If a driver hit me with their car while exiting a parking lot, who should I sue the driver or the insurance company?

I was walking on the sidewalk in the daytime. I saw a car coming around the corner. I continued because their was a yeild sign. The car paused. By the time I was in front of the car it accelerated, exiting the parking lot to enter the one-way lane. I do not have much by way of physical injuries but the incident has left me with extreme anxiety and emotional distress, etc. I do not have money for a lawyer and I feel I am owed something from the driver due to their extreme negligence. Can I pursue criminal charges? What are my options?

Asked on October 30, 2017 under Personal Injury, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If they hit you and left the scene, this may be a "hit-and-run," which is crime, and you could pursue criminal charges. Of course, that will not help you get any compensation: criminal charges are about punishing violations of the law, not compensating the victim. The only way to get compensation is to sue (file a lawsuit). You would sue the driver--the one who did something wrong and hit you--not their insurer, which has done nothing wrong to you.
However, if you do not have much in the way of physical injuries and also (presumably) have little in the way of out-of-pocket medical bills, there is no point to suing: you cannot recover for "extreme anxiety and emotional distress" in a minor accident case like this: recovery for emotional distress is generally limited to situations where someone has deliberately tried to harm you emotionally, such as by cyberbullying or stalking or harassment. Since the amount of money you can recover for an accident is related to the physical harm you suffered and medical bills you incurred, this may not be a worthwhile or viable case.

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