In a car accident, can an injured passenger sue the driver’s insurance company directly without having to sue the driver personally?

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In a car accident, can an injured passenger sue the driver’s insurance company directly without having to sue the driver personally?

I know that states can either be “direct action states” (allowing direct suit against the insurer) or not, but I haven’t been able to figure out whether MA is one or not, even after reading through much of chapter 175. Basically, my question is: do you need to sue the insurer through the driver? Or can you just directly sue the insurer?

Asked on July 20, 2010 under Accident Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your lawsuit is filed against the driver.  The driver's insurance carrier will provide the driver with an attorney.  The insurance carrier will be handling the lawsuit.

Prior to filing a lawsuit, you should try to settle the case with the insurance carrier after completing your medical treatment and being released by the doctor.  You should obtain all medical reports and medical bills.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine the amount of compensation you receive for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to your medical bills.  Your claim should include your medical bills, any wage loss and compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for your medical bills and wage loss is straight reimbursement.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier, you can file your lawsuit for negligence against the driver.  Unless the case is settled with the insurance carrier, you will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.  If settlement negotiations are occurring near the expiration of the statute of limitations, it would be advisable to file your lawsuit so that you don't miss the statute and lose your rights forever.  If the case is settled, you can file a dismissal of the lawsuit.

 

 


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