Would it be wise to seek my own attorney if I was a passenger who suffered an injury in a DUI accident?

I was involved in a motorcycle accident. I was the passenger and suffered lacerations to my right forearm, along with road rash all over my body. I was out of work for 1 1/2 months and under the care of a plastic surgeon. The bodily injury representative for his insurer told me that I could not proceed with any further legal action towards anyone except the motorcycle driver, that I could not sue the insurance company. Is this true?

Asked on May 7, 2016 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You cannot sue the insurance company because they have no obligation to you: it is not your insurer. You can sue your own insurer (if you have one, and the insurance applies to that situation) if they don't pay what they should pay under the insurance policy--you sue for breach of contract--but other people's insurers have no obligation directly to you; their obligation to their insurerd.
If the motorcyle driver was the DUI, then you could most likely only sue him, since he would, essentially by definition, have been at fault: driving DUI is driving negligently, or carelessly. It is the at-fault driver who is liable.
You are entiitled to, at most, your lost wages for the month and half, your out-of-pocket (not paid by health insurance or Medicare/Caid) medical costs, and, if you suffer lasting disabilit or disfigurement, some amount for pain and suffering. If the lost wages and medical costs are signficantly more than the $15,000, it would be wise to seek your own attorney--you may be entitled to a great deal more money. But if the wages and costs equal, are less than, or are only slghtlly more than the $15,000, it may make sense to take the settlement and avoid the time and cost of a lawsuit.


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