If you have been injured in a car crash, you likely have a claim against the driver of the car that caused your injuries.
Sometimes, this “at-fault” driver is an individual you don’t know and sometimes it is someone you do know (if you were the passenger in the car). Either way, my clients oftentimes ask me if filing a claim for injuries is going to “harm” this other person.
When you make a claim against the negligent driver, that person’s insurance company is responsible for providing them with a defense of claim and also paying for what they are liable for.
If you are unable to reach a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you will have to file a lawsuit and the defendant will be the at-fault driver. However, the same holds true – the insurance company will be paying for the defense and for any jury verdict. So typically, when you make a claim against the other driver, it is the insurance company that pays, not the driver himself.
There are times, of course, when this isn’t true. If the at-fault driver didn’t have insurance at all (in violation of the law) or didn’t have enough insurance at the time of the crash, you do have every right to try to get a verdict against that person and then try to collect the money awarded from the verdict. Also, sometimes, the at-fault driver’s insurance company doesn’t properly protect his interests. In these circumstances, the individual’s personal assets may indeed be at risk.