Can I File a Personal Injury Claim Against a Friend or Family Member?
Injuries and other damages sustained in an accident can be quite expensive. When injured in an accident at the fault of another party, a personal injury claim can help obtain compensation for the damages. When the at-fault party is a friend or family member, the situation gets a little more complicated.
If you find yourself struggling with damages and bills, but uneasy about taking legal action against your friend or family member, you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. A personal injury claim can be made without harming the family or friends, so it’s important to learn the facts and your rights in the matter.
What accidents may involve a personal injury claim against a friend or family member?
Car accidents are the most common cause for personal injury claims against friends and family members. If your friend or family member is driving when an accident occurs, then the insurance company of the at-fault driver will usually settle claims for the drivers, as well as the passengers. If the friend of family member is deemed at fault for the accident that causes you injuries and/or damages, then they can be held liable for your damages. In such cases, their insurance company will usually cover the cost of damages if proper action is taken.
Other accidents eligible for a personal injury claim against a friend or family member may include:
- Slip and fall accident that occurs on the property owned or leased by a friend or family member
- Dog bite by a dog owned by the friend or family member
- Food poisoning caused by food served by the friend or family member
- Burns or scalds incurred at the fault of the friend or family member
These claims will usually require proof of negligence that resulted in the accident which caused the injuries.
Who is responsible for paying the compensation?
In the case that you file a personal injury claim against a family member, they are generally just being held liable for compensating for your damages. Though the friend or family member is named in the claim, however, it is usually their insurance company that will settle the claim. This, of course, is assuming they have the proper insurance.
If the personal injury claim is made in a car accident, then the car insurance company of the friend or family member will settle the claim. If the accident occurs on the property of the friend or family member, then they should have a homeowner, landlord or tenant policy that will cover the accident. The home insurance company, then, will usually settle the claim.
How can I avoid hurting the friend or family member in a personal injury case?
Filing a claim against a friend or family member does not mean they are in legal trouble. The primary reason for filing a personal injury claim in such case is to obtain necessary compensation for damages you incurred in the accident. Your friend or family member that is responsible will likely want to help, so it can be useful to speak with them before taking action.
Winning a settlement doesn’t have to harm the friend or family member at fault. The best way to get what you need without causing them any harm is by claiming only the damages that resulted in costs or expenses. In such case, it may be important to ensure that the insurance company can pay for the full requested amount so that your friend or family member does not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs. A personal injury lawyer such as the Las Vegas personal injury lawyer can help you properly navigate a sensitive situation like this so you are able to get what you need without hurting your friend or family member.
Thanks to authors at Nadia Von Magdenko & Associates for their insight into Personal Injury law.