Can I sue a driver directly for an auto accident?

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Can I sue a driver directly for an auto accident?

I was in a vehicle accident 18 months ago and received injuries. The other driver admitted to the police that he thought he could beat me across the intersection and he received the ticket. I hired a lawyer to sue the insurance company and that is settled. However, since my airbag failed to deploy, I’ve had my shoulder repaired, a back fusion and hip replacement. I am now going back in for second opinion on my back injury. I tried to get a lawyer for the airbag failure but have been told because it wasn’t on recall list, I can’t do anything. Do I have a case? My life will never be the same because of this driver on top of it all he was under insured so my insurance paid on it.

Asked on May 12, 2017 under Accident Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can sue an at-fault driver for the injuries, medical costs, lost wages, property (e.g. auto) damage he caused you. The caveats to bear in mind:
1) If you signed any settlement agreement which, by its terms, would preclude you from suing him, you can't--such agreements are valid and enforceable.
2) You can only sue for amounts not already paid by insurance--you can't double collect or double recover.
3) If he is insolvent, it doesn't matter if you sue him and win--a court judgment does not make money appear where is none. So if he does not have the income or assets to pay a judgment, you can sue and win and still not get anything.
4) The statute of limitations in your state for personal injuries is 3 years: if you are going to sue, make sure to do so before 3 years are up, otherwise, it would be too late to sue.


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