What to do when someone you know is at fault
"I was in a car wreck. My friend was driving, I was a passenger, and it was his fault. Now I'm injured and need to pay my bills, but I don't want to sue my friend. What can I do?"
We get variations on this question all the time at the Mike Slocumb Law Firm. It's one thing to talk about taking legal action against a stranger who caused your accident, or a business that was negligent. It's quite another thing when the person responsible for your injuries is a friend, colleague or family member. You feel like you're stuck between getting the compensation you need and preserving a relationship you value.
You're in the right place. We have extensive experience handling cases involving injuries to passengers and other types of accidents where the at-fault party is also the victim's friend or relative. Here's what you need to know:
First, we'll thoroughly investigate to determine fault for the accident.
Remember, in the immediate aftermath of a wreck, you're really not in a position to know who was at fault. Determining fault for a car accident is a complex and factually intensive process. Even if you were hurt in a single-vehicle accident, it's possible that there was a defect in the vehicle or in the road that led to your injuries. Likewise, if there was another vehicle involved, a full investigation may determine that the driver of the other car, not your friend, was at fault.
In short, you have nothing to lose by talking to a lawyer and getting a more thorough investigation of your claim. It may turn out that your fears of having to take legal action against a friend are unfounded. But what happens if it is in fact your friend who is at fault? Can you still get compensation for your car accident without hurting your relationship? In most cases, yes.
Our job is to deal with the insurance company.
It's important to remember that even if a relative or friend is the named defendant in a personal injury lawsuit, we're not actually trying to take your friend's money -- we're just trying to get their insurance company to pay up. Your friend or relative has already paid premiums for insurance coverage, and if they cause an injury, their insurance company needs to pay for the damages up to the policy limit. That's just the way the system works.
In most cases, we're able to navigate a passenger injury case by dealing directly with the at-fault driver's insurance company, so your friend or relative doesn't have to be personally involved. Moreover, you can trust that we'll be fully attentive to all of your concerns throughout settlement negotiations and, if necessary, trial. We understand that your case isn't just about getting the financial compensation you need; it's about your life, and your relationships are part of your quality of life. We put your needs first and give you the final say on any actions we take. That means you can rest assured that your needs are met.
Getting compensation for a car accident caused by a friend or relative is a difficult process. We understand that, we know how to navigate those emotions and we're here for you every step of the way. Don't hesitate to schedule your free consultation with the Mike Slocumb Law Firm. Our conversation is confidential. There is no obligation to hire us or take legal action, just candid answers about your legal options.