Suing, filing and collecting are different questions and have different answers. Yes you can sue in small claims court, if your damages don't exceed the minimum jurisdictional limits of the court, $15,000.00 in Florida. You sue by filing a lawsuit which if you pursue yourself can be done with forms available at the local branch county court near you. Collection is done after you gave a Final Judgement issued by the court at the end of your case if successful. It is not automatic and depends upon the availability of collectible assets, I.e. Those not exempt from creditors such as judgment creditors ( holders) due to many exemptions in Florida, like homestead, joint marital property, retirement plans, cash value life insurance holdings, etc. you won't know if someone is collectible usually until after judgement and you do discovery in aid if execution, it's the reason most lawyers will not take a case unless the defendant has insurance coverage for the loss they would sue for.
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If you were injured, you should retain a local personal injury lawyer to investigate. You may have UM coverage. Avvo has a terrific "find a lawyer" tool to locate a top-rated Avvo attorney with a low contingency fee. Good luck.
Yet again, the pitfalls of someone who represents themselves. Good luck.
Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff
Yes, however I would consult with an attorney for a free consultation prior to suing yourself
The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not considered to be legal advice.
If the man has assets, other than his homestead, then maybe you should simply contact him via certified mail with your demand for settlement. You might want to include a sentence or two requesting him to contact you within 10 days if he does not intend to send you the money. Most people would prefer to avoid litigation, especially if they are at fault. If you can't negotiate a settlement, then you should seriously consider getting a lawyer to help you, if you decide to litigate for anything over $5000, which would put you out of small claims and into either county court or circuit court. The rules of civil procedure are tricky even for us. They are impossible for non-lawyers, in my opinion.
It is an eye-opener to most people who have no idea how much Planning they can actually do in their Estate Plans. If interested, contact us to inquire about special low cost monthly financing of your estate planning fee. You may be very surprised at how affordable a comprehensive estate plan for your whole family can be. The above answers are not legal advice and should not be relied upon until you meet with an attorney and review all of your particular facts and circumstances. This forum does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Yes you can sue him in Small Claims Court. Keep in mind you are not entitled to ask for damages you have already received in your UM settlement. If you collected for UM, presumably many of your damages have already been paid; such as your pain and suffering, medical expenses, etc. You cannot collect twice for those damages. You could collect for your deductible to get your car fixed.
You definitely have the right to sue him in Small Claims Court. What you don't have a right to do is collect damages twice. For example, If you have already received compensation for damages such as medical expenses, you won't be able to collect those damages again. In the future it is best to consult a lawyer before accepting a settlement of any kind, a lot of times when people don't consult an attorney they miss out on compensation they are entitled to.
The elements of damages that you wish to recover should have been recovered by your attorney for you under your uninsured motorist coverage. When you settled with your UM carrier, you probably assigned any or all of your rights to your UM insurance carrier. I suggest you discuss this issue with your attorney. If you settled your UM claim without an attorney, you may wish to retain counsel to help explain to you where you stand.
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I would consult a local personal injury lawyer. The UM settlement is paid by your insurance company in lieu of a payment from the responsible party. The UM carrier may now have the right to sue in your name for what it paid you. You suing for anything might amount to a double recovery and that is not permitted under the law. Use Avvo find a lawyer feature to locate one near you to speak with.
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While you may have the right to sue for monies not paid by your insurance company, and get a judgement form the court, you may have trouble collecting from a wrongdoer. If the wrongdoer money is held jointly with a spouse, or his home is homestead property, you may be prevented from forcing a sale of those assets to pay your judgement. And retirement funds are seldom available for debsst like yours. In my opinion, in general, the short answer is probably not.
Assuming you had an attorney handling your uninsured motorist claim against your own auto insurance carrier, it would be best to consult with that attorney or another attorney regarding any personal injury claim against the at fault party. Additionally, the Release you executed with your own insurance company may dictate what rights you may or may not have to file a lawsuit against the at fault party. Lastly, as other attorneys have stated, filing the lawsuit, litigating the case, and obtaining a judgment are entirely different than actually collecting any money award from the at fault party. An attorney can likely review your documents and advise you on how to proceed, so it would be best to consult an attorney that will review with a free consultation.
You probably signed a release with your insurance company giving them the right to sue the other party. If so you will need their permission to sue him. However , collecting money from an uninsured person is usually very difficult unl;ess they have substantial assets.
If you obtain a judgment against the other party in connection with him not having insurance, DPS should revoke his driver's license UNTIL the judgment is paid and/or he files bankruptcy. You might want to confirm with DPS.
Assuming your current insurance company pain on your claim, you need to obtain permission from your own carrier so as to pursue the claim against the other driver to the extent of the amount it paid on your own policy.
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