If you are a passenger in a motor vehicle collision, it is often the case that your spouse or family member was the driver at the time of the collision. Though it may seem uncomfortable, there are instances in which you should name your loved one as a defendant in a civil action. Yes – you read that correctly: You should sue your loved one.
Claims for personal injury are initiated to protect the injured person who has been injured through no fault of their own. To receive compensation for injuries sustained, it is necessary to name all at-fault parties that have caused or contributed to the injuries sustained. In cases where your loved one has contributed or caused the injury, it is vital that they are named as a defendant in your action. Even where the driver of the vehicle you were traveling in is responsible for the collision, you as a passenger have a claim for damages.
In an action commenced against a loved one driver, your loved one may be found liable for your injuries. This enables you as an injured person to access the insurance policy of your loved one to aid in your financial and physical recovery. In principle, it may seem confrontational to sue your loved one, however, it is important to know that your loved one will not pay out of pocket if you are successful in your claim. In actuality, it is the insurance company for the car that pays for a lawyer to defend the action and that pays the award or settlement.
Regardless of your decision to sue, if your family member is at-fault for a collision, their insurance premiums will likely increase. While considering your family member’s insurance premium is kind, you should know that suing your family member will not increase their premium even further. The purpose of insurance is to protect the at-fault party, which in turn protects the injured party.
Your relationship with your loved one should remain unaffected despite commencing a claim for monetary compensation. Your family member will be minimally involved in the lawsuit, typically only providing a testimony of their recollection of the collision. Clearly communicate that the pursuit of damages is not necessarily an accusation of their wrongdoing, but rather it is to ensure that you have access to resources to support your recovery.
If you are uncertain if your spouse, sibling, or close friend should be named in a lawsuit stemming from a motor vehicle collision, contact us to assess your claim. Coverage issues may arise depending on the situation and our lawyers are best suited to advise you.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle collision, contact us at JEWELL RADIMISIS JORGE LLP and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.