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How do I get money from a personal injury case (someone broke my back) when my offender has no insurance?

Athens, GA |

A few months ago, I was over at a coworkers house and against my will, he picked me up on his shoulders, dropped me and broke my back. The result was major back surgery, hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses and months of pain and suffering.
I already have to live with this injury for the rest of my life, I don't want to spend the rest of my life paying off a debt for something somebody did to me. However, this guy has no insurance whatsoever and had no renter's insurance, I want to sue but who would I even sue? Is there any way I can get money somehow? Could I sue the landlord of his apartment?

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Attorney answers 10


You could try to sue the landlord, but it will probably not be successful. Consult a personal injury lawyer.

Were any criminal charges brought? Have you looked at the crime victims reparation fund?

As a last resource, bankruptcy may give you a clean slate.

Every legal matter is fact specific, and there are often nuances in every case. This is intended for comment only, and does not create an attorney client relationship.


First, just because you didn't find any insurance, doesn't mean there isn't any. Second, he is still responsible for your damages regardless of his insurance status. There is nothing to prevent you from suing him. If he has a decent income or assets, you will be able to recover a judgment against him.


I think it would be a big stretch to sue the landlord, but given that you have a severe injury, I would discuss with a local personal injury attorney. The fact that this happened a few months ago makes it a little harder filing a police report that will be given a lot of credibility. Some States do have victims of serious crime funds, but I believe you have to file a police report. I would file a police report and let them know you waited until after your surgery and recovery was over before filing. I am a bit unclear since you said in the beginning of the question the injury occurred at a coworkers house and then mention suing the landlord of his apartment. It may make a big difference, because if it is a rented house, the owner will have homeowners insurance.


Nothing in your post states a claim against the landlord so there is no claim stated (or, at least, not with a reputable lawyer not just out to try to extort a settlement, and not get tossed out of court). How was the landlord in any way involved? Your situation is unfortunate, but from your post the only person responsible is your co-worker who committed battery. You can sue, but if there is little or nothing to collect, it won't pay your bills. Did you have health insurance? You certainly should sit down with a good personal injury lawyer - there are many in Athens - and go over all the details.


Absent the landlord being negligent, there would not be a basis to pursue the landlord. You should sit down with a lawyer who will investigate the possibility of insurance you may not have found, plus the person's income and assets.

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You could sue the coworker, obtain a judgment against him and then have his paycheck and bank account garnished. I do not see any landlord breach of any duty here.

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Best bet is to have a local personal injury lawyer investigate


As the others have stated, there is not really much of a case against a landlord. If you were injured because of a dangerous condition at the complex, such as a loose hand-rail, you would, but not under the facts you have stated. You can also sue your co-worker, and garnish his wages and attach his assets. You may not collect much, or it may take forever, but that is an option. Since you mentioned the debt, you could also consider bankruptcy. I know it sounds unfair to have to file bankruptcy because of something some fool did to you, but is is a sure fire way of getting the debt off of you, which means you don't have to worry about paying them for the rest of your life. If you wan to consider a suit or bankruptcy, we could help you with either or both, and I have two offices within 20 minutes of Athens.

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The so-called friend who may have liability has no insurance and the landlord who presumably has insurance has no liability. Collecting a substantial judgment from a such a friend who acts like that and has no insurance is usually an exercise in futility. If push came to shove, he could bankrupt against the judgment. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this does not look at all promising.


Aside from what has already been said, another source of potential benefits would be your own insurance. If you have taken out any policies for accident, injury, disability, and sometimes even life insurance, you could potentially be entitled to some benefits you weren't aware of. Given the severity of your injury, best to leave no stone unturned. Also, you may want to consider getting a professional to take a thorough look into your co-worker's assets. There could be something there that you aren't aware of. Most importantly, though, to potentially put yourself in a position to recoup any of your pain, suffering or expenses, you would want to work with an attorney to consider the pros and cons of pursuing a claim against your co-worker. An attorney should also be able to help you evaluate your own personal insurance policies, potential options for financial assistance or relief with the medical providers and help you evaluate potential assets of your co-worker.

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