Should I Sue My Friend?
Accidents occur. When they do, the results can be devastating. You may not hold your friend responsible for their actions. They may have acted innocently or tried to prevent the collision. However, your legal action differs significantly from how you feel about them if you’ve been injured.
Suppose you’re going to sue someone for negligence. In that case, you must consider suing them regardless of whether they’re a close family member or not if:
- You’ve been injured and now suffer from health issues that affect your life, or
- You had medical bills because of the car crash, or
- There’s good evidence to suggest that another driver or vehicle who wasn’t insured may be involved.
If you don’t have access to a vehicle or live with someone else, it’s vital to consider whether you want to sue them for damages. California is one of the 38 states that does not have a no-fault insurance system. Whoever is responsible for the accident must compensate the victims. If you don’t have a car, you don’t have an auto insurance plan to protect you. It could mean that you might not be able to get the medical treatment you need to recover.
We Don’t Sue Your Friend
Your friends bought car insurance to compensate others if involved in an accident. They already paid the coverage, so filing a suit or claiming damages is how the process of using these benefits works. It doesn’t take any money out of your friend’s pocket when you file a complaint against their insurance provider.
An attorney can help you understand what insurance policies cover, what you should expect, and how the process works. They can also advise you on whether or not to file suit and negotiate directly with the insurance company on your behalf.
Common Misconceptions About Suing a Friend
The insurance company benefits from people not pursuing legitimate claims. That’s why there’s so little information about legitimate claims, to dissuade people with valid losses from filing suit. The reality is that nobody wants a frivolous lawsuit, especially lawyers who just want to resolve real cases without the courts getting bogged down by trivial issues. But to say that it’s somehow wrong for someone to sue a close relative because they are your personal acquaintance is unacceptable.
Don’t be tricked by these common misunderstandings about what happens when you’re sued by a family member or close acquaintance:
Myth: Your Friend Has To Pay Your Settlement
The money comes from the insurance policy, which your friend has already paid for. Usually, it doesn’t cost your friend anything additional if you file a claim or lawsuit. Only the insurance company gains by you not filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who hit you.
Myths: You’re Friend Will Need A Lawyer
Your friends’ car insurance providers must provide legal representation for their clients at no cost. Their attorney will be paid out of the client’s premium payments.
You should immediately contact a personal injury attorney if you are injured in an accident. They will help you understand what happened, how much your injuries cost, and whether you have a case. An experienced attorney will know how to handle the situation and negotiate a fair settlement.
Myth: Suing Your Friend Is Blaming Them
You may need to sue the driver who caused the accident, even if you do not blame your friends for causing the accident. Suppose a careless driver struck your friend’s vehicle, and you were riding along in it. Still, that driver does not have insurance or is underinsured. Or perhaps your friends collided with a wild animal that came into the road unexpectedly. In either of those cases, you would likely be able to file a claim against your friend’s insurer, even if they did not cause the collision. However, if your friends were found to be responsible for the accident, you would also be liable for paying back any damages resulting from the accident.
Myth: Suing Your Friend Will Increase Their Insurance Premiums
Insurers have the legal authority to increase your premium if they believe you were responsible for an accident in which you caused damage to another person or their property. They may do this even if you don’t file a claim. So why not take advantage of your friend’s insurance plan to cover any costs associated with your injuries?
Myth: You’ll Lose A Friend If You Sue Them
Of course, no one likes to be sued, but if your friend has bought into these common misconceptions, they may be afraid of what will happen if you sue them. But once your friend understands how the insurance system works, they’ll realize that not filing an insurance claim only benefits the insurance companies. After all, this is your friend; they don’t want to see you suffer physically or financially when you don’t need to.
Suing a Friend
You have the legal right to sue someone for damages, but it can be challenging to feel comfortable doing so because you don’t want to hurt or lose their respect. Not suing is not an option if you’re injured severely.
Let us help you feel better about yourself and maybe your friends’ concerns. There is no wrong in seeking compensation for the damage you’ve done. You’re not being mean by asking for money; you’re simply trying to get what you deserve. And depending on the circumstances, you might not even be accusing your friends of causing the accident. In any case, you’re not saying they’re bad people because of the mistakes they made.
Even if your friend is named in the suit, it doesn’t mean they will have to pay out of pocket. Your friend has auto liability coverage because they want protection against an accident’s financial consequences. If a car crashes, the insurer would have a legal obligation to pay out the policy limit.
Law offices like ours never sue individual clients, so you shouldn’t be concerned. The worst that may happen to your friend is an increase in their insurance premiums, which could happen if they got a citation for a traffic infraction or the accident was deemed non-chargeable.
Suing a Family Member
There may be times when it’s necessary to sue a friend. However, whether or not you can sue someone else varies depending on the circumstances. It might depend on the relationship between you and them.
What does this mean for you? Insurers cover drivers and their resident relatives or family members who live together with them. Suppose the driver driving your vehicle during an accident is also your relative. In that case, you cannot sue them for damages since you are also protected under their insurance policy. If you’re injured by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover damages from them.
If the driver who caused the crash doesn’t reside with you, you may still be able to sue them for damages. You can sue a close relative like a parent, adult child, or sibling if you don’t live with that person. If you’re concerned about having an inheritance from someone who has passed away, you may be able to sue them for their estate if they don’t leave anything to you.
It may seem strange to sue someone close to you, but if they are not doing their part to support you financially, then you need to take action. Suppose you have to sue a relative for an injury they caused. In that case, you’re not asking them to pay for your damages out of pocket, forcing them to hire a lawyer, or raising their insurance premiums. You’re simply seeking coverage they already purchased for situations just like this one.
Information For Drivers: Can My Passenger Sue Me?
If you’re on the flip side of the situation, you might wonder what would happen if someone sued you for an auto accident.
You might feel bad about your friend filing a lawsuit against you. After all, they didn’t intend for the accident to happen. Even though you might have tried everything you could to avoid the situation. On the one hand, friends don’t let friends go through unnecessary suffering. You know your friend who sat next to you in the car is hurt.
You’ve seen how much this injury has affected your friends’ lives. You don’t want to be stuck knowing that an injury keeps your friend from moving forward. If your car is insured by an auto insurer, then your friend’s health depends upon your auto policy. These advantages which you’ve already paid for can help your friend.
- Allows your friend to get the best medical treatment available to recover from their injury.
- Keep your friend from going through unnecessary financial hardships by making up for their lost wages.
- Help prevent future medical expenses and income losses resulting from the injury.
- Compensate your friends for the physical and emotional harm they’ve suffered from this experience, which you’ve seen firsthand.
Don’t worry too much about being involved in lawsuits. Your car insurance company has to take care of you. That’s why you bought insurance in the first instance. And they’re legally bound to deal with any lawsuit against you.
- You’ll be provided with legal representation by your insurance company. You don’t need to pay anything for your legal defense.
- If the case goes to trial, whether through a judge or jury, your insurance carrier will pay for any damages awarded by the court.
Your car insurance premium might increase because insurers view the collision as your responsibility. However, whether or not your passenger makes a claim has nothing to say about that rise.
If your friend needs help, encourage them to seek medical help. Also, urge them to seek insurance coverage under your plan. A bad accident can ruin everything, but your relationship shouldn’t be one of them.
Understand The Claims Process
Understanding how the legal system works can be helpful when dealing with friends who may sue you for an accident. Claims vs. lawsuits – What’s the difference between them? What types of things can you sue people for? Where does the money for suing people come from?
What Kind Of Claim Might You File Against Your Friend’s Insurance Policy?
If an accident occurs, the person who was not responsible for causing the accident will usually file a claim against the negligent driver. However, this doesn’t always mean a lawsuit.
First, an attorney will file a claim against the at-fault insurance carrier for the injured victim. It doesn’t necessarily mean you must go through with suing them. Sometimes the attorney and the insurance adjuster could settle out of court.
You can resolve your claim quickly if the insurer is cooperative and ready to work with your lawyer to reach a fair compromise. But, sometimes, they prefer to drag out negotiations so they can delay paying you.
If a lawsuit is needed, the driver is personally sued. But their car owner’s liability carrier has a legal responsibility to defend them against the claim. The car owner’s liability carrier provides a lawyer for your friend’s defense at no cost to the insured person. Once a settlement, an arbitrator’s decision, or a court judgment is reached, the car owner’s liability carrier pays that sum up to the insured person’s coverage limit. The car owner’s carrier is also responsible for attempting to settle the case within the coverage limits to protect its insured person.
If You Claim Against Your Friend’s Insurance, What Exactly Do You Include?
A lawsuit or claim is an attempt to seek compensation for harm caused by another party. Harm refers to any loss or damage you suffer. You may seek compensation for financial damages (like medical bills), physical damages (like injuries), and non-financial damages (like pain and suffering).
When our car accident lawyers represent clients injured in an auto accident, our primary objective is to maximize recovery for each client. We aggressively pursue full compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Our team also seeks to recover costs associated with property damage caused by another driver’s negligence. In addition, we work hard to ensure that our clients receive fair treatment throughout the legal process.
Finding Out Where The Fault Lies
Car accidents rarely happen because of something the passengers did wrong. The crash wasn’t your fault if you didn’t force the driver to look at something. But who was at fault? Is it the other driver’s fault? Was it your friend’s fault? Or did they both share partial blame?
A plaintiff may name multiple parties as defendants if they believe that there is some reason why one of them might not pay for their injuries. Other times, only one driver’s insurance covers any damages caused by accident. And sometimes, the friend is found responsible. If the claims can be settled early during the process, the passenger won’t ever need to file suit against their friend.
However, sometimes, the injured party may be able to recover damages from an underinsured motorist’s insurance company, even if the other driver is at fault. You’re not saying anything about your friend’s fault here; instead, you’re just pointing out that his car insurer stands in for the other driver’s lack of adequate coverage.
We’re here to help!
You’ve been hurt in an auto collision. You’re not alone. Our experienced lawyers and staff team is ready to help you through every step of the process. We’ll handle everything involved in your case, including filing your claim, negotiating with insurance companies, and getting you the compensation you deserve.
Don’t forget, even if it’s a personal injury claim, it doesn’t necessarily follow that suing someone who is your friend is an attack against them personally. We often hear this concern from drivers who want to be sure their friends receive the compensation they deserve when injured by another car. Should my friend sue me?
You shouldn’t have to live with chronic pain just because you need to receive the necessary care. And your friend doesn’t want that either. You don’t need to worry about whether or not your friends would be upset. They won’t be. Suppose you don’t sue and collect compensation for your injuries. In that case, you may not be able to receive any compensation at all.
Call Phoong Law today at +1 (866) LLAMA-YA and get your case reviewed by an auto insurance lawyer. We’ll take care of everything for you – including reviewing your claim and answering any questions you may have about filing a claim on your behalf. You can rest assured knowing that our legal team will do whatever it takes to help you recover what you deserve. Our attorneys work hard to ensure you receive every dollar you deserve without jeopardizing your friendships or family relations.
This blog post is designed to educate the public on legal matters and provide general information about the law. It should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for competent legal counsel from a licensed professional attorney in your state. The statements and views expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my law firm. By using this site, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the site publisher.