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Can I sue someone personally if their policy does not cover everything.

La Habra, CA |

I will try to make this brief. I was in a serious motorcycle accident last June. I spent about a month hospitalized, had four surgeries (more are expected to remove internal hardware). I also lost my ability to return to my old job as well as the other typical hardships that one would expect (out of pocket expenses for med., care, ect.). The person that hit me was ruled as 100% responsible and is not trying to fight that. The Question; He only has a $100,000 policy and after doing several public records searches has determined he owns no private assets. My current lawyer is planning settling for only the insurance policy. Is this a typical decision? is there nothing else I can recover?

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Attorney answers 9


I'm sorry to hear about your accident and the ordeal you are going through. Under the circumstances, as you have briefly described them, I could see how you would have these questions (plus more, I'm sure). However, have you asked your lawyer to address these for you? I ask this because he/she is in the best position to discuss such matters with you, given that he/she is more familiar with your case than any attorney on this website.



Thanks for the response. I have discussed this with my current lawyer and his advise was that because he could not find any assets that the guy owned it would not be "worth it" to try for an "excess judgment". I have never dealt with anything like this before and this just wasn't the answer I expected him to give me. Is this a typical practice? or should I consider taking my case elsewhere?


If the other person appears to be judgment proof than your lawyer will recommend accepting the available policy. Then the lawyer should work the case from a different angle, taking that money and maximizing what goes to your net by negotiating down medical bills and/or insurance reimbursement claims. The attorney should also look for other avenues of recovery - roadway design issues, Uninsured motorist coverage, was defendant in course and scope of employment, etc...


Get in touch with your attorney and discuss with your attorney your questions and concerns.


We aren't here to undermine your bet is to schedule a sit-down appointment with him to discuss all your concerns.


First, let me express my sincere regret for the pain and suffering you are experiencing. You should be able to ask your current attorney if this is normal or not for your case.

View my website & give me a call for a FREE consultation if you are a California resident 877-427-2752 or you can email me at I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference


You need to make sure there is no one else that could possibly have contributed to the crash and could be a deft. For example, if a proerty owner let the landscape grow wild so visibility at the intersection was bad, and that led to you not seeing the deft or vice versa, the property owner could be partly at fault. If there was negligent maintenanceor repair of the other vehicle or even yours and that led to crash, the repair facility could be liable. You need to check for underinsured motorist coverage possibly available to you.


Do you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage greater than $100,000? If so, you would be able to invoke that coverage once you've exhausted the other person's policy limits.

In addition, is it possible that the at-fault driver was in the course and scope of his employment (i.e. on the job) when the accident occurred? If so, his employer's insurance would likely kick in.

Finally, are there any road defect issues that might put the city or state at fault?

I'm confident that your attorney has explored these issues but you might want to confirm this with him or her.

The link below goes into detail about underinsured motorist claims.

Good luck!


You need to have a discussion with your attorney about the nature of your case. Best of luck.


In addition to the good advice you have already received, you will want to get a certified copy of the declarations page of the oter party's insurance policy to confirm the $100K policy limit. Also get a declartion of assets signed by the other party where you can confirm they have no other policies of insurance to cover this accident (i.e. umbrella policy), and you can have the other party fill in the form under penalty of perjury that they have no other assets. Some are quite detailed and others are general. It just depends on what you can get the defendant to sign. You may need to get this document from an attorney.

I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.

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