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I live in Ohio. Can I sue an uninsured driver for damages that may exceed any settlement with my insurance company?

Chesterland, OH |

I was rear ended by an uninsured driver with a .128 blood alcohol level. The driver was cited at fault and arrested. The driver spent several days in jail pending their court hearing. I filed an uninsured motorist claim with my insurance company...which is still pending. My auto was totaled and I am still recuperating from an injury. I am under medical care. Can I sue the at fault driver for any financial loss, medical bills, pain and suffering not covered by my uninsured policy settlement? My car was paid for. I now have the added expense of a new auto with higher premiums, and am not sure what the outcome of the injury will be. I know the driver owns a home in their name, and may own other property of value.

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Attorney answers 6


You should retain a local personal injury lawyer to handle your UM claim, as the insurance company is not your friend. The lawyer can let you know the best course of action to take.


You CAN sue the uninsured driver. But, the home and other property may or may not be exempt from execution and you may or may not be able to collect. Another attorney and I once obtained a $500,000.00 judgment which was totally uncollectable and the court document is a pretty piece of paper with a gold seal, but worthless as yesterday's newspaper.

Retain an experienced injury attorney in your jurisdiction to analyze and also to optimize your uninsured claim. Here's why: BLUE LINK BELOW

Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.


I'm sorry to hear about your accident. You do have a claim against the intoxicated driver. You may be able to collect punitive damages from him in addition to compensation for medical bills, lost income from work, pain, and physical limitations. However, there are many obstacles that make it difficult to recover against an uninsured driver. My office is in Cleveland. Let me know if I can help. 216-694-5209.


You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on dealing with many of the issues you are now facing. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on

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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.


Yes you can--in theory. But you don't want to put the cart in front of the horse just yet. First you have to navigate the claim with your own insurance company. I foresee some minefields ahead on that score if you continue to go it alone. In 25 years of handling insurance claims, I have heard "I'm calling you because I was in an accident and got nowhere with my insurance company" way too many times. I even wrote a book about all the "things" that can happen. Just go to and click on the book. It's free to Ohio residents. Hopefully it will arm you with info so you can decide whether to go it alone, and how to choose an attorney if you want to hire one. But yes, you can possibly sue the driver for losses not covered by your insurance. but you can also unwittingly signs those rights away. And colllecting from the drunk driver is another matter altogether...Good luck and hope your recuperation goes well.

Not intended as legal advice and no attorney client relationship is formed unless there is a signed agreement between attorney and client.


Your uninsured motorist insurance company has subrogation rights against the drunk driver, meaning that it can go after the drunk for anything they pay on your UM claim. If your UM carrier doesn't waive its subrogation rights before the statute of limitation expires, you will be required to sue the uninsured driver to protect your insurance company's rights. If you don't do this, you will be putting your UM coverage in jeopardy. As others answering your question have opined, even if you sue the drunk, it may be a hollow victory. If you don't have a lawyer, you should get one.
Tim Van Eman, Esq.

Please note: A response to a question on AVVO does not constitute an attorney client relationship.

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