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You want to be compensated for your injuries, but you don't want to sue the driver. What can you do?People often call our office after a Virginia car accident claim and they ask me how they can get insurance money from the defendant without suing them personally. Stated another way, they don't seek to ruin the defendant's life, they just want to be compensated for the injury.

Who Do You Sue in a Car Accident?

Under Virginia law, when you're seeking to obtain insurance money from a defendant who caused your injuries, you have to sue them directly. Also, under Virginia insurance law, their insurance company will then provide them a defense and be liable for any judgment against that defendant up to the amount of insurance that that defendant purchased. If you're unable to settle your claim with the defendant's insurance carrier, by law then you must file suit against the defendant.

Can a Lawsuit "Ruin" a Person's Life?

When you do, you're not "ruining that person's life." Unless you're seeking money damages over their amount of insurance, any dollar value paid to you will be from the insurance funds they purchased. If you've purchased additional underinsured motorist coverage, even judgments more than their insurance will be paid by your own insurance.)

Also, don't feel like your lawsuit should be taken as a personal vendetta against the defendant. All you're seeking to do is to be compensated fairly for the injuries caused by their negligence. In reality, what you're doing is making an insurance claim pursuant to Virginia's complex insurance law.

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized car accident and ERISA disability attorney in Fairfax, VA.