Who can be held responsible for a car accident?

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Who can be held responsible for a car accident?

I was hit by a drunk unlicensed driver he tried to flee the scene by running but the witnesses stopped him. I was hurt pretty badly. An attorney refused to take the case because there is no insurance to go after. I did not have uninsured motorist coverage on my vehicle just the minimum liability. The guy cannot be found and the lady that is listed on the title says that the driver is her nephew but got rid of the vehicle a “while” back to MCMC when she bought another car. Can she be held liable as well as the driver? Can I sue her to try and get the paperwork showing she sold/traded the vehicle that hit me to MCMC? And I go after them for not changing title over?

 

 

Asked on November 10, 2011 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the lady was the registered owner of the vehicle at the time of your accident, she would be liable for your injuries.  She would be liable for negligence and specifically negligent entrustment for allowing the nephew to drive.  The nephew is also liable, but you said his whereabouts are unknown.

Your damages (the amount you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit) would be compensation for your medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering and documentation of any wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  You can name the lady and the nephew as defendants in your lawsuit.  Since the nephew's whereabouts are unknown, he can be served by publication.  This is running the notice of the lawsuit in the legal notices section of the newspaper for a specific period of time.  The time period varies from state to state and the court clerk could tell you the amount of time the notice must run for it to be valid service by publication.  It is still valid service by publication even if the nephew does not see the notice in the newspaper.  The lady can be served by a process server since her whereabouts are known.  I would not bother with MCMC in your lawsuit because if the lady was the registered owner at the time of the accident, she is liable. 

You will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

If the statute of limitations is approaching, file your lawsuit immediately.  If you are still receiving medical treatment and the statute of limitations is not rapidly approaching, it would be advisable to complete your medical treatment and file the lawsuit when you are released by the doctor or when the doctor declares you to be permanent and stationary which means you have reached a point where no further improvement is anticipated.  You would then know your total medical bills.  However, if there is no insurance, then whether or not to continue medical treatment is something you will need to consider; balancing the need for additional treatment versus the cost of incurring horrendous medical bills.

 


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