Re: Advice about car accident
Can I sue the owner of the other vehicle for the cost of my repairs ?
Rhode Island is not a no-fault auto insurance state, so the at-fault driver's insurer should be paying you for all
of the damage to your car. I cannot understand why your own insurer is paying -- and sticking you with the deductible. You're right: under the circumstances that you've described, your insurer shouldn't be doing that. The only thing I can think of is that the other driver doesn't have any insurance, in which case your insurer would pay under your uninsured motorist coverage.
But, to get back to your question: yes, you can sue the other driver for the amount of money that you have to pay, out of pocket, for the damage. Since the driver is a minor, you might want to explore the possibility of suing the parents under a "negligent entrustment" theory. In any event, the person who is at fault should pay for the damage that he caused, either through his insurance or out of his own pocket.
Do I need a lawyer or can I do this on my own through small claims court ?
A $500 claim would most likely be handled in small claims court. You don't need a lawyer for those kinds of cases.
Should I not accept the check from the insurance company ?
Not until you find out why they're paying for this claim rather than the driver's insurer.