I don’t want to sue anyone. Can I still bring a personal injury claim?
Almost all of my clients have a big concern about suing other people personally. Nobody likes to do that. Most people who contact my office say, “Hey, I’ve never sued anyone. I don't want to sue anyone. I’m not the litigious type, I’m not sure I want to do this. I don’t want to destroy this person or take their home.” What I tell them is that you do not have sue any particular person in order to bring a personal injury claim.
Really, what you are doing is only filing a claim against the other party’s insurance policy.
Yes, you are going after a multi-billion dollar corporation – not an individual person.
You are not going after any individual person’s pockets, homes or any of their assets. You are simply going after their insurance coverage. In California, there is a requirement that we carry a minimum amount of liability insurance in case of a personal injury accident.
So, almost everyone has got that coverage, or there is other insurance coverage that may apply to compensate you for your injuries, loss of earnings and pain and suffering. There is the possibility of umbrella coverage or the other party may have been within the course and scope of their employment when they injured you, so their employer’s insurance will apply.
Even if you don't want to sue anyone, but end up having to file a lawsuit for your bicycle accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident, Uber accident or auto accident case, you are still not necessarily pursuing the other party’s personal assets.
Once you file suit, the other party’s insurance company will provide that party with an attorney that is paid for by the insurance company. So, again, you are battling with the insurance company – not that individual. Further, when all is said and done, the insurance company cuts the check to you for your personal injury settlement, not the individual.
We also don't want to sue individuals. So, only in really egregious situations do you ever have to go after somebody’s personal assets. An example would be someone running you over on your bike causing you to have $100,000.00 in medical expenses, but they only carried $15,000.00 of liability insurance despite the fact that they own 6 apartment buildings in San Francisco. Would you feel bad going after this individual? Probably not. These are the types of situations where you actually go after that person directly. However, these situations are very rare!
So, the bottom line is that if you have a personal injury case, you should speak with a qualified San Francisco personal injury attorney to find out your options for making a claim against the insurance company. Make sure that attorney’s objective is in line with your own (getting corporate insurance money, not taking someone’s personal assets.)
Stay tuned for my next blog post where I describe what can be done if your case is worth more than the other party’s liability insurance coverage limits.