What are my rights?
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What are my rights?
Last month I bought a brand new car w/ a
5,000 down payment. Two nights ago a truck
hit me while I was driving home from work.
There was a 3rd car that caused the accident
but never stopped. My insurance now tells me
that the driver of the truck may not have to pay
for any damages because he was not at fault
despite causing major damage to my car. Also,
my insurance of 10 years covers everything but
car rentals. The car may take months for repair
b/c I live on an island. So I’m stuck with
monthly payments for a car that I don’t have
and is no longer worth what I’m paying,
extended car rental expenses, and a 500
detuctible. What are my rights and best options
Asked on April 24, 2016 under Accident Law, Hawaii
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 5 years ago | Contributor
You can try suing the truck driver (and the truck's owner, if the and driver are not the same person): if you can prove in court that he was at fault, you can get some compensation--e.g. if you can show that he was even just 50% at fault, you should be able to get him to pick up 1/2 of the damage cost, which is better than nothing. Your insurer is correct about the basic premise though: liability in auto accident cases depends on fault, and if it is the case that the truck driver was not at fault (e.g. another car hit him and forced him into you; or he had to swerve to avoid an oncoming vehicle, which could have killed someone, and hit you as the lesser of two evils), then neither he nor the truck's owner would be liable for your damage. You can, of course, sue the 3rd driver if you can ever locate him/her.
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