Skip to main content

My father's legally parked car was hit by a drunk driver. The driver then tried to leave the scene and hit/went through a fence.

Pittsburg, CA |

My father has liability only coverage and the other driver has a $5k property damage limit to her insurance. We have to share the $5k with the other party involved. They will be made whole due to their property insurance. We only get a small portion of what we think the car is worth. What recourse do we have? Is there something we can do or are we SOL?

Attorney Answers 10


  1. You will only be paid a pro rata share of your damages, as the policy limits have to be shared equally by all claimants. However, assuming the amount of your damages is less than $10,000.00, you can always pursue the matter in small claims court. Be sure to ask the judge for your costs at the end of the hearing; and though you should prevail in court, you may have some difficulty collecting the judgment. Best of luck!

    Information posted or made available on or through the Site, including without limitation any responses to legal questions posted in Avvo Q&A, information provided in Avvo Legal Guides, and any other comments, opinions, recommendations, answers, analysis, references, referrals or legally related content or information (collectively "Legal Information") is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship between you and any attorney. Such Legal Information is intended for general informational purposes only and should be used only as a starting point for addressing your legal issues. It is not a substitute for an in-person or telephone consultation with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction about your specific legal issue, and you should not rely upon such Legal Information. You understand that questions and answers or other postings to the Site are not confidential and are not subject to attorney-client privilege.


  2. I agree with Mr. Vargas. If you decide to file a small claims suit against the person, MAKE SUE YOU DON'T SIGN ANYTHING with the other driver's insurance company, specially a Release/settlement agreement.


  3. Legally, your liability claim against the responsible party is not limited by the insurance policy. Hypothetically you could sue the drunk driver for every penny. That is the leverage that you have to insist on more of the $5k given that the other claimant has other insurance. Fairness dictates that since the other person will be made whole, you get a much higher share of the limited auto liability insurance. If the insurance company and/or the other party do not agree to give you more, then you can refuse to settle. More than likely, the other damaged party cannot receive any money from the other insurance until they know how much the he will get from the auto policy. The insurance company wants to settle the claim and close the file. So if they refuse to give you more, simply refuse to settle. Eventually they will soften. You could put even more pressure on them by filing suit. Of course, all of this is much easier if you have legal representation, but that may not be very practical.

    Good luck.


  4. I don’t know what the insurance companies portion of the damages as between personal property, the vehicle and the fence is but it sounds like the car has more damage than the fence I would guess. The car is $7500 and the fence was $2500 and you think you should get 75% of the $5000 policy. In addition you can sue the drunk driver and the owner of the vehicle. You can sue in small claims court for $10,000. Get an estimate of the vehicle and see what the damages are.

    If you have found this information helpful, please let the attorney know by marking best answer. Thank you. This participating Attorney does not warrant any information provided, nor are we creating an Attorney-Client relationship by providing said information to you on this site. Nothing contained herein is intended to constitute, offer, induce, promise, or contract of any kind. The content provided is presented as a courtesy to be used only for informational purposes and is not represented to be error free. The Law Offices of John N. Kitta makes no representations or warranties of any kind with respect to its answer to inquiries, and such representations and warranties are being expressly disclaimed. Given limited facts, we are attempting to share relevant information concerning this area of the law as a public service.


  5. I'm not sure if Victim's of Crimes pays property damage claims but you can submit a claim. Also, you might contact the District Attorney who is prosecuting the case, and ask if there is any restitution order.

    Marc Lazarus
    www.russellandlazarus.com
    (800)268-9228


  6. Simple, assuming that the driver was arrested contact your local police department or the local prosecuting attorney, explain that your father is a victim and provide them with the total cost of your loss. Most often the court will require, as a term of criminal probation, that the offending party pay restitution. Good luck.

    Contributions to AVVO.com do not establish an attorney-client relationship.


  7. You dont have to share the 5k. Just go and sue the deft for your property damage. If less then 10k, sue in small claims.


  8. I agree with the other answers. In the future, your father should carry full coverage including collision and I advise my clients to carry 300 K or 500 K at least in liability and uninsured motorist coverage because the cost is not that much more and it may save you if one of you gets hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver.


  9. Many of the post missed on this one. Your BEST remedy is to contact the DA prosecuting the DUI and advise of your damages and that you want a restitution hearing. The judge can order the other driver pay you the full damages as a condition of the sentencing.