Do I sue the person or the company of the person who hit me? 37 Answers as of February 21, 2012

I was hit from behind at a red light. Driver said I backed into him, which is not true. His ins. company said to sue the driver but they will defend him in a court case I want to file a small claim against him but I only have his name and policy# state farm refuse to give me any of the driver info. So I can sue him can I sue his ins. company where do I go from here? Please help! I'm lost as to what I can do.

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Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
You must sue the driver personally. At the scene of the accident, you should have received the driver's contact information. You should contact an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 7/5/2011
Law Office of William Justice Whitaker
Law Office of William Justice Whitaker | William J. Whitaker
Dear Sir/Madam: The simple answer is, you would need to file a lawsuit and then subpoena the records from State Farm to find out the persons address, then amend your complaint and serve him with the complaint.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 7/5/2011
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
This sounds like a good case: 1) Rear end collisions are good cases in that it is very hard to suggest that the driver who was rear-ended was at fault 2) There is a company actually on the hook for this - it is much easier to recover from a company than a person. 3) There's insurance. Same as above, it's easier to recover from an insurance company than an individual. That said, you should probably consult an attorney. I've often heard it said that the average settlement increases 3- or 4-fold if you get an attorney. Don't know for sure if that is true, but I can tell you that there are many cases in which the insurance company was making the client a very small offer or was refusing to pay out altogether until an attorney got involved. If you chose to go at this alone - again, not a good idea-then you will be suing the company, so the name of the driver may not even matter. However, they should be giving you the name. Also, you can get the police report by calling the police in the area where it happened, and giving them your name and the date of the accident. All the driver's information will be on the report.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 7/1/2011
The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
The company is most likely responsible for the driver's actions and they probably carry the liability insurance. However, if I was filing the lawsuit I would want to know the name of the driver and would want to sue him, along with his employer. He should have given you this information at the accident. He should also have had to file a DMV accident report. You should be able to find out the driver's name through either the DMV or through your insurance company. If you end up filing a lawsuit, State Farm would be required to give you the name of the other driver through the discovery process, then you can add that person as a defendant.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 6/30/2011
Allen Murphy Law
Allen Murphy Law | W. Riley Allen
In Florida, you cannot name the insurance company in a lawsuit. You would have to sue the driver and the owner of the vehicle.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/30/2011
    Martinson & Beason, PC
    Martinson & Beason, PC | Elizabeth Beason Moore
    You would sue the person who hit you. Do you have an accident report? The address etc. should be on the report. Otherwise, I would do a search for the address of the person.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    You sue the driver. Was there a police report? Should have his info. Might also suggest to the carrier that absent the information to locate their insured, you will have no recourse but to serve by publication. Service by publication has requirements for an attempt to serve and inability to locate. Your conversation with the carrier should be in writing, so you have documentation for the request. See the local law librarian for assistance re the articles for filing and service. The insurance company cannot "defend" him in small claims. The carrier is not a party and small claims is w/o attorneys.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You will need to find out where he lives so you can sue him.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    You can sue both. I suggest you consult with a personal injury attorney who may take on such a case in order to assist you. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You need the name of the driver or the owner of the car. You can sue either one or both. You'll need a plate number or information from a police report or that you obtained at the scene. Also, sometimes, when insurance companies write to you on automobile cases, they put the name of the "insured" in the subject lines of the letters. That person is usually the owner of the car.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Holzer Edwards
    Holzer Edwards | Kurt Holzer
    The person who caused the harm is the person sued. Only a few states allow a direct action against the insurance company. So sue the driver.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    You cannot sue the driver's insurance company, but you can sue the driver individually and his insurance company will defend the driver. If your damages are less than $5,000, then you can sue in small claims court and don't really need a lawyer, but I would still try to hire one.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Offices of Tom Patton
    Law Offices of Tom Patton | Thomas C. Patton
    Yes, you sue the driver. Try corresponding in writing with the insurance company - trade letters. They will usually include the driver's name in the subject line.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Offices of Earl K. Straight
    Law Offices of Earl K. Straight | Earl K. Straight
    You can only sue the driver of the car that hit you. His insurance company, at least in Texas, has no duties towards a third party, which is you in this case, so they cannot be a party to the suit. You may have to hire a private investigator to track down the other driver. Due to privacy laws, State Farm will not give you any information about their insured.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink | Steven Alan Fink
    You cannot sue insurance company so you have to sue him.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC
    Law Office of Travis Prestwich, PC | Travis Prestwich
    The claim would be against the other driver. His insurance company has a contract with him to defend him in any lawsuit and indemnify (pay out) any claims he is responsible to pay. No direct action can be made against the insurance company. Hopefully you have his license plate number or some information on which to go. Assuming you do, you should contact an attorney because even small claims can be handled by an attorney under statutes designed specifically for smaller claims.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Judnich Law Office
    Judnich Law Office | Martin W. Judnich
    This issue should not vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but in Montana, you have to file a lawsuit in the name of the actual person that hit you. You never include an insurance company as a defendant. This is because an insurance company indemnifies a person, they are not responsible for their actions. So, once you sue the actual person, the insurance company then has a contractual duty to hire an attorney for that person and ultimately indemnify them for an amount of money up to their policy limit of insurance. For more info on insurance subjects, please visit my insurance blog linked on our firm website.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    If there is a police report, his name should be there. Otherwise, hire an attorney who can find out the information he needs to file suit.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    No, you sue the individual not the insurance company.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Joel Ewusiak
    You should consult with a personal injury attorney. Under Florida law, if you have sustained permanent injuries, you may sue the at-fault driver in court. (You would not sue the at-fault driver's insurance company). A background search will allow you to locate the driver. You would then serve your complaint and summons on the driver.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/17/2012
    Law Offices of Joseph I. Lipsky, P.A.
    Law Offices of Joseph I. Lipsky, P.A. | Joseph Lipsky
    Most states do not allow you to sue the insurance company of the person who caused a car accident. Generally you are required to file a lawsuit against the person who caused the accident.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Kirshner & Groff
    Kirshner & Groff | Richard M. Kirshner
    The insurance is right. Sue the individual and they will defend him. You should be able to get his address from his license tag.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    Consult with and/or retain an accident attorney to handle this legal matter. With more details disclosed, it may be possible to name both the employer and the employee in the lawsuit if that employee was in the course of employment when the accident occurred.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Wilson & Hajek, LLC
    Wilson & Hajek, LLC | Eddie W. Wilson
    You need to call a lawyer for help. The suit could be against the driver or the company, based on the facts. You would not sue the insurance company direct.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Before you think about suing anyone, what are your damages? Were you injured and require ongoing medical treatment. You can't sue if you have no damages.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Sue the driver. His carrier will defend. If you have a witness, bring him.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    If there was a police report filled out, you should be able to get the name and address of the driver from that document. The local authorities will provide you a copy upon written request. The insurance company should be willing to provide you the information as well. I suggest that you write a letter to them and send it certified mail, indicating that you need to know the identify (name and address) of their insured that struck your vehicle. I expect they will comply. In terms of who to sue, most states (Florida, where I practice, is one) require you to sue the driver. The insurance company for all practical purposes is the defendant, but you can't name it in the lawsuit (except in circumstances where you are suing for bad faith or first party coverage issues). In your situation, you name the driver as the defendant in Florida. Other states have different rules. You should talk to a lawyer in your area. Most personal injury lawyers will give you a free initial consultation, and you can determine then whether it makes sense to hire a lawyer or try to do this yourself. Given that the driver is denying fault and the insurance company is not cooperating, I would say you'll be much better off with a lawyer to help you. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/21/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    First, you can get the driver and owner info from the accident crash report written by the police. There you will have names and addresses, etc. Were you hurt or is this for minitort? I would be happy to discuss all the details free of charge.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Aronberg & Aronberg, Personal Injury Law Firm
    Aronberg & Aronberg, Personal Injury Law Firm | David T. Aronberg
    It depends on the State that you live in. In Florida, where my main office is located, yo would sue the person who was driving the car and the owner of the car that hit you (sometimes these are 2 different people). You can file a lawsuit against the person in small claims. You will need the person's address so that you can serve the lawsuit on him. You may be able to find his address on the internet.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Painter Law Firm PLLC
    Painter Law Firm PLLC | Robert Painter
    Under these circumstances, you should sue the driver.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    You cannot sue the insurance company directly. You might try being clever and getting the insurance company to send you a letter. If they do, it will have the policy and claim number along with the name of the insured person(s). I suggest you write to them making a demand for compensation for your car and any physical injuries you suffered. If they call you to talk about it, ask them to put it in writing. You can also make a request from DMV for his information if you reported the accident to DMV and you have his license plate number.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
    Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. Many people who are working or are in a work vehicle at the time of an accident in which he/she is at fault will often attempt to divert the blame out of fear for his/her job. You need an attorney who is experienced in handling auto accident cases and who is aggressive. Thankfully my firm has been on the winning side of most cases that we have had similar to yours. Call my office for a free consultation so that we may better evaluate your case. If you are not in Mississippi or Louisiana, then I will be happy to attempt to refer you to someone in your jurisdiction who may be able to advise you. Thanks again!
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Garruto & Calabria, LLC
    Garruto & Calabria, LLC | Andrew F. Garruto
    The police report will had the driver's name and address and the name and address of the vehicle owner. You don't sue the insurance company, the insurance company provides the defense (the lawyer and litigation expenses) for the driver and the vehicle owner.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/29/2011
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