How do I sue a drunk driver who parked her car facing east in my westbound lane? 59 Answers as of July 11, 2013A drunk driver was heading eastbound in the westbound lane on the highway. She hit a car head on which sent his vehicle backwards through the median into the eastbound lanes. She then left her car parked in the westbound lanes facing east with no headlights on and tried running. This accident must've happened only minutes before I came across her car in my lane at 2:30am. By the time I saw her car it was too late and hit it head on at 75mph, I'm lucky to be alive. My car was obviously totaled and I suffered a sprained neck, back and contusions on my neck, back, face, arms, chest and stomach. Everyone was injured but her and this is her 2nd DUI. So my question is should I hire an attorney or go after her insurance or go after her personally?
The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
Yes, you need to contact an attorney. You should also get a copy of the accident report to see how it was written by the investigating officer. You should definitely pursue the defendant's insurance as well.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Robinette Legal Group, PLLC | Jeffery Robinette
You may file a lawsuit against the drunk driver, but it sounds like the driver did not have insurance. So, a lawsuit against the driver may prove fruitless. If you have your own underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, that may be the best claim to make. A good personal injury lawyer will know how to handle this type of claim.
Answer Applies to: West Virginia
Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
Between your Question and Question Detail you ask 3 questions, which I will address separately. I am not addressing the facts of your accident, the drunk driver's fault or what your case is worth as you do not ask about those items. In addition, you do not provide enough information for me to answer questons regarding these items. Question 1: How do I sue a drunk driver who parked her car facing east in my westbound lane? To initiate a lawsuit you file a complaint against the drunk driver. You have her served with a copy of the complaint and a summons. There are a number of additional steps before going to trial but their explanation is beyond my ability to answer here. Question 2: Should you go after the drunk driver or her insurance company? Technically, you would always be going after the drunk driver. However, her insurance company will handle the claim, pay, depending on what your case is worth, you up to the drunk driver's Liability/ Bodily Injury coverage limits. They will also hire an attorney to defend her if you file a lawsuit. In almost all situations, you sue the at-fault driver; you cannot sue their insurance company. There are very few situations in which you could sue her insurance company. One would be if she filed for bankruptcy. Question 3: Should you hire an attorney? That is a question you have to decide for yourself. The more difficult a case is, either because of questions about fault or injuries, the more you should consider hiring an attorney. Attorneys have more knowledge about the process, the evidence needed and the value of a case. If a lawsuit needs to be filed because you cannot get it settled for an amount you consider is fair, you also should strongly consider hiring an attorney as the insurance company will hire an attorney for the at-fault driver. You would be at a significant disadvantage handling your own case against an attorney. Most personal injury attorneys offer a free initial consultation so you may want to contact one to learn more about your rights and what he or she can do for you.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Graves Law Firm | Steve Graves
If you go try to after her personally her insurance company will defend her anyway; that's what the coverage is for. She's still personally liable for any damages in excess of her insurance coverage, and she'll probably be required to pay restitution as a condition of probation if she doesn't want to go to jail. That said, however, most DWI defendants don't have piles of money lying around to pay judgments with, and what you get from her insurance carrier is about all you can count on getting. You should get a lawyer yesterday. It won't cost you money; it will make you money. Without a lawyer you will not get her insurer to pay you the true value of your case.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
In order to sue for being injured in a car accident you have to sustain a "serious injury" which includes death, dismemberment, a broken bone, loss of a fetus, significant disfigurement and certain other specific kinds of lesser injuries including being disabled for at least ninety of the first one hundred and eighty days following the accident. It doesn't sound to me like you make it.
Answer Applies to: New York
Tenge Law Firm, LLC | J. Todd Tenge
You should hire a qualified and experienced injury attorney to pursue a claim for all your injuries, damages and losses caused by this drunk driver. A good injury lawyer will pursue any and all avenues of financial recovery, including her insurance and/or personal assets, any UIM insurance you may have on your insurance policy, and any restitution which may be ordered from the county which prosecutes her DUI case. An injury lawyer will also make sure all health insurance and/or medical payments coverage (this is on an auto insurance policy) covers your medical care as well. Finally, any and all sources of liability should be examined as well. For example, while she is obviously liable for most/all of the damages, there are potential other third parties who could be at fault (the bar or private party where she got drunk if applicable, roadway design, emergency personnel for not moving the vehicle or setting up cones, flashers, etc., and potential others). But yes, you should hire a personal injury attorney for this situation.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Durkin & Graham, P.C. | Joan Durkin
You sue her which automatically brings her insurance into the picture. Odds are with a prior DWI that she has only minimum policy limits so you would end up having to file a claim on your own underinsured policy (if you have that coverage). Short answer is YES, you need a lawyer and you need to file with victims assistance as well and make sure that you are listed as a victim so that the DA has to contact you before any deals.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Law Offices of Mark L. Smith | Mark L. Smith
You should hire an attorney. The attorney will file suit against the driver and the payment will be made by the insurance company. If there is no insurance or the insurance company denies coverage then you should notify your insurance company and proceed with a claim for underinsured or uninsured coverage. By all means hire a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Law Offices of Tom Patton | Thomas C. Patton
Sounds like you need to at least consult with an attorney. They can advise you whether to proceed alone, or with an attorney. But in nearly every case, you will receive far more compensation if you hire a personal injury attorney, even after the 1/3 attorney fee. That is because an attorney can obtain so much more from the insurance company than you can alone.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Havens & Lichtenberg PLLC | Michael Lichtenberg
It appears that the defendant's attorney can assert that the collision would not have happened without your negligence: the defendant's car was stationary, and you hit it because you did not see it in time (the language the defendant's/insurance company's attorney will use will be "not paying attention to the road while driving at excessive speed"). It does not matter whether this argument is fair or a total BS, your opponent will milk it dry - and might convince the court. Depending on where the accident occurred, in New York or in New Jersey or Connecticut, your negligence might reduce the damages you can recover or, if the jury finds you >51% at fault, bar any recovery. When you "go after" the person who caused you harm, in effect, you go after her insurance company; and you can be sure that the insurance company will have an attorney defending it's money. So, even in a clear cut case, getting a decent settlement is not a do-it-yourself project. Under your circumstances, retaining an attorney as soon as possible seems like a very good idea.
Answer Applies to: New York
The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
In any lawsuit, involving a motor vehicle you sue the individual but if there is insurance, the insurance company will defend the insured. Your lawsuit would be against her, but the case will be settled or defended by the insurance company. You should contact an attorney to discuss this matter further.
Answer Applies to: New York
Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
Your case presents a number of complex issues. I will believe the other driver will be found at fault based on the facts you present. He insurance may try to deny coverage or there may be limitation problems based on the fact that there is another injured party who will also be bringing a clam. You will have to file a complicated set of motions to try to attached personal property is there is any. You clearly need an atty to help you steer thru this as well as guiding your treatment in the best way for this case. The insurance company will not pay full value when you are not represented by a lawyer who can properly pursue litigation if the case doesn't settle.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
You would be wise to seek the advise of an attorney. As for your vehicle damage, Michigan is a no-fault state so you would have to file a claim with your insurance company for vehicle damage. If you suffered a serious impairment of a bodily function or serious permanent disfigurement, you could file a claim agsinst her. An attorney would be able to help you with this.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Craig Kelley & Faultless | David W. Craig
You should immediately hire an injury attorney. There are numerous legal issues that should be addressed by someone who is experienced with handling these type of cases. Most injury attorneys will meet with you initially at no cost and will not charge a fee until you make a recovery.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Law Offices of David M. Blain | David Blain
Yes, you should hire an attorney to handle this matter for you. Personal injury attorneys handle these types of cases on a contingency fee basis, which means they pay the costs of the lawsuit and are only reimbursed these costs and paid their fee once they have obtained a settlement, verdict or award in your favor. If they fail to achieve such a reward then you don't pay a dime.
Answer Applies to: California
Kuhn Firm LLC | Kevin J. Kuhn
Yes. You should hire an attorney. Be aware, however, that someone like this may not have insurance, and if she does, her limits probably will not be enough to cover all of the damages she caused. As such, you may end up needing to make an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim under your own auto policy.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
The bright side is that you're alive and able to ask these questions. You have several options in terms of seeking recovery. You can sue the other driver and seek insurance recovery. Hopefully you had coverage known as uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, because I?m guessing that the other driver had minimum limits. I am currently representing two victims of a drunk driver accident case, also involving a defendant with 2 DUIs. So your scenario sounds all too familiar. Consider hiring an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. | Steven A. Schwartz
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately for a free consultation. I do not advise that you do this alone. The Insurance Research Council has found that, on average, a person represented receives 40% more in their pocket when their claim resolves.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
You are not permitted to drive 75 mph in North Carolina. The insurance company will likely deny your claim and say it was your fault the collision occurred. You better get a good lawyer to do all the things you say you want to do to her. She is an idiot but if you are at fault also you may come up short. The insurance carrier will certainly say so.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Timiney Law Firm | Leigh Anne Timiney
I am very sorry this happened to you. Yes, you are lucky to be alive. She is clearly liable for your damages and injuries. I would strongly suggest that you contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury and obtain a consultation. Attempting to handle a personal injury case on your own can be difficult, time consuming and frustrating. Our firm handles personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning no out of pocket legal fees for you until your case is settled.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
You cannot "go after" her insurance. The carrier was 1) not negligent and 2) owes you no duty of care. The situation wth the drunk is different. Assume tht she has been Id per post. You may file a civil suit . She would be a defendant as would the owner of the car. Suggest that you hire counsel. I suspect that there are criminal charges pendng. Restitution is covered, to a certain extent, in criminal cases (no pain and suffering or othe non economic damages). You will want some one who understands the interplay.
Answer Applies to: California
Rags Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray | Ronald D. Reemsnyder
You have no right to go after another person's insurance. If you wish to pursue a claim it must be against the person who was DUI which should prompt that person's insurer to get involved. An attorney can help you file a lawsuit.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Pearson, Butler, & Carson, PLLC | Matthew R. Kober
You should hire a qualified personal injury attorney. There are special rules involving alcohol related accidents. You should be able to collect from her insurance and if that is not enough you can sue her personally.
Answer Applies to: Utah
DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
You should hire a lawyer. She may not have insurance and if she has a criminal record. If you get a judgment against her and if she has insurance they will have to pay up to their limits and if she doesn't have insurance you may have a hard time ever collecting but you can ask the criminal court to require her to make restitution if you submit your bills. By getting a judgment against her however she will not be able to get a license and that would be a good thing.
Answer Applies to: Iowa
Ezim Law Firm | Dean Esposito
First, go after her insurance company as she may not have enoughs funds to properly compensate you. I almost always advise accident victims to hire an attorney, especially when injured. Studies conducted by Allstate and other insurance companies indicate that the insurance company will pay 2 to 3 times more money when the accident victim is represent by an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana