If you are injured in an accident caused by a relative, you may hesitate on whether to demand compensation for your injuries. Below are the pros and cons of whether such a claim (or lawsuit) is helpful, and how you should go about it if you decide to proceed.
Reasons for Suing
With a few exceptions that don't include relatives, the law allows you to sue anyone who causes an accident that leaves you with damages. For that reason, here are a couple of reasons you shouldn't hesitate to demand compensation from a family member.
In most accident claims, it is the insurance company, and not the individual defendant, that signs the compensation check. For example, if you slip and fall in your aunt's garage, it is their home insurance company that actually pays the compensation money. The exception is if the family member doesn't have coverage that covers the action or inaction that caused the accident.
If you are injured in an accident, you probably need the compensation money. Maybe you can't go to work, you need to pay your medical bills, and you need someone to help mow your lawn. Thus, you will not sue your family member because you want to, but because you can't survive otherwise.
Reasons against Suing
Despite the above reasons, here are some of the reasons some people are hesitant to sue their relatives.
Your relatives are some of the most important people in your life. Your relatives, ideally, are the people who can help you if the whole world seems to be against you. For example, if you can't find work after a stint behind bars, your uncle may be able to hire you in their construction business. However, this closeness may go up in flames if you sue a member of the family. This is even more likely if different family members take sides in your disagreement.
A serious accident can leave serious damages in their wake, damages that an individual might find difficult or even impossible to compensate. Insurance companies have the muscle to compensate accident victims, but your relative might struggle to pay if they don't have appropriate coverage. In such a case, your demands might even bankrupt your relative.
Here are a few tips to help you if you decide to proceed with the claim.
Stick to Exact Damages
It is important to get the calculation right so that your family member only compensates you for the actual damages – not a penny more. You should even involve a professional to help you value your damages accurately.
Confirm Insurance Availability and Limits
If you can survive without the compensation money, then confirm that your relative has insurance coverage before filing a lawsuit. If they don't have coverage, only file your accident claim if the relative is relatively wealthy compared to you.
Aim for Pre-Trial Compensation
Ideally, you should settle the case before it goes to trial. Try mediation and negotiations to help you with this. Trials tend to be more confrontational and hurtful as compared to negotiations.
If you have further questions on the matter, reach out to a personal injury attorney near you.