Is it advisable that I first try to confront somebody before filing a civil suit against them?

UPDATED: May 31, 2012

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Is it advisable that I first try to confront somebody before filing a civil suit against them?

After trying for nearly 2 months to gain compensation through insurance after being rear ended, it appears the other driver was/is uninsured. Assuming I will be forced to civil action to be compensated, I want to personally ask one final time for them to do the right thing but I don’t want to hurt my case. I do have a witness that can place myself and the other driver at the scene but who didn’t actually see the accident happen.

Asked on May 31, 2012 under Accident Law, Colorado


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no harm in sending a letter to the other driver threatening a lawsuit for failure to pay.

However, if you have uninsured motorist coverage, that may not be necessary.  If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy, you can file an uninsured motorist claim through your company.  You will receive compensation for your property damage and if you were injured for your separate personal injury claim.  Your auto insurance company will then sue the uninsured at-fault party for the amount it paid on your claim.

If you don't have uninsured motorist coverage, you will need to sue the at-fault party/registered owner of the vehicle for your property damage and personal injury claims.  If you were injured, it is premature to file the lawsuit until you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in your medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated.  You will need to obtain your total medical bills, your medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If you have uninsured motorist coverage and the case is NOT settled with the insurance company or if you don't have uninsured motorist coverage, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.  If you have uninsured motorist coverage and the case is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  However, as mentioned above, your insurance company will sue the uninsured motorist to recover the amount it paid on the claim.

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 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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