Hello all. My husband was in a pretty severe auto accident on November 15 of this year. It was early morning(still dark) and even though he was the only vehicle going down the highway, another vehicle at an intersecting road sat there and waited until my husband reached the intersecting road, and the guy pulled out in front of my husband. My husband tried to avoid the collision but the other guy pulled out so late that my husband didn't even have time to hit the brakes. My husband flipped his truck three times and had to cut himself out of his seatbelt while hanging upside down in the dark. Both vehicles were totaled.
The police report states the facts, which indicate that it was the other driver's fault, which was admitted by the other driver to the police. The problem is the we only had liability insurance for our truck(which is a state law) and the other guy has none.
Come to find out the other guy is only 18, and although he is financially independent, the vehicle was in the name of his stepfather. From my understanding, by law both the driver AND the owner are liable for my husband's vehicle and medical bills. My husband was driven to the ER and his knee was severely injured. Ligaments and cartilage torn, kneecap broken. Thank God my husband wasn't killed.
The problem, both the driver and owner aren't owning up. They haven't called us, we have called them, and the driver acts like there is nothing he can do as he is financially insecure (he is a college student). The boy's mother talked to us over the phone, apparently to feel out the situation and try to make sure they don't get sued. My husband was very generous, understanding that the boy really has no money, and stated he would settle for a measly $5000. His truck was worth $4,700, so that doesn't even cover the 6-8 weeks of missed work, pain and suffering, or medical bills. We just need money for another vehicle, as we ourselves are a hard working family. I am a full time student and we have a 7 year old daugher, so we are really strapped for cash. This has financially devastated us and we can't even afford another vehicle right now.
We were told that the boy driving is broke and his mother said there is no way that he can just walk up and hand us $5000. She said she would talke to her son and work something out and that she would help him pay what he could. Well, that is good and fine, but she and her husband are just as responsible, and we still haven't heard back from them in over a week. Besides, what good is $40 a month going to do us, if that is what they mean by payments?
The problem is that we aren't sure what to do next. Alabama's small claims court is a joke. The fees are very high and the max. judgement is only $3000, which still may never get paid. I drove by the driver's home, and it really is almost a shack. Obviously it isn't worth paying a lawyer thousands of dollars to sue him for nothing, because he has nothing. The parents that own the vehicle are the ones I'm not sure about. We scoped out their house from the road and they own a nice brick home, some land, and a couple of vehicles. Well, we assume it is theirs and they aren't renting.
What should we do next? Is there a way to have a lawyer find out the assets of the vehicle's owners, without having to actually retain the lawyer? Is this worth pursuing in court? We really can't even afford an attorney unless it is someone that gets paid after judgement, but that would be giving up 40-50% of our winnings. Anyone been through this type of situation? We don't want to sue or try to make a buck, just get what we've lost.