One of my clients, let’s just call her Betty, came to me and said that she had been involved in an auto accident with a drunk driver. Not only was the other driver driving under the influence but they were also an uninsured motorist. Betty was insured but she only carried liability insurance. She estimated the value of her car at $1700. This is not a lot of money, but her car was now totaled. This left Betty without a means of transportation and with the cost of finding a replacement.
She contacted me, wanting to know if it would be worth it to sue the other driver for her loss. She had already lost her car and was now concerned with the idea of potentially throwing away more money in an attempt to be compensated.
I advised that there was no guarantee of collecting on a judgment and that there was the possibility she could be spending money which she would see no return from. However, I also pointed out to her that if she did nothing she definitely would get nothing for her car. It’s impossible to win if you never choose to fight. Betty chose to sue.
We obtained a default judgment against the drunk driver. The collection process wore on and finally after one year, Betty had her money, including court costs and attorney fees.
Yes, Betty could have been frustrated by the other driver. The other driver could have cared less about having a judgment against her. But, this person wanted no part of a judgment dogging her everywhere she went. Betty was lucky, but she made her own luck. The advice of “…if you do nothing you will get nothing” apparently struck home. She took what investors call a “calculated risk” and won.
Filing a lawsuit is always a calculated risk that a person will get some recovery let alone full recovery. The attorney is there to keep the risks to a minimum and increase the odds of recovery.