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


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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.