If I received a settlement from the at fault driver’s insurer but it’s not enough to cover my doctor bills, can I still sue the driver?

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If I received a settlement from the at fault driver’s insurer but it’s not enough to cover my doctor bills, can I still sue the driver?

In 08/08 I will crossing the street on a busy street. I was in the crosswalk and had the right of way. The driver ran the light and I was struck by a guy in a company landscaping truck. I received a settlement from the insurance company but it does not cover all my bills. Can I still go after the driver or the company? I’m not looking for a pain and suffering claim, just do not feel I should have to pay $15,000 in medical bills for something that wasn’t my fault. Is there a time limit I have to serve him with court papers?

Asked on April 12, 2011 under Personal Injury, Minnesota

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

When you say that you "received a settlement", was this just a settlement offer or did you accept the settlement and sign a release?  If it was just a settlement offer, you are not obligated to accept it.  You can reject it and make a counteroffer.  A settlement that you accept should be sufficient to pay your medical bills, compensate you for any wage loss and provide compensation for pain and suffering even though you said you weren't interested in compensation for pain and suffering.

If you accepted the settlement and signed a release, you can't sue the driver because by signing the release, you have released your claim against the driver.

Even if you didn't accept the settlement and didn't sign a release, you may have missed the applicable statute of limitations because the accident occurred in Aug. 2008.  If a lawsuit has not been filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations, you have lost your rights forever in the matter.  If you missed the statute of limitations and the case has not been settled, the insurance company will not pay anything.


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