Understanding a Personal Lawsuit: Can You Sue Someone Personally After an Accident?

Being injured in a car accident brings many concerns about your well-being, finances, and all the expenses. Medical treatments and reparations for your vehicles aren’t the most affordable. You’re probably asking yourself whether you can institute a personal lawsuit for damages.

Suing someone after a crash isn’t an easy process. You should go to the insurance company of the other driver for reimbursement of your costs (not the driver themselves). There are cases where your New Mexico attorney may recommend a lawsuit.

Cases Where You Can Sue Someone Personally

If you have filed a personal injury claim to the responsible driver for a settlement of your damages, and the insurance denies to pay you, or they offer a low claim (or they refuse negotiations), you may file a personal lawsuit against the driver.

If the at-fault driver has no insurance, they won’t have an insurance company to send a claim to. In this case, you will have two options:

Suing the Driver Personally

You have the right to personally sue the driver for your damages. Uninsured drivers don’t have the money to pay you after you file a personal lawsuit. Even if you win, you won’t be able to collect much. If you still decide to sue them, make sure you have a skilled attorney by your side.

Filing a Claim Against an Uninsured Driver 

This is the second option. Most drivers have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage which is optional insurance that can be purchased with your policy. Most drivers have it unless they opted it out.

This insurance covers the driver to a certain amount if they’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance.

If this isn’t enough to cover your costs, you may seek damages from the liable driver.

Filing an Injury Claim

File a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Afterward, the insurer will assign the fault and decide to accept the claim and pay the settlement you seek, or deny your claim and send a counter settlement offer.

Insurance companies aren’t fond of paying too much on car accident claims. They will likely offer a low offer or deny the claim. If that happens, your attorney will take care of the case (they’ll negotiate and if that fails, the case may get to court).

Your lawyer can help you negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for a suitable settlement. An experienced attorney and the insurer will be able to reach an agreement. You would get the settlement, and the case would be closed.

In case the negotiations continue and you’re still getting nowhere near the amount you seek, you may consider suing the driver personally.

How is Fault Determined in a Crash in New Mexico?

The fault is proven in the same manner as any other type of negligence. These are the 5 basic elements that must be proven in order to recover from your injuries:

  • Other drivers owe you a legal duty
  • The other driver breached their legal duty
  • The breach directly affected the collision
  • Your injuries occurred in the accident
  • Damages and injures

In the end, you still have to prove the number of your damages (how badly were you injured, and how high the settlement should be for your injuries).

Personal Lawsuit After a Car Accident

If you decide to file a personal lawsuit for your accident, keep in mind that the time is limited. New Mexico statute of limitations is three years. 

You have three years from the date of the accident to bring your personal lawsuit to bear.

Be sure to act fast. Although some injuries may require a long time to heal, you can still hire an attorney to take care of your case. This means that while you’re recovering, your attorney will work on your case.

It’s in your interest to start the process as soon as possible. A personal lawsuit includes many steps and they may require a lot of time waiting. Even if you win the lawsuit and the other driver is obliged to pay you, you might not get the full compensation right away. The whole process requires a skilled and experienced attorney.

If you’re thinking of suing the other party, it’s time to hire an attorney. FBD Law attorneys will advise you whether it’s smart to file a lawsuit against the liable driver or not. If it’s a good idea, we’ll represent your case and give our best for you to get your settlement. Call us today.


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