It’s not always a stranger who causes a car accident that leaves you with injuries. The driver who caused the accident may be your best friend who was giving you a ride.
Someone who has been injured in an accident in a friend’s car or colleague’s vehicle might hesitate to file an insurance claim against the friend’s insurance to get their medical bills paid. But what you need to understand is that you’re making a claim against auto liability insurance. Your claim won’t take anything out of your friend’s pocket.
In the Orange County area, the lawyers of Sam & Ash Injury Law can review your accident and help you evaluate whether filing an accident claim against your friend’s insurance is in order. We recognize that a passenger injury claim must be handled delicately and with open communication so it does not trample your relationship. We have experience handling these delicate cases and work to make sure you understand what each step in the claims process entails. We can help to make it a smooth process with an outcome that everyone understands.
Contact Sam & Ash Injury Law in Newport Beach about working with you, especially if a friend or family member was responsible for a car accident or another accident that injured you. We’ll negotiate with the insurers to seek What’s Right for you.
Pursuing a Car Insurance Claim Against a Friend or Family
A common misconception about legal claims after accidents is that they lead to courtroom showdowns. Most personal injury cases are resolved through negotiations with the insurance company without a trial.
In most car accident injury cases, a claim is filed against the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance. California, like most other states, requires car owners to maintain at least a minimum amount of liability insurance.
Liability insurance provides coverage when the policyholder injures someone else. Auto liability policies cover the car owner and anyone in their household who drives their car. Businesses with company cars have policies that cover employees. Other types of insurance, like homeowners’ and business insurance, also have liability components.
If you were injured in a car accident a friend caused, you could file a claim for compensation against their auto liability insurance. The insurance company would be responsible for paying what you were due for medical bills. If a friend collided with your vehicle, their liability insurance should cover the cost of damage to your vehicle.
You don’t have to choose between your friendship and payment of your medical expenses and auto repairs. Liability insurance is in place to provide coverage in these situations. If you choose not to pursue a claim, only the insurance company comes out ahead.
Car Accident Lawsuits Against Friends or Family Members
As your attorneys, we file your insurance claim for you, making sure it is complete with all necessary evidence of the driver’s legal responsibility for the accident and the compensation you are due.
At that point, the insurance company can choose to:
- Pay the claim
- Deny the claim
- Offer a settlement
If they do not pay the claim, we begin negotiations to persuade them to offer a better settlement. If we they refuse to offer you a fair deal, our next option is to file a lawsuit.
A lawsuit, which asks the court to order the payment, would be filed in your name against your friend. Any payment awarded would come from insurance — not out of the named defendant’s pocket — and the insurance company would provide a lawyer to defend the case. Further, this is a civil matter. No one would walk away with a “record.”
If you are injured in a car accident caused by a family member, you are able to file a claim against their auto liability insurance if you do not live in the same household or you are not covered by the same liability policy.
In general, a lawsuit over car accident injuries could seek compensation for:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses related to injuries suffered in the crash
- Lost wages, including future losses caused by diminished earning capacity
- Property damage
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
As your attorneys, Sam & Ash Injury Law can speak with your friend or relative to help them understand that neither your insurance claim nor the lawsuit is an attack on them. It is simply the way California civil law allows you to seek the compensation you need to pay your medical bills and other losses after a serious accident. Many times, a friend or family member realizes they want the same thing you do.
What To Do After an Accident Involving Family or Friends in Orange County
After a car accident, if you are able, you want to document the accident, your injuries and medical treatment, and your other costs and losses. If asked, point out that documenting what happened helps make sure the insurance company responds to the accident appropriately.
- Call 911 to summon the police and an ambulance
- Take photos of vehicles in the accident and any visible injuries you have
- Record contact information for any other witnesses to the accident
- See a doctor within 24 hours if you do not go to a hospital in the ambulance
- Keep all records of your expenses connected to the accident, especially medical bills
Once you have filed a claim or lawsuit, it is better not to discuss it with others unless your attorney is present. You should avoid social media, where you could inadvertently post something that damages your case.
Talk to Our Orange County Car Accident Attorneys
After any car accident that leaves you injured, you are likely to have questions about how you will get your medical bills paid. Resolving the claim can be more complex if a friend or relative was at the wheel when the accident occurred. Deciding how to proceed doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You deserve the help of experienced Orange County car accident lawyers focused on making sure you get the best advice about what to do as a passenger in a car accident.
Let Sam & Ash Injury Law assess your situation after a car accident and explain your legal options. We’ll deal with insurers to settle your claim with as little strife as possible.
If someone else is responsible for your injuries in an accident, their insurers have an obligation to make things right for you financially. We’re available 24 hours a day to help you find the best path forward. We do not charge a legal fee unless we obtain money for you. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation.