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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    3

    Default Car Accident, With Uninsured Driver in a Borrowed Car, in Alabama

    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Car Accident, With Uninsured Driver in a Borrowed Car, in Alabama

    Didn't the police report include their insurance information?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Car Accident, With Uninsured Driver in a Borrowed Car, in Alabama

    The other vehicle has no insurance. We've talked to the driver and the owner, and both confirm that this vehicle was not covered at all. The police report states that he gave a citation to the driver for failure to show proof of insurance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Car Accident, With Uninsured Driver in a Borrowed Car, in Alabama

    well, it sounds like you get to sue the other parties. That doesn;t mean they will hand you a check but given the situation, there isn;t much else to do.

    Does your state have an uninsured motorist fund to assist in this type of situation? Haven;t looked for it myself but some states provide such assistance.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Car Accident, With Uninsured Driver in a Borrowed Car, in Alabama

    Alabama is not exactly the type of state to provide assistace such as uninsured motorist funds. It looks like our only option is to take both parties to court. They have been given ample time to at least communicate with us about the situation, but have chosen to not do the right thing. They are stupid for not accepting my husband's offer for a settlement of a mere $5000, considering that just covers the loss of our vehicle alone, and does not include towing and storage fees for our truck, medical bills, lost wages for 6 weeks, car rental, pain and suffering, or attorney fees. We just wanted this over with so we can get on with our lives without dragging it to court.

    I believe our next course of action is to send the parties a certified letter giving them one more opportunity to settle. We plan on listing out our actual out of pocket expenses and future expenses related to the accident, along with a friendly reminder that this will go to court. Then the letter will state that they can settle for $5,000 in 30 days, or go to court and they can pay double or triple that amount. If they don't make restitution, they can lose their license for up to 10 years after a judgement is made in our favor. That is the law in AL. If you can't provide proof of insurance or if you don't make compensation after a judgement in court license suspension for up to 10 years.

    I really don't want to go that route, but they have given us no choice. They totaled our vehicle, broke the law, lied to us, and have drained us financially, and now refuse to contact us, as if this is just going to go away. I wanted to believe that we still live in a world where people will at least try to do the right thing occasionally, but that isn't the case.

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