5 Difficulties You’ll Face if You Have to Sue a Friend
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When an accident happens on your friend’s property, you may be faced with the difficult question of whether or not to sue them for damages. Even if you do not blame your friend, or believe that they did everything in their power to avoid the accident, you may still need to consider suing them in order for your medical bills to be covered.
In no-fault states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey, your own auto insurance covers your medical bills in a car accident, no matter who is at fault. So if you don’t have your own insurance and are injured as a passenger in a friend’s car, you will be left without coverage for medical care unless you sue your friend. But while this may seem like a terrible ethical dilemma, there are actually many reasons why suing your friend is a reasonable option to pursue.
The experienced attorneys at Richard Hollawell understand the difficulties involved when you have to consider suing a friend and can help you navigate the complex ethical and legal issues that are involved in this situation.
Understanding Who Is Liable
While suing your friend may seem to place you in conflict with them, that is very rarely the case. In nearly all cases, your friend will have either auto or homeowners insurance in place, and the lawsuit will be brought against the insurance company, not your friend.
Your friend purchased their home or auto insurance for exactly this reason; to pay for costs involved in an accident. These benefits have been paid for by your friend, and filing a lawsuit is simply utilizing them.
Raising Your Friend’s Insurance
Insurance companies do often raise premiums after an accident in which the policyholder is at fault. But you should know that the insurance company may do this regardless of whether or not you file your claim, so it is in your best interest to use the money your friend has invested in their insurance policy.
When an Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
In the majority of cases, the insurance company will handle the payments. If the company denies your claim, it is usually for one of the following reasons:
- Your claim was not reported soon enough to the insurance company
- The insurance company believes you were at fault
- Your friend’s policy lapsed for non-payment or was otherwise invalid
In these instances, an experienced lawyer can appeal your claim and negotiate a fair settlement. If a settlement can not be reached, then a lawsuit against your friend may be the only option left available to you.
If Your Friend Doesn’t Have Valid Insurance
If your friend has a lapsed auto or homeowners insurance policy, then you may have no choice other than to sue them for your medical expenses. This is a time when you need a skilled lawyer by your side, to help assure your friend that this isn’t personal. Accidents happen to everyone, and just because you are bringing a lawsuit against your friend, doesn’t mean you blame them.
Going To Trial
If you bring a lawsuit, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to trial. Over 95% of personal injury cases are settled out of court, as trials are expensive and time-consuming. Your lawyer will do everything in their power to reach a settlement that is fair and provides you with the compensation you need to pay your medical bills, without going to trial.
How a Lawyer Can Help if You Need to Sue a Friend
Even though you have every right to sue a friend for your injuries, it is almost never comfortable to do so. Remember, that in almost all cases, you will be suing the insurance company and not your friend. The money you get from the lawsuit will not be coming from your friend but from their insurance company. And a true friend would not want you to suffer from injuries that they are responsible for.
Speaking to a skilled personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether or not you want to sue your friend, and what the benefits and downsides of doing so will be. Although our goal is to help you receive just compensation for your injuries, you can ultimately decide what is best for you and your friend in the long run. Contact the attorneys at Richard Hollawell today for a free consultation by calling 1-800-681-3550 or using our contact form.