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not at fault auto accident,insurance expired

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What is the name of your state? Louisiana
my son was involved in an accident that was not his fault.There was some confusion who the driver was of the other vehicle(truck).The 3 guys were hurt and seemed to be drunk.The insurance of the truck is expired.when we find out who the driver is ( not the owner of the truck)Can his insurance pay for my sons car?If it doesn't is our only solution suing the driver in small claims court?If we have to go to court can we sue for punitive damages if it is proven the driver was drinking.My son could have been killed or seriously injured but thank God he was ok.We do not have the police report yet so we do not have all the info that we need.Thank you for your advice.


Senior Member
Come back when you have all the details. A couple of points, you cannot sue for punitive damages in small claims court. And where is your sons insurance in all of this?


Hi,my son only has liability insurance.The accident happened sept. 18th so we have to wait 10 days before we get the police report.On the paper the officer gave us it has the drivers name and the insurance info to the truck,the drivers name is different than the insured.we went to the insurance co. and they said the insurance was canceled.So what do we do now?The accident was pretty bad,my son was making a left turn and the truck came up behind him very fast ,they tried to pass him in his turn ,they side swiped his (drivers side)car.Then they ran over a electrical pole and continued through the woods and smashed into a tree.So if my son would have been a little more in his turn they could have killed him.So that is why I asked if you can sue for punitive damages if it is proven that these people were drunk.These type of drivers do not need to be on the road!Thanks for any advice!:eek:


Senior Member
I would suggest a consultation with a personal injury attorney. If there is no insurance, suing the other driver will be the only other option. The drunk driving part is a criminal matter, not a civil matter. Your son cannot sue for punitive damages.


Hi,thanks for your reply.We have decided to sue the driver in small claims.We have an estimate for repairs for $3200.00,the KBB private party estimates the value of the car as $2300.00.Should we sue for the value of the car or just for the replacement parts of $1700.00 since my son knows how to put the parts on.This is his first car and he loves his car!How do you collect in small claims if you win?Would it be a problem to collect the money?Thank you for any advice!


How disturbing that drunk drivers have nothing to lose! If the driver and owner of the car(?) are so irresponsible as to let their insurance lapse AND drive drunk to boot, you may have a problem collecting any money even if you win in [small claims] court. Does the driver and/or owner of vehicle have jobs? Do they have any assets such as a house? If no assets, then where will they get the money to pay you (or rather your son) even if you sue.

I don't see that you have much choice though, if the insurance is indeed canceled. But... when was it canceled? Make sure you get a date because if someone told me that when I inquired I would think maybe they canceled it just after the car wreck.

Since you cannot sue for punitive damages per racer72, definitely sue for the estimate of repairs at 3200 plus any other damages you can think of with proper documentation, i.e., time off for work, rental car, etc. I don't know, I would have to consult with an attorney to get some of these figures straight though....

As plaintiff, when you sue and win in court, you get the judgment against the defendant. But collecting is a whole other thing depending on the assets the driver and/or owner of vehicle have as I mentioned above.

Good "luck" and keep us posted!


Senior Member
ProResearch said:
"How disturbing that drunk drivers have nothing to lose!"

My response:

Not in California, baby !

As an example, a punitive damages claim is sufficiently pleaded by allegation that defendant "knew he was intoxicated and knew he was driving at 65 mph in a 35 mph zone . . . with knowledge that serious injury would probably result to persons in the area."

This factually establishes "conscious disregard for the safety of others." [Dawes v. Super.Ct. (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 82, 86, 91, 168 Cal.Rptr. 319, 321, 324]

It may be to your son's benefit to discuss this matter with a local attorney to see if Louisiana will allow him to plead a cause of action that alleges a "conscious disregard for the safety of others." If so, he may also be entitled to punitive damages, just like here in California.



Hi,thanks for your replies.Well it was not proven that these guys were drunk,someone that knew them said they were drinking earlier that day.
Right before where the accident happened there is a hill and a store so you can't drive very fast through there,maybe 45 mph.These guys had to be going very fast to run over a electrical pole and slam into a tree.Their truck was totaled,the bumper was pushed all the way to the windshield.We found out the driver is the owner of the truck and the insurance was canceled due to non payment,no payment was received in July or August.We did think maybe he renewed his insurance with another company but how do we find that out.The officer was no help and we do not want to call the driver because he would probably just argue.We will consult with an attorney before we file for small claims.Thanks!


Senior Member
Did your son have uninsured motorist on his vehicle? If he does file it through your insurance and let them find out if he new coverage.

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