What are my rights if I was involved in an auto accident in which my vehicle was rear-ended at a stoplight causing about $10,000 in damages?

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What are my rights if I was involved in an auto accident in which my vehicle was rear-ended at a stoplight causing about $10,000 in damages?

The at-fault driver was ticketed but is contesting that ticket and their insurance won’t discuss the matter with me until the traffic ticket has been resolved. My concern is that the insurance company will continue to be evasive after the court date especially since I do not have insurance fighting for my best interests since I did not have collision coverage. Most auto lawyers seem to be personal injury attorneys. Is there an attorney that would take this kind of case?

Asked on September 28, 2015 under General Practice

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You have the right to sue the at-fault driver for your damages or losses and generally yes the rear driver in a collision like this is typically held to be liable, since he or she should have maintained a safe following distance you do not need to wait for their insurer to decide whether or not they are going to pay you, and the fact they want to wait for the traffic ticket does not affect your right to sue. 
A general litigator--someone who handles many kinds of lawsuits or cases in court--would take a case like this. Most, though, would not take it on contingency, or for a share of the proceeds it's not enough money to make that worth their while, given the risk of losing and not being paid no case, even a good one, is 100% certain to win and the fact that may take months or even well over a year to be paid. Therefore, you'd most likely have to pay the lawyer his/her hourly rate and provide a retainer, which likely means paying $3,000 - $6,000 or more up front. As an alternative, you may wish to act as your own attorney "pro se" to save on legal fees that could eat up a large percentage of what you hope to get.


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