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Personal Injury Issues: When the At-Fault Party is a Friend or Family Member

| Category: Personal Injury | April 14, 2023

In most personal injury cases, one person suffers an injury caused by someone they have never met before. From time to time, however, the person who caused the accident may be a friend or family member of the person who is injured. Whether it is a car accident or a slip and fall case, most people are unwilling to pursue a claim against the at-fault person because they don’t want to jeopardize their relationship. While this is certainly a delicate situation, you should understand the potential consequences and your options before making any final decisions. A personal injury lawyer can give you the guidance you need to make an informed decision. 

Your Health Insurance Will Not Cover All of Your Losses

The first thing to understand is that health insurance will only cover your medical bills. If you have suffered only minor injuries, this may be sufficient. However, those who have suffered more serious injuries may also suffer the following: 

  • Lost income due to being unable to work. You may need to stay home from work to recover or may need to miss several days over the course of the next few weeks to get the treatment you need. In some cases, people suffer temporary or permanent disabilities that prevent them from earning what they did prior to the accident. 
  • Significant pain and suffering as a result of your injuries. Your pain and suffering may have a significant impact on your quality of life. You may have difficulty sleeping, may be unable to enjoy your hobbies, or simply be unable to care for yourself or your family as you once did. 

In addition to your lost income or pain and suffering, you may also have out-of-pocket medical expenses such as a deductible or copays that can amount to thousands of dollars. Even after your health insurance pays your medical bills, you may have lost thousands of dollars as a result of your accident. 

Your only option to recoup these losses is to pursue a claim for compensation. A skilled personal injury lawyer will know how to navigate this difficult situation. 

The Role of Insurance 

It is also helpful to recognize that you are more than likely pursuing a claim against the insurance company rather than your friend or family member. This is why people have insurance – to provide coverage in the event that they cause an accident. 

The vast majority of personal injury claims are settled with the insurance company. Even though your claim is based upon your friend or family member’s negligence, the insurance company will control the entire claim process. They will decide whether or not to settle the claim and for how much money. Beyond providing their own version of events, your friend or family member will have no role in deciding the outcome of your claim. 

Understand the Nature of Your Claim

Most personal injury cases are based on negligence. In other words, the person who caused the accident did not intend to cause harm – the accident was the result of carelessness. Your friend or family member may have been distracted or had a lot on their mind, resulting in them not taking the steps necessary to avoid an accident. 

The reality is that we have all been there. It’s impossible to be fully attentive to our surroundings at all times or do all the things that need to be done to prevent an accident. Life simply gets in the way. Most of the time our negligence does not result in an accident, but some people find themselves responsible for an accident at an unlucky moment. 

When considering whether to pursue a claim against your friend or family member, keep in mind that you are not saying they are a bad person or that they were reckless or grossly negligent. It was an accident caused by common carelessness, but this is the only option you may have to recover what you have lost. 

How the Right Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

If you are facing a significant, life-changing injury, you need a personal injury lawyer who understands the dynamics of your claim. You need a lawyer who not only knows how to build a strong claim and how to navigate the claim process but also understands the relationship dynamic of your case. In short, they can help you get the compensation you need while doing their best to preserve the relationship involved. 

Injured? Contact The Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles

Personal injury lawyer Thomas E. Pyles has been helping injured Marylanders for over 30 years. During that time, he has handled complex cases, such as those involving accidents caused by family or friends. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 301-705-506 or contact us online.