proceeds of your claim, you may be paying back multiples of what you were advanced.

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