CanI seek a civil suit and a personal injury settlement claim against the same person?

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CanI seek a civil suit and a personal injury settlement claim against the same person?

The question was raise a few times that I should peruse civil charges along with my ongoing insurance claim. I was in a severe car accident with my cousin in the car, we both ended up in a head-on collision with a drunk driver and that person was sentence to serve 6 months in jail. The question is, can I pursue civil suit and still have settlements from the insurance companies?

Asked on December 28, 2011 under Accident Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Assuming the other person was at fault--which seems to be the case--you may pursue the total amount of compensation or damages to which you are entitled. For example, say you incurred $100k of medical costs, $30k of lost wages, $20k of property damage, and pain & suffering (significant, long lasting pain and/or disability) for which you could reasonably seek another $100k; your total potential award is $250k. If insurers (yours and/or the drunk driver's) are giving you $250k, you can't sue for more--you can only receive what you are entitled to for the amount of injury or damages you have suffered. On the other hand, say that due to policy limits, etc. you can only get $100k from insurance--you could sue for the other $150k.

So the answer is, if you're not getting from insurance all which you may or  should be entitled to, a lawsuit is an option. It would be worthwhile to meet with a personal injury attorney to discuss your rights and options.


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