Can I sue another driver for expenses after they totaled my car?

UPDATED: Jul 2, 2012

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Can I sue another driver for expenses after they totaled my car?

I was in a no-fault accident. No injuries but my car was totaled. I believe they were texting or phoning while driving. I will have to get a rental and have been relying on my parents for transportation to work, groceries, etc. The other driver is lying and I have evidence that she is by the appraisal report, but her insurance company may not pay for rental expenses or even deem her liable. What can I sue for? Insurance fraud? Rental expenses? Expenses incurred on my parents? I don’t know when my insurance will give me the check but time/money is running out.

Asked on July 2, 2012 under Accident Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

IF the other driver were at fault (e.g. negligent) in causing the accident, you could potentially sue her for actual out-of-pocket costs directly related to and flowing from the accident, which costs are not paid for or reimbursed by insurance. Thus, you could potentially sue her for the cost of any rental vehicle while yours is being replaced; however, you cannot sue for non-monetary "costs" or inconvencience, like your parent's time. You do not have to accept her insurer's determination that she was not at fault--the insurer is not a court; this is not a judicial adjudication--but can try to sue her and prove her to be at fault if you think she was. If she was not at fault, however, and you cannot prove fault, you will lose the case; liability in situations like this depends on fault, and without fault, there is no liability or obligation to pay.

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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