What to do if my husband was a passenger in a vehicle that was hit from behind on the highway?

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What to do if my husband was a passenger in a vehicle that was hit from behind on the highway?

His bike as well as another passengers bike was hit so hard it flew off and crushed the bike rack and dented the vehicle a little. Both bikes are worth about $5000 each and are totaled. The vehicle in front of them was also hit. The person who hit them only has $10,000 in personal property coverage and with both bikes, the damage to the car and the damage to the person if fronts car, it exceeds the $10,000. So, do we go through our driver’s insurance to collect the rest or do we have to try and get it out of the at fault driver with liens and what not? It makes me nervous to drive with anyone if, as a passenger, your stuff is not covered.

Asked on September 11, 2013 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

1) As to your driver's insurance, review your policy and see if this is covered and, if so, to what extent: an insurance policy is a contract, and the insurer has to pay anything which would be covered under the terms of the policy--and nothing that is not covered.

2) Does the at-fault driver have real estate which you could lien? Does he have a steady job with an employer (i.e. is not a freelancer, not self-employed, and not on public assistance)? If the answer to either or both questions is "yes," it may be worth suing him, because there would be assets and income to collect against. If the answer to both questions is "no," it's probaby not worth suing, because you could win the case and still not recover anything. (It is very hard to recover from the self-employed, since they can hide income in various ways.)


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