If I had a car accident for which the other driver received a ticket, if my car was totaled and neither of our policies will cover it, what can I do?

UPDATED: Jan 10, 2012

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If I had a car accident for which the other driver received a ticket, if my car was totaled and neither of our policies will cover it, what can I do?

I had a car accident where the other driver ran a red light and received a ticket. My car was totaled. I have insurance but no collision. The car he was driving had insurance but no mini-tort on the policy so I couldn’t collect the $500 from his insurance. His mom (he’s 18) is the car owner and he is not on the policy. Can I go to small claims? Can I sue for more than $500 (damage was more than the state’s $3000 limit). Should I sue the driver or the owner of the car?

Asked on January 10, 2012 under Accident Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) You can sue for any and all unreimbursed property damage caused by an at-fault driver; so if you suffered $5,000 of car damage, for example, from him, you could sue for that amount.

2) You can go to small claims court as long as you sue for up to or less than the small claims limit in your state.

3) If he is 18, you can sue him directly, since he is the at-fault driver and is a legal adult; you may also the car's owner, his mother, since she is responsible for damage done by people whom she allows to use her car. You should in fact sue both, to maximize your chance of recovering money.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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