Defendant's Answers to Interrogatories stated there was another owner. Now my attorney's office tells me that the insurance company is saying another person was listed erroneously and that the other person who owns the car is a lienholder. I don't trust I am getting truthful information. What documents should I be asking to see? I do not plan on trusting any kind of hearsay as the insurance company's opposing counsel is looking out for the protection of their defendant and not me. How are the following documents obtained: 1) Registration with DMV; 2) Certificate of Title document? What about sales doc & loan contract? Have I left anything out that should be searched? Is it worth doing insurance search at ML Research company for insurance policies on both of these owners?
Importantly, in the State of California can a lien holder be held liable for personal injuries whereas the insured driver does not have enough coverage for my injuries and losses? Must they be listed on the registration in order to be liable? My medical losses are still ongoing as I was just notified by my spine doctor, I may require a surgery for a synovial cyst of the lumbar spine that has developed due to the accident. I had MRI one month after accident and it didn't show any facet cyst, had another MRI recently due to a lot of ongoing pain, and now it does 1.5 years later. Spine doctor tells me it was caused by the impact. I was hit hard and at high speed from behind. 100% fault of other driver. Not sure my legal case is being properly handled.
DMV or Lexis search is easy.
You have an attorney -- you should rely on your attorney. An owner of an automobile is only responsible for up to $15K for personal injury damages, $5K for property damage, except under very limited circumstances which your question does not implicate. A claim in excess of those limits is against the driver, not the owners.
If the owners have insurance, they will have at least these minimum limits. You gain nothing by your efforts. You could prove 100 owners and the results would be the same; the maximum liability for all is the same as liability for one.
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I share Mr. Daymude's views; you need to trust your attorney to do this work. If you don' trust your attorney, I'd encourage you to find one that you do trust. Insurance companies are experts at clouding the issues and hiding facts that don't favor them: you need someone with matching expertise on your side. This is especially so where there is subtle medical evidence like in your case.
Personal Injury Lawyer
Mr. Daymude hit the nail on the head. Talk to your attorney. As far as owners' liability, unless there is a basis to hold them vicariously liable as an employer or liable for negligently entrusting the driver with the vehicle, the owners' will have limited liability as provided in the vehicle code (limit of $15,000). ML Research provides policy limit information. ML Research is helpful, but not as reliable as the interrogatory answers regarding insurance and the policy declaration page that your attorney will get in discovery. Your attomey can request vehicle ownership information from the DMV as well to confirm who was the registered owner on the date of the collision.
Potentially as a permissive user or negligent entrustment. Check into all possibilities.
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