Legal Question in Personal Injury in California

I was in a minor car accident recently. The other vehicle which was towing a trailer in front of me was crawling between 0 and 5 mph for 10-15 seconds on public side street in a commercial area. After 10-15 secconds had passed, he slowing veered to the left without his signal where there was a driveway leading to a parking lot. At that time, I assumed he was turning left although he did not signal his intention, so I decided to pass him on the right; however, he suddenly sped up between 10-15 mph and hit me on my driver's side. He did not have his signal on until he turned right. Ultimately, my insurance found me to be 51% at fault and the other party was found 49% at fault. I had damage to both driver side and the left passenger door and he had damage to his right front bumper and light. Neither of us made a police report and neither of us were injured in the accident. The other party did not call an ambulance and his airbag was not set off during the accident. The other party also pointed out damage to the company vehicle in the upper right back panel of the commercial van as he said that he just was in an accident the night before. Two months have now passed and the other party has reported injuries of which I am not privy to, but my bodily injury insurance covered is near its limit. If he has medical bills and lost wages in excess of my bodily injury limit, can his insurance cover those expenses under his own underinsurance coverage? If not and he decides to sue me for those bills in excess of my coverage, do you feel I have a strong enough case to sue him or his company for damages and mental stress? This was my first car accident and I feel that he is taking advantage of me/ my insurance. What do you feel I should do?

Asked on 3/26/12, 6:41 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

George Shers Law Offices of Georges H. Shers

Find out from your insurance company how much the claim is likely to be. I assume that you have no real assets, in which case the other side will probably accept the $15,000 limits and your insurance company is obligated to try to settle for a sum within your policy limits. They also have to supply an attorney for you if you are actually sued. If it was at work, then his employer's workers' compensation carrier has to pay all the medical bills and his wage loss, but then they have the right to go after you for what they paid out. In general, the type of accident you describe would be worth much less than $15,000 and may end up settling more in the $5,000 range.

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Answered on 3/26/12, 8:48 pm

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