Perhaps the most troubling situation for injured car accident victims is when the person they must sue is their own friend or family member.
It happens more often than you might think. Passengers usually do know their drivers. And a single moment of distraction or one instance of a lack of caution is all it takes for a driver to cause an accident. It very well may be a friend you’ve known and trusted for years, a family member, a boyfriend or girlfriend, or another acquaintance who causes the crash that changed your life.
This puts you in a difficult situation. Your injuries are no less serious just because the driver is someone you love. The financial harm you have suffered is the same as it would be if a stranger had caused the collision. Yet most people hate the very idea of taking a friend or family member to court or, even worse, fear they would be collecting money directly from their bank account, threatening the roof over their heads and their ability to put food on the table for their family.
It’s hard to remove the emotion from these arguments, but here are 3 reassuring things you need to remember when it comes to suing a friend:
- The money for the claim comes from the insurance company, not from your friend’s personal finances. This payout is part of the coverage your friend already paid for and was purchased specifically for the purpose of financially protecting your friend in the event of an accident.Not making a claim doesn’t put this money back in your friend’s wallet, but it does limit your ability to get better and to provide for your family while you are injured. The only one who benefits when you don’t pursue the money you need is the insurance company.
- Your friend’s auto insurance company is legally required to provide an attorney at no cost to the policyholder. If you fear that your friend will have to bear other costs, like that of hiring a lawyer or increased premium costs, you can relax. This lawyer will handle everything for the defendant.As far as premium costs go, your friend’s rates may go up just for causing the accident, regardless of whether or not you pursue a claim – so you might as well get the compensation you need to get better.
- A true friend wants the best for you. They won’t want you to spend a lifetime in pain, unable to do the things you used to do, or worrying that you won’t be able to provide for your family financially because of an injury. Thanks to widespread misinformation about what happens in a car accident lawsuit, your friend might be worrying unnecessarily about what a lawsuit means for their family. Knowledge truly has power here. The suit is against the insurance company, not your friend.
There are so many misconceptions out there about suing a friend that nearly half of our survey respondents said they would never consider suing a friend or family member under any circumstances. While that sentiment of loyalty may be admirable, you can rest assured that suing a friend for a car accident isn’t going to hurt them, and will help you recover physically and financially from your injuries.