What to do if I was injured but the defendant’s auto insurer isn’t offering me a fair settlement?

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What to do if I was injured but the defendant’s auto insurer isn’t offering me a fair settlement?

I want to sue but don’t know the defendant’s address. I have contacted the DMV and hired an investigator but can’t locate the defendant. My medical bills were almost $9k (hospital and chiro), I still have pain in my back a year and a half later, and the insurance is only offering me $13,000. I would like to sue, serve the summons and statement of damages by publication, win by default, and then submit the judgement of $18,000 to the defendant’s insurance company to pay. Will this work?

Asked on August 11, 2012 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

Leigh Anne Timiney / Timiney Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is very difficult to say if your plan will actually happen the way you think it will.  It is unlikely, with an insurance company involved, that you will get a default judgment.  Most certianly the insurance company will answer the lawsuit and defend it.  Additionally, lawsuits are expensive and can be very time consuming.  Once you get involved in formal litigation the process slows down quite a bit.  Generally, insurance companies offer very low settlement figures to start.  If this is their initial offer, it is going to be low.  I would think that you have room to negotiate and resolve your claim short of having to file a formal lawsuit.  


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