Car accidents involve more than two drivers more often than not. Cars normally have at least one passenger. What happens when both the driver and the passenger sue the at-fault driver?
Is it possible for two parties to sue the same driver separately for the same car accident? We have asked a legal expert, attorney Alaina Sullivan, about what you should do. Here is what she had to say:
The Right to Sue
The short answer to this question is, yes, both parties can sue the same driver at once. It is not a race-to-the-altar type of situation. The first person to sue does not keep the other person from suing.
However, as the injured passenger in the car riding with the not-at-fault driver, you have the right to sue not only the driver who is deemed to be at-fault, but also the driver of the car in which you were riding.
It might not seem fair, but you put your life in the hands of the driver who is responsible for you. Therefore, you can sue two different individuals while the driver can seek compensation from the at-fault driver.
The defendant, meaning the at-fault driver, is going to likely want to consolidate the two cases. They both involve the same incident, albeit different individuals as plaintiffs.
Therefore, if one person sues before the other person, this will not prevent the second individual from proceeding. A court can always consolidate the cases or the last to file a lawsuit can intervene in the first suit as an interested party, depending on the jurisdiction and the court’s rules.
Limits on Recovery
While you can certainly seek compensation from the driver, it does not mean you can both receive what you rightfully deserve. If the total value of the requested damages exceeds what the at-fault driver’s insurance policy is, each injured person will have to negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider for settlement.
That will likely end up being worse less than what the injured party’s case is worth. It all comes from the same “pot,” so to speak. It is not an endless source of money.
If the insurance coverage is not adequate, parties can file a lawsuit to seek compensation from the driver himself, but even that option comes with its limits. The injured parties can only collect what is available to them.
It is similar to getting blood from a turnip. At some point, you just cannot get any more. If you have any concerns that you will run into this issue, it does not hurt to speak with a personal injury attorney to see what your chances are of receiving fair compensation.
At the same time, it would likely be in your best interest to ensure that you are hiring an attorney different than the other injured party. You will want someone who seeks to protect your interests alone in negotiations.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you have been involved in a car accident, either as the driver or passenger, it is always recommended you contact an attorney today to discuss your case if you do not currently have a lawyer or have any questions.
A licensed personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine if you have a claim against the other party’s insurance company.
To receive the compensation for your medical bills, property damages, and pain and suffering, you should speak with a personal injury attorney in your area today.