Family Members Are Not Immune to Personal Injury Claims
Family members can cause you injury, too. We might not like to file a claim against a family member’s insurance, but sometimes it can be the best course of action. This is especially true if there has been a serious accident involving bad or life-altering injuries.
In most cases, your family member will not pay a dime “out of pocket.” After all, that’s what insurance is for: when people get hurt and need financial coverage.
Unfortunately, Negligence Is Negligence
A successful claim typically relies on a few fundamental aspects; among them is negligence. Negligence is basically an action or inaction that goes against what a reasonable person would do or not do. Family ties and other relationships do not come into play in an insurance claim, unless those connections impact what might be considered “reasonable” (they rarely do).
For example, let’s say your family member has had a large hole in his backyard for a while. He invites you over for a family get-together, but doesn’t cover the hole, and doesn’t even tell you it’s there, only a few feet towards the woods. You hear a noise, take a few steps to look, and your right foot slips into the hole, causing you to fall suddenly. You suffer whiplash, and are too hurt to work your job. Who should pay for this?
Your family member’s insurance, because his negligence in NOT covering the known hazard (and NOT warning you) were directly responsible for the fact that you were hurt!
Liability in a civil claim comes down to establishing negligence and then showing that the negligent behavior directly resulted in the damages being claimed. Using the previous example, there is a strong case for liability.
Is a Claim the Best Option?
There are some occasions when filing a civil claim might not be the best course of action…but it is almost always better to “go on the record.” If you’re hurt, your family member may be truly sorry—but not enough to actually provide the compensation you need to truly recover. Even if he or she agrees to give you money for your medical bills, that could be delayed or “forgotten” if the requirement isn’t put in writing.
An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to explain the process in a way that everyone understands, and guide both family members through the claim, dealing with the insurance company so you don’t have to. Money and family can result in a lot of stress, so speaking with an impartial professional can help you find the best way to resolve the issue.
Family Troubles? Call The Husband and Wife Law Team!
We understand that bringing a claim against a family member can be difficult, but it can also be the right thing to do. If you or a loved one has been injured because of another family member, call Breyer Law Offices, P.C., at (602) 267-1280 to explore your options.