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Ask Dave Kennett Your Own Question

Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27687
Experience:  25 years experience in general law, including real estate, criminal, traffic, and domestic relations
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I was a passenger in the first car of a four car accident.

Resolved Question:

I was a passenger in the first car of a four car accident. We, the first car, were stopped at a stop light when driver 2 rear-ended us then driver 4 rear-ended driver 3 (stated she was stopped but barely stopped) which pushed driver 3 into driver 2 and then into driver 1 (us) again.
Driver 4's insurance is willing to pay 33% of medical injuries but the other two insurance companies are claiming no responsibility. I sustained a neck injury which caused severe headaches and my medical treatment was only $1244.00 (I stopped treatment as soon as my headaches subsided). I am now in collection with additional penalties and fees added to this bill.
I felt two significant impacts the first was stronger than the second impact. I am filing a claim through small claims court but I am not sure how to divide the medical expenses pain and suffering, emotional stress, loss of time (1 day for court), and inconvenience compensation. I was willing to settle for just medical expenses but it has been a battle for over two years to get all expenses paid so I would like compensation for this as well. Is this appropriate? Legal professionals I have spoken to will not take this case because it is not enough money involved. What is the best way to proceed?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Respectfully,
April
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 1 year ago.

Are you saying you want to sue the insurance companies?

When was the accident?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The accident was 10/25/2010. I want it off my credit report, medical expenses, court costs, and penalties and fees paid in full and compensation for pain and suffering, emotional stress, loss of time (1 day), and inconvenience. I am naming the insurance company and insured driver. Is this correct way to file?

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 1 year ago.
Dear JACUSTOMER - You will have to sue the other driver or drivers, not the insurance companies since the insurance companies were not involved in the accident and are simply the carriers of the policies for the drivers. The only insurance company you could sue would be your own if they failed to cover you under your own policy. You have 3 years from the date of the accident to file your suit. You can sue for the medical costs, the lost wages and the pain and suffering but not for emotional distress since that claim can only be made in cases of "intentional infliction of emotional distress" such as harassment and unless the accident was deliberate. You can file your suit in small claims but generally they do not have jurisdiction over things like pain and suffering so the case may be removed to the general court system, especially if the insurance company attorneys are going to provide the defense for the other drivers, which I assume will be the case.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

So the insurance company will not be required to pay the bill? So I am left to hope that the drivers pay in small claims court? I cannot file a claim against both the driver and insurance company? So should I charge driver 2 and driver 4?

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 1 year ago.
That's not what I said. The insurance company will pay the bill but if you cannot settle on the amount you have to sue the driver. Then, assuming you win in court the insurance company will have to pay the judgment amount. It's just that they are not the ones you are suing but under their policy with the driver of the vehicle they are responsible to pay the damages.
Dave Kennett, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27687
Experience: 25 years experience in general law, including real estate, criminal, traffic, and domestic relations
Dave Kennett and 10 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Okay. Thank you. The last thing is should the bill be split 50/50 or should driver 2 who started the chain reaction be charged with more?

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 1 year ago.
My suggestion is to file the suit against both drivers as co-defendants and let the court decide who pays what as to comparative negligence. It may be that only one driver will be deemed as responsible so it may not be a 50/50 situation.

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