Should I Sue a Friend or a Family Member After an Accident?

You’ve been in an accident with a close friend or a family member. It’s a sticky situation because while you are close, there is damage to you or your property. Those damages cost money. An accident is an accident, and you don’t want to be on the hook for something you weren’t responsible for. 

Mans' Hand holding Car wheel

Suing a family member for personal injury (or a friend) isn’t as bad as it sounds. Sure, it could add some stress to the relationship for a short time, but if you hire an experienced attorney, you and your loved one will likely be spared most of the pain of the litigation process. That is because damages owed to you don’t come from your loved one; they come from their insurance company. 

You might have wondered, “can I sue a family member?” Or “should I sue my friend?” As uncomfortable as it may seem, the answer is yes. Read on to learn why. 

It’s Okay to Be Unsure 

One of the first things you need to acknowledge is that you are in a challenging situation. It is normal to have misgivings about filing a case against a family member or friend. You must remember that you are not suing them; instead, you are filing a complaint against their insurance company. 

Here’s another way to approach the situation: if you didn’t sue your loved one’s insurance company, the entity benefitting the most is the insurance company. Remember, not a dime is coming out of the pocket of your loved one. However, the insurance company would be thrilled not to give you a dime. Considering the bills associated with a personal injury of the magnitude that would require a lawsuit, you most likely need that money. 

How to Broach the Subject

Once you’ve decided to go through with a lawsuit, you have the arduous task of informing your family member or friend that you plan to file a lawsuit against them. This can be a difficult conversation for both parties involved, but if you have your facts straight, you can put them at ease. 

You should first tell them that they will not have to pay anything out of pocket. This is generally the most significant concern when a lawsuit comes up. 

Next, you want to let them know that you have hired professional help, and the matter will be dealt with between an attorney and their insurance company. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about the lawsuit getting in the way of your relationship throughout the process. 

The Common Question

The word “lawsuit” is scary, so it will likely drum up some emotions in your friend or family member. They might ask you why you are suing them. If that conversation comes up, here are some things you can tell them to help put it in perspective:

  • Property damage: If there were damage to property, you would want to seek claims for those. Especially if it is something big like your car or your home, those can get very expensive and fast.
  • Lost wages: Depending on the severity of your injury, you might have missed work. In terrible accidents, you might miss work for an extended period or even be unable to work again. You can seek reimbursement through their insurance company if this is the case.
  • Medical costs: These can wind up being the most expensive part of a severe injury. Not only do you need to go to the hospital for medical attention right after the accident, but if an injury persists, you will need continued medical assistance. This is a considerable cost and not one that you should be paying. Included in medical expenses is the price for mental health as well.

Answering this question honestly and knowledgeably can go a long way in easing things over with your friend or family member.

Will Their Insurance Go Up?

Once the insurance company is notified about the accident (any accident), then yes, their insurance will go up. This would have happened no matter what, though. 

If you are wondering, can a family member sue another family member? The answer is yes, though it doesn’t have to be a fraught experience. Schedule an appointment today if you need a personal injury lawyer or have more questions. 

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