Yes, you can sue the driver, but chances are if he's underinsured and his insurance has only the minimum $5,000, coverage, chances are, he won't be easy to collect from him directly. But the good news is that you can sue in Small Calims court on your own, and any judgment you get against him, even if not immediately collectible, accrues interest at the post-judgment rate of 10% and is good for 10 years and renewable for successive 10 year oeriods, so it's a good investment, assuming the driver is young and will evenutally own real property and/or have a big bank account and/or a good job.
Your lost time and aggravation aren't compensable, they're just the unfortunate inevitable byproducts of being in an accident.
Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Yes you can but why? If a person is not insured properly, chances are they don't have anything to protect. Having a judgment is only 1/3 of the process--collecting on the judgment is where the fun begins! If a person has nothing, then having a judgment means nothing if you can't collect on it. Even if a person has some assets, collecting against individuals is simply way too hard and time consuming to be worth the process.
I hope this helps-
Disclaimer: I am a lawyer licensed in the State of Illinois only, and I am not your lawyer (unless you have been in my office and signed a contract). This communication is not intended as legal advice, and no attorney client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice. This is for entertainment purposes only.
Even if you accept the insurance money, they are likely going to insist you sign a release, thereby releasing the party at fault. They want to protect their client so they will probably insist on that before cutting you a check.
You should consult your own insurance agent to determine whether your policy includes coverage for underinsured motorists. Typically, your policy will provide you coverage when you are in an accident where the party at fault is uninsured or underinsured. If you do not have such coverage, you are probably out of luck. You can sue the other driver for the property damage to your car and the cost of a rental car, which is known as damages for loss of use. You cannot recover for inconvenience or aggravation. As long as you are willing to sue for $7500 or less, you can proceed in small claims court without an attorney.
Disclaimer: I am an attorney licensed in California only and so I am not familiar with the law in other states, which may be different. My advice is general. Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without an office consultation and review of all the facts and documents. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. Therefore, you cannot rely on this answer as definitive.
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