Being injured in a car accident can be painful and sometimes result in the need for medical treatment. When that accident is caused by a friend or family member, there is an additional level of stress. The thought of suing someone close to you might seem confrontational but it does not have to be. And sometimes it is the best way to get the compensation and funding you need.
Get the help you need to recover
As an injured party in a car accident, suing your friend or family member will help you access the financial help you need to get back on your feet. Suffering injuries can have a substantial financial impact on your life. You might have to take time off work, pay for child care, or have medical or care expenses. Insurance is supposed to cover these costs, right? However, to receive enough funding for these expenses and your losses, you may need to start a lawsuit.
What you need to understand is that you can be compensated for your damages at no cost or penalty to your loved one. Understandably, you might still be worried about the impact this will have on your relationship, so let’s break down the details:
Who pays when I sue a friend or family member?
When you file a lawsuit, you are not actually looking for compensation from your friend or family member. The lawsuit is required to access coverages they have with their insurance company; the insurance company is responsible for your friend or family member’s case. Usually, the insurance company will appoint a lawyer to defend them at no cost to them and in most cases, they will have very little involvement in the process. With their insurance company handling all the details, as a defendant they will likely only need to testify about their information and knowledge surrounding the facts of the accident.
Will their premium increase?
It’s natural to be concerned that by suing your family member there will be an impact on them personally and that you will be responsible for an increase in their car insurance premiums. The reality is that as a result of an at fault accident, there will likely be an impact on their premium – regardless of your actions. They may have an accident forgiveness clause in their insurance policy which could mitigate the premium increase but your decision to sue will not affect this either way.
Once the trial is complete, their insurance company will be responsible for paying you, not the defendant. Insurance is in place to protect at-fault parties from legal liability, and it’s circumstances like these that are the reason why we have insurance. Your lawsuit and any award or settlement you receive is not a factor considered by the insurance company in determining your loved one’s premiums after the accident; it is only the fact of the accident itself that is considered.
How to tell your loved one
It’s natural to feel nervous about telling a friend or family member that you’re filing a lawsuit. You’re probably worried that they’ll take it personally. However, with some clear communication, you can explain that pursuing legal action has nothing to do with them and is a way to get you the insurance funding you need to recover.
By pursuing a lawsuit, you might not even be accusing them of doing anything terribly wrong. You’re simply making sure that you can financially support your recovery. In fact, because the lawsuit involves two people that know and care for each other, the whole process will probably be straightforward, especially once your loved one understands how the lawsuit will help you.
If you’re still worried about how your friend will react, share this article. That way, they can understand why it’s okay that you’re filing a lawsuit to cover your losses and expenses after the accident.
Talk to us
Now that you know why it’s okay (and sometimes even necessary) to sue a loved one, reach out to us to get the process started. Still not sure or have questions? The team at Fosters Law can help. We will do everything we can to make the legal process as painless as possible for all parties involved. We want to get you the compensation you need to get your life back on track.
Contact us today for a free consultation.