What is the next step that I must take if a self-insured company denies liability for an accident?

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What is the next step that I must take if a self-insured company denies liability for an accident?

I was driving on the straight in the left-hand lane, when a truck (horse and trailer) switched lanes and pushed me off the side of the road. There were no independent witnesses but now the truck driver’s employer, denies all liability without providing a reason. What should I do from hereon as I am not insured and I cannot afford an attorney?

Asked on July 19, 2011 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your only recourse to seek compensation would be to sue--that is what you do when someone injures you and will not voluntarily pay compensation. First, before taking action, ask yourself: is it worth it? Only rarely, in the most egrigous case of deliberate or wanton bad behavior (e.g. deliberately tryng to run you off the road, or driving while stoned; not simply being a bad driver) could you get punative damages. Without that, damages are generally limited to compensatory damages, which mean that compensate you for your injuries and costs. If you don't have significant towing, repair, medical, etc. bills or lost wages, then there really is nothing to sue for--even if you won the lawsuit, there would be little or no compensation you could receive.

If it would be worthwhile suing, then you could try speaking with an attorney--many will take a case like this on contingency, so they are paid if you win, but not otherwise. Or you can bring the lawsuit yourself: while that's not ideal, it's perfectly legal, and its better to represent yourself than not be able to pursue a valid claim at all. You should be able to get sample forms and instructions from your court system, either in person or online. Good luck.


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