Why you want to know who to sue
Many of our clients ask if we will sue the driver or the insurance company. Some riders don’t want to sue the driver but don’t mind suing the insurance company. Sometimes, riders are not injured and just want to be reimbursed for the damage to their motorcycle and need to know who to sue.
Why isn’t the insurance company sued?
The lawsuit does not name the insurance company as a defendant because the insurance company didn’t cause your accident and doesn’t own the vehicle. The insurance company only indemnifies its insured. This means that the insurance company agreed to pay for claims against the person you are suing. The insurance company also provides an attorney at their expense to defend the lawsuit.
How much can you sue for collision damage?
If you were not injured and want to file a lawsuit only for damage to your motorcycle because you did not have collision coverage, you can file a lawsuit for:
- up to $5,000 in Small Claims Court or
- up to $15,000 in District Court in Suffolk or Nassau County or
- up to $25,000 in New York City Civil Court.
These courts have fill-in-the-blank forms and a clerk can help you fill them in.
Who do you have to sue for collision damage?
In a Small Claims Court lawsuit for damage to your motorcycle, it should be sufficient to file a lawsuit against the driver and registrant of the vehicle.
Who do you need to sue for injuries?
In a lawsuit for personal injuries, it is extremely important to name every possible defendant. There are several reasons, one of which is to make sure that every available insurance policy is available to pay for your injury.
A personal injury lawsuit should name as defendants, the:
- Registrant of the vehicle
- Title owner of the vehicle, and
- Any named insured on the policy.
It is possible for the same person to be the driver, registrant, title owner and insured but there could be several people and/or companies.
John Doe could be the driver of a car registered to his wife Jane Doe which is owned by her father Joseph Rowe whose name is on the title and whose wife Josephine Rowe is listed as an insured on the policy. There could be one or more insurance policies insuring this car. It’s important to search for all insurance policies.
Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Franckel is well-known in New York for representing motorcyclists and created the motorcycle awareness campaign BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE®.