Can I get compensation for pain and suffering from an auto accident that was declared the other driver’s fault, if they have minimum insurance?

Asked on July 23, 2014 under Personal Injury, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes and no.

Yes, in that you have the right to sue an at-fault driver for any injuries, costs, or damages (including pain and suffering), regardless of whether or not they have insurance coverage, or how much coverage they may have. Insurance does not limit how you can seek; it provides a way for the at fault party to pay any judgments against him or her.

No--or at least, possibly "no"--in that a court judgment is not worth much if there is no money to pay it. Someone who has minimum insurance probably does not have much in the way of income or assets, because either he/she doesn't have much worth protecting, or because he/she can't afford insurance. Either way, if you sue and win, but the other person has little in the way of income  or assets, you won't recover much.

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