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Who to Sue in Small Claims (Driver or Insurance Company).

Moreno Valley, CA |

My wife was in an accident 3 months ago, it wasn't her fault and now the person's insurance is trying to settle with us. We are seeking $3500 in damages, doctor bills, time off work for injuries, etc. The want to settle for $2000 which isn't close to what we have paid. They will not budge on this amount. So my question is who do I sue to get my $1500? The person that hit us or the insurance company, since they are the ones controlling the settlement?

thanks in advance.

Will small claims allow any pain and suffering? She got whip lash from being rear ended. The $3500 is our out of pocket expenses. Since I am in California and the limit is $5000 for Small Claims, should I just ask for $5000 with $1500 pain and suffering? Thanks again for all the advice!

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Attorney answers 4


You sue the person that hit your wife. You will serve the complaint on that person and, just in case, also send a copy to the insurance company to make sure they cover the claim.

The above answer should not be considered and does not constitute legal advice. You should not rely on any of this advice because each case is fact specific and could be subject to different local, state, and federal laws. No attorney-client relationship exists based on this response.


I agree with the other attorney


You sue the person who hit your wife, not the insurance company. The insurance company has a duty to defend and indemnify its insured. If the insurance company does not fully pay for the damages you can prove, then you can also collect against that person individually.


You sue the other drive who will have to personally appear in court and defend their actions. No lawyers allowed in this phase of a small claims case. The maximum that you can win in small claims court in California is now $7,500.

Before taking this step, however, it would be prudent to speak with a personal injury lawyer in your area to determine whether the value of your wife's case may go significantly beyond the $7,500 threshold. Most personal injury attorneys will offer a free consultation.

Please see links below for more information regarding Small Claims Court in California.

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