In a car accident, can an injured passenger sue the driver’s insurance company directly without having to sue the driver personally?

UPDATED: Jul 20, 2010

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In a car accident, can an injured passenger sue the driver’s insurance company directly without having to sue the driver personally?

I know that states can either be “direct action states” (allowing direct suit against the insurer) or not, but I haven’t been able to figure out whether MA is one or not, even after reading through much of chapter 175. Basically, my question is: do you need to sue the insurer through the driver? Or can you just directly sue the insurer?

Asked on July 20, 2010 under Accident Law, Massachusetts


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Your lawsuit is filed against the driver.  The driver's insurance carrier will provide the driver with an attorney.  The insurance carrier will be handling the lawsuit.

Prior to filing a lawsuit, you should try to settle the case with the insurance carrier after completing your medical treatment and being released by the doctor.  You should obtain all medical reports and medical bills.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine the amount of compensation you receive for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to your medical bills.  Your claim should include your medical bills, any wage loss and compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for your medical bills and wage loss is straight reimbursement.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier, you can file your lawsuit for negligence against the driver.  Unless the case is settled with the insurance carrier, you will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.  If settlement negotiations are occurring near the expiration of the statute of limitations, it would be advisable to file your lawsuit so that you don't miss the statute and lose your rights forever.  If the case is settled, you can file a dismissal of the lawsuit.



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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