How can I sue someone for an auto accident?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How can I sue someone for an auto accident?

I had an auto accident with an uninsured driver and no insurance and they will not pay.

Asked on December 26, 2017 under Accident Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You sue them by filing a summons and complaint against them and having it served on them as required by your state's court rules. If the amount is under the limit for small claims court and the driver is in your county, you generally just file the forms in court and the court serves them while also assigning you a court date. If the amount is greater than the small claims limit or the driver is not local, you would have to sue in regular county court, which is more complicated and expensive, and you would then, after filing, have to serve the the summons and complaint yourself (generally by hiring a process server).
You can get instructions and forms from your court or the county/state court system generally: go to the court website first, though you can also go to the court clerk's office if necessary. Small claims cases are deliberately simple--they are intended for non-lawyers to be able to pursue them. A county court case can be difficult for a non-lawyer and has many procedural "pitfalls" which can trip you up--you'd be well advised to retain an attorney to help you.
To win, you will have to prove in court by a "preponderance of the evidence" (that it is more likely than not) that the other driver was at fault (e.g. driving carelessly or negligently) in causing the accident; only at-fault drivers are liable.
Bear in mind that suing, even suing and winning, still does not guaranty you will recover money. If they don't pay voluntarily after you win in court, you'll have to pursue collections efforts, which can be slow, difficult, and which cost money. And if they are insolvement and can't pay--and many people who don't have insurance don't have it because they are insolvent and can't afford it--you'll never get your money.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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