Who Do I Sue For A Car Crash Case?

A client asked me the other day: “Do we sue the other driver or do we sue the insurance company?” It depends on who has insurance. Below are some scenarios:

Both Drivers Have Insurance

If both drivers have insurance we sue the at fault driver. We do not sue his or her insurance company. When you buy insurance the agreement you make with the carrier is that they will defend you. What this means is that we sue the individual driver and then the insurance company takes over the defense. It is rare to sue the other persons insurance. That is usually reserved for bad faith litigation.

The Other Driver Does Not Have Enough Insurance

If the other driver has a policy that does not cover your damages it makes sense to sue your own carrier for underinsured motorist benefits. For example, if the damages are $100,000.00 but the other side only has a Kentucky minimum $25,000.00 policy you can then set up a claim with your carrier to make up the difference. This assumes you bought underinsured motorist coverage.

The Other Driver Has No Insurance

If the other driver has no insurance you need to sue your own insurance company for uninsured motorist benefits. This is different than underinsured motorist benefits. This portion of your policy that kicks in when there is zero coverage on the other side. You could also sue the at fault driver, but squeezing blood out of a rock is a fools endeavor. What happens in this situation is your carrier steps in the shoes of the at fault carrier and pays. The carrier then determines if they want to sue the uninsured driver.

In sum, you sue the other person and sometimes you sue your own insurance if the other side has insufficient coverage or no coverage at all. Your next question is: Well doesn’t that alter my insurance rates if I’m making a claim with my own carrier? There is a specific Kentucky statute that says if you are not at fault nor contributorily negligent (a percent at fault) your carrier is not entitled to raise your rates.

Here is a good link to a breakdown of negligence in Kentucky from FindLaw.com: https://www.findlaw.com/state/kentucky-law/kentucky-negligence-laws.html#:~:text=Kentucky%20is%20a%20pure%20comparative,fault%20for%20the%20accident%2Finjuries.&text=Kentucky%20Revised%20Statutes%20%C2%A7%20189.125,is%20statutorily%20not%20contributory%20negligence.

As in all legal scenarios there are exceptions to the information above. And in most cases we don’t need to sue the other driver to reach a settlement or resolution with their insurance carrier. You have two years from the date of the car crash to file a lawsuit on a Kentucky car crash case. The majority of cases the injured person is finished with treatment within that timeframe. The lawyer then sends a demand.

Here is a good link describing how long that process takes: https://louisville-injury-lawyer.com/faq/how-long-will-my-case-take/

Consultations are always free at Dettman Law so feel free to email bdettman@dettmanlawgroup.com with any follow up questions. – Brian Dettman