Does Making a Personal Injury Claim Hurt the Other Driver? | Alloy LLP

When you’ve been in a car accident, it can be concerning to think about pursuing a personal injury claim for many reasons. One common concern that some may find surprising is what the impact of making a claim will be on the at-fault party. Some of the most common questions we hear are:

  • Will we be suing the other driver directly?
  • What if they can’t afford to pay me?
  • Will their premium go up?

It’s understandable that you may have worries regarding repercussions on the other party involved if you proceed with your claim. Many of our clients find it reassuring to hear that making a personal injury claim often does not impact the other person.

Can I sue the insurer, instead of the other driver?

You may envision the classic Hollywood moment of a fake delivery driver handing over a surprise envelope and telling them they’ve been served, however the truth is less dramatic.

When you make a personal injury claim, typically we will first contact the other driver’s insurance company directly. In some cases where we are involved early on, we can resolve your claim without ever suing. This approach can be preferable for all parties involved, however not every claim can be resolved without legal action.

When it is time to sue, in nearly every instance we will sue the other driver directly. This is because they are legally responsible for causing your injuries – even if it was an accident.

However, car insurance policies in Alberta commonly include a “duty to defend” the insured against any legal claim brought against them. This means that when we sue the other driver, they will be defended by a lawyer who is working for their insurance company. While there are always exceptions, for the overwhelming majority of claims the at fault driver will be minimally involved in defending the claim.

What if the at fault driver can’t afford to pay me?

If you’re wondering what happens if the driver at fault in an accident simply can’t afford to pay you, it’s important to know that this is actually quite rare. In most cases, the driver’s insurance company will be responsible for covering your damages and medical expenses under their “duty to defend.” This means that the insurance company of the driver at fault is still on the hook for your losses, regardless of the financial means of the driver. As a result, you shouldn’t have to worry about the at-fault driver facing financial harm as a direct result of your personal injury claim.

If the at fault driver does not have insurance, or their insurance has expired, then there are other options available to you to ensure that you are not without compensation for your losses. If you are in this type of situation, you may want to consult with one of our experienced personal injury attorney’s to understand your legal options for pursuing damages in these circumstances.

Will the at fault driver’s insurance premium increase?

When you are involved in a car accident, it’s normal to worry about how it will affect your insurance premiums. However, one question that often arises is whether the premium of the at fault driver will increase if you make a claim. Fortunately, your decision to make your claim typically has no impact on this.

Regardless of whether you file a personal injury claim or not, if the insurance company of the driver at fault finds out about the accident, there may be a potential premium increase. For example, if the at fault driver has already reported the accident to their insurer for other reasons, such as getting their car repaired or accessing medical benefits, then there may be a potential premium increase. The insurer may have also been notified by your insurance company – as once any insurer is aware of the accident they will typically notify all other insurers.

As soon as the other driver’s insurance company is made aware of the accident, they will begin assessing the risk and weighing the cost of insuring the at fault driver going forward. For this reason, while it is generous of you to worry about their premiums, this should not stop you from making a claim if you need to do so – as your claim will likely have no impact on the premiums charged by the insurer.

Ultimately…

It’s important to remember that if you’ve suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you aren’t obligated to accept the consequences and medical bills without any recourse. Making a personal injury claim is an option for you to get the compensation that you deserve for your pain and suffering.

It doesn’t necessarily hurt the other driver, as many insurance policies exist precisely for such instances. Their premiums may go up but only if they have repeatedly faced claims; most likely their premiums will not be significantly affected by any single claim. Additionally, a good lawyer helps navigate the complexities of personal injury law in order to ensure that you get a fair settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider – even if the at-fault can’t afford to pay out of pocket.

Ultimately, exploring your legal options and understanding your rights is the best way to take care of yourself in the event of a car accident. Don’t hesitate to seek legal advice; stay informed, safe, and well!