There are a lot of questions that would need to be answered to help you figure out what steps to take next. What are you trying to sue for? Do you have any physical injuries? Did the at-fault drunk driver that hit your friend's car have insurance? If so, the first order of action would be to exhaust the insurance resources of the negligent driver. The negligent party's policy will specify how much is available in total and to each person individually. It's also possible that you can collect from the driver if he has Uninsured Motorist coverage. It's difficult to say whether with the facts you presented here whether it would be worth your while to take your friend to small claims court. Listen, I would immediately contact a New York personal injury attorney and consult with them about your case. There are a lot of great ones advertising here on Avvo or you can search on your own.
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Assuming you have injuries then it sounds like you could prove liability. You would want to sue the other driver as well. Best of luck.
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You should sue both the drunk driver and your friend. Both insurance companies can fight out who pays you, but you are entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney ASAP. I offer free 30 minute consultations in long island. Good luck
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It seems as though you have 2 questions to answer, but only one can be answered in this forum.
As to the legal possibilities presented by this scenario, it sounds as though you do certainly have a potential claim. As a passenger you are free from fault in this scenario, so whether it was your friend who is determined to be at fault, the drunk driver, or some combination of the two you will be able to recover 100% of the value of your loss. The question is whether you have any injuries which would make a claim worth pursuing.
Here in NY you need to prove that you have sustained a "serious injury" before you can recover any money in a motor vehicle accident. This is due to our no-fault coverage system, which will cover all of your medical bills, time out of work and out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the accident. You haven't mentioned much about what happened to you so we can't really opine as to that issue, but the truth is it is most likely impossible to tell whether your injuries are "serious" at this early stage unless you have a broken bone.
The second question is whether you feel comfortable suing your friend - and that is simply one we can't help you with. I guess that depends on your relationship with this person and how strongly you feel about what has happened to you as a result of this accident. To a certain extent, if you are really hurt you don't necessarily have a choice. Many people would be understanding, but there is obviously no guarantee as to that. It is not as if you are looking to take $$ out of your friend's pocket as any settlement will be covered by insurance, but being sued can be upsetting.
For what it is worth, given that you were a passenger, your vehicle flipped over 4 times and you were immediately taken to the hospital, you have the makings of a good claim. I suggest you contact a local attorney as soon as possible. You can find one right here on Avvo.
The aforementioned opinion does not constitute legal advice and is for general educational purposes only. See an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction for competent legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been formed through the within legal question and answer session.
From your description, it's obvious that both your friend and the other driver were negligent, which lead to the accident. As a passenger in a car, you have the expectation that your driver will drive reasonably and carefully. If you were seriously injured, it's not unreasonable for you to hold your friend (as well as the other driver) accountable for their actions. We've represented many clients over the years who have sued friends and/or family. Each situation is different--some people are upset about being sued, but many people recognize that they were at fault and the injured person, like yourself, is entitled to compensation for your pain & suffering, lost time from work, medical expenses, etc... Most people also recognize that insurance will cover most claims. If you seek compensation for legitimate serious injuries, you should have any hesitation about making a claim and should immediately consult with your own attorney. Call us!
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