I was wondering is there any way I can sue this man or his insurance for more than what his insurance offers ($15,000), because I feel the situation he has put me in for the rest of my life is worth more than what is being settled.
A personal injury lawyer can investigate all possible coverage, and you can ask the prosecutor for restitution. Avvo has a great "find a lawyer" tool to locate a local lawyer. Good luck.
First and foremost, if the injuries are severe enough -- and a lifetime of damages certainly fall into that category -- you should seek the assistance of an attorney if you haven't done so already. Having said that, if the other side has only $15,000 in bodily injury liability insurance, and if the insurance company is offering the entire policy, then there isn't much more you can do against the insurance company. If you have underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) on your own policy in excess of $15,000, then you can make a claim against your own UIM policy for the balance. If the drunk driver has income or assets, you can try (again, with the assistance of counsel) to investigate whether it is worth going after him for the balance of your damages, but that is usually a difficult, cumbersome process with no guarantees of successful outcome. Again, this is a situation that is best handled with the help of a lawyer. And if you have a competent lawyer, then you should listen to his or her advice. Best of luck to you.
This response is based on limited information. It is not meant as and does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
You can sue the driver for more than his coverage but his insurance company can never pay you more than his $15,000 policy limit. Do you happen to have under-insurance motorist coverage on your motorcycle? If not, that may well be all you'll be able to collect. People that drive around with minimal insurance coverage usually do not have assets they need to protect.
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You don't have to. Contact the City attorney's office in Van Nuys and indicate to them you were a victim of the crime and when the defendant is sentenced, he'll be ordered to pay victim's restitution.
Please bare in mind, this isn't a winfall for you. You'll have to show damages.
I am licensed attorney who focuses on Serious DUI Cases such a 2nd DUIs, 3rd DUIs, 4th DUIs, and Felony DUIs and DMV hearings. I also have much experience handling car accident cases. Although the information I provide is helpful, it is not legal advice. Although Avvo makes it clear to consumers that attorney answers to questions are for general purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship, some attorneys prefer to add their own disclaimers to answers. You can set your custom disclaimer here and it will be automatically added to your answers. Do NOT include any direct solicitations or contact information.
First of all, I must respectfully disagree with some of what my colleagues have said. The insurance carrier can and must pay you more than the amount of a verdict of you demand the $15,000 policy limit, the carrier declines to pay it, and you end up with a verdict for more than $15,000. You didn't say whether you've demanded the policy limit and what your injuries truly are, so more information would be needed before anyone could advise you whether making a policy limit demand would be advisable, and what risks you may face in doing so by way of creating a binding contract for a $15,000 settlement, which it sounds like you are not interested in.
The second issue is that nobody has mentioned that you ought to have competent counsel or an investigative firm run a full asset check on the defendant. Sometimes you find that a defendant owns property or other investments, or business ownership interests, that you will not know about absent a full search. If you do end up settling, you need to have the other driver
Third, if you do elect to settle for the $15,000 policy, you should have the other driver sign a sworn declaration attesting to all of his assets - competent counsel can provide such a declaration. That way if you settle in reliance on the representation that only a $15,000 policy is available, and find later the other driver actually does have (and was perhaps hiding assets), you'll have sworn evidence in the form of a declaration under penalty of perjury that you may be able to use to sue him for fraud to collect additional sums.
Finally, in some DUI matters, where there is a bona fide conviction, and sometimes based on the driver's history, you can sue for your actual damages but also seek punitive damages.
You need a thorough lawyer to look into all of this for you.
This is an informal response based upon limited information and should not be relied upon by anyone reviewing it as proper legal advice. It is intended only to provide preliminary information on the subject of the user's inquiry, and applies only California law. Legal counsel should be retained to provide specific advice based upon a full examination of the facts and the law applicable to any particular case. Neither Paul N. Philips nor The Law Offices Of Paul N. Philips, APLC agrees by this post or by participation on this site to act as anyone's attorney until a formal retainer agreement has been signed. For more information please visit www.pnplegal.com.
You don't have to accept it but the carrier may not pay anymore money. You have limited options though. If they haven't offered the policy limits you can try and open the policy. Maybe the driver was within the course and scope of employment and you can bring his employer in for additional coverage.
Get an excess judgement and wait 25 years to collect. Get restitution for your economic losses only.
Don't let your attorney sell you out just so he doesn't have to do any work to make his $5k
Your first step should be to hire an attorney to investigate all of the issues mentioned above by my colleagues. This process can be overwhelming; best to have an attorney you trust to act on your behalf. Good luck to you.
You can certainly sue him for more than the insurance limit of $15K. However, do you know if he has any assets? If, not, you may be going to court for an uncollectible judgment.
Do you carry underinsured motorist coverage? If you do, you can certainly make a claim against your own insurance as well.
Also, if the insurance company is not willing to settle with you for the full $15K, I would immediately retain an attorney. But do not let the insurance company delay settlement. In California, you have two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. This is the statute of limitations, and your claim will be time barred if you attempt to file after the two years is up. If you were hit last May and you still have not settled, it sounds like the insurance company may be trying to stall your claim.
I would at least consult an attorney for now. Good luck.
Short answer is maybe. There are a few tricks to finding more money, I would get a lawyer and have them investigate.
It is always best to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney. Like the other answers stated, you would be able to open an underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance if you have coverage for UM/UIM. You can also perform an investigation into the other driver to see whether he has significant assets. In the event that he or she does, you could proceed forward to seek a direct contribution from the other driver. Good luck.
Complain to the stooges in the State Legislature and their corruptors in the insurance industry. Those despicable policy limits were in effect when I became a lawyer 35 years ago when $15,000 would buy a beach front cottage in Ocean Beach. You can sue the drunk for actual and punitive damages but you'll need to investigate the drunk's earnings and assets to assess the likelihood of recovering. I got a large judgment by default against a drunk for one client and I've never seen a cent and there was no insurance.
!5.000 is the policy limits and the insurance company is offering it up. You can sue impersonally beyond the policy limits but usually that's worth very little if anything. Restitution from the DA should have been ordered and you should talk to the DA about those damages. Good luck to you. I hope this helps you?
Sorry to hear about your accident. Did you have an attorney represent you in this case? Your case demonstrates how low insurance coverage is often not worth its weight on paper. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage through your own policy, your attorney should be able to trigger that coverage to win you more compensation. Other than that, there really is no way to increase your compensation, and suing the driver personally is not likely to yield a successful result (unless the driver is independently wealthy and has assets). Good luck with your case.
You should talk to an attorney. If the driver's policy limit is only $15,000 then that is the most you are going to get out of his insurance company. You could sue the driver BUT before you do that, your attorney has to do an investigation to find out whether the driver has any significant assets. If he does not, it's not going to be worth going forward with a lawsuit against him.
In addition, your attorney should contact YOUR insurance company to find out if you have underinsured motorist coverage and if your UIM coverage is triggered i.e. the liability policy limit of the driver is LESS than the uninsured motorists limits provided by your policy. Your underinsured motorist coverage can be used to compensate you (medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.) that exceed the driver's auto insurance policy. If the liability policy of the driver has been exhausted, the driver does not have significant assets, your underinsured motorist policy has high limits and is triggered then it is advisable to go after your own insurance company for compensation instead of the driver.
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