If my daughter was in an accident and the other drive was at fault, what are our options for recouping these losses?

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If my daughter was in an accident and the other drive was at fault, what are our options for recouping these losses?

His car also hit another car. He has the minimum insurance allowed by the state. The damages of both cars exceeded the $10,000 his insurance cover. They told us our car was totaled, valued at $6500. My daughter is 20 years old, in college, with a temp job. She is too young to get a rental and has now lost her job because she can’t get there reasonably. Insurance won’t pay for the car at the wreckers and advised her to move the car off their lot.

Asked on February 12, 2016 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

His insurer only has to pay up to the policy limits--to recover anything more, your daughter will have to sue him, prove his fault, *and* be able to collect from him. It is that last step, collection, which can be difficult, since regardless of whether he is liable or what the court orders, if he does not have money or assets, he can't pay--and if he maintained minimum insurance, he may not have much in the way of income or assets (since people who do can afford more insurance and generally get it, to protect what they own and have earned). 
If your daughter does sue, what she can potentially get is the then-current fair market value of her car; any towing or storage charges for it; car rental, for a reasonable time after the accident. She can't recover for losing her job, however, because someone losing her job is not a reasonably logical or foreseeable consequence of a car accident, and in an accident, a person is only liable for the foreseeable consequences.


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