If I was involved in a car accident where the other driver was uninsured, should I hire a lawyer to help me sue and collect what I am owed?

UPDATED: Nov 3, 2014

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If I was involved in a car accident where the other driver was uninsured, should I hire a lawyer to help me sue and collect what I am owed?

The other driver fled the scene but was tracked down. They were uninsured at the time of the accident because he exceeded the grace period of making a payment to his insurer, thus it has declined coverage for my car. I only have liability, so my insurance policy does not cover my car repairs. The police report clearly puts the other driver at fault. It seems my only option is sue the driver but I know that the court will not help me collect the money even if I win the case. I’m pretty sure the other driver doesn’t have money.

Asked on November 3, 2014 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You've stated the problem accurately: if the other driver was at fault, you can sue him and most likely win a judgment in your favor; but if he doesn't have money, you can't collect--you can't get blood from a stone, as the old saying goes.

If you don't think he has the money to pay, it's probably worthwhile suing on a pro se (acting as your own attorney) basis--you'll risk only the filing fee and some hours of your own time on the lawsuit and collections efforts (such as trying to garnish his wages, if he has and you can locate his job). You'd be risking little in exchange for the possibility of compensation. But if you doubt his ability to pay, it's not likely worth hiring an attorney.


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