How best to go about suing for a car accident?

I was in a car accident with a semi-truck 3 weeks ago. I currently live in another state. I don’t think the settlement I will receive from the insurance company will be adequate to what I have been through. My insurance company paid me for the total loss of my vehicle but I feel the person at fault should compensate me as well. I was told it is better for me to sue the driver’s company and driver for negligence. My concern is what if I sue them, can they ignore me until the statue of limitations expire?

Asked on November 7, 2011 under Accident Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You say you were paid for the total loss of your vehicle--if so, you cannot sue for any additional recovery or compensation for the car. You only get to be paid the value of the car once; if you received it from your insurer, you cannot also recover it from the at-fault driver, no matter how at-fault he or she was.

If you had other losses not covered by the insurance--medical costs, lost wages, etc.--you could sue for those uncovered costs. You should be able to bring a lawsuit in the state where the accident happened; you cannot necessarily sue in your own state, if the accident occured elsewhere. If you have sufficient losses to justify hiring an attorney do so, and let the lawyer handle the mechanics of the suit. If you don't have enough losses to justify hiring an attorney, it's probably not worth the expense and difficulty of an interstate lawsuit.

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