Taking Legal Action in the Case of Car Accidents Involving Family Members

Edited by Admin
Taking Legal Action in the Case of Car Accidents Involving Family Members
Car Accidents Involving Family Members
When accident victims are dealing with a serious injury related to a motor vehicle accident, they may be experiencing pain, depression, PTSD, financial strain, and personal stresses, all while trying to recover and adjust to a “new normal.” If the injury has been caused by a family member, the emotional fallout can also be devastating. Under ordinary circumstances, when the insurance company is insufficient, accident victims often bring a suit against the at-fault party. However, when that party is a close relative, victims may find themselves in a difficult situation. Litigating against a spouse, for example, seems to indicate animosity, even when there is none. One of the most complicated situations is when a parent is responsible for the injury  their child; in these instances, it may become necessary for the child to take legal action against the caregiving parent in order for the family to receive the compensation they need. 

These kinds of cases can bring up many unpleasant emotions and cause friction within families. Often, especially when the victim is unfamiliar with the legal system, they are reluctant to file a suit against a family member. They worry about how the family member will perceive it, or about how it will look to outsiders. But in order to make life easier for the injured party, families should talk to a personal injury lawyer about the possibility of taking legal action. If handled sensitively, these cases can provide the victim with the compensation they deserve, while still preserving family bonds.

The Adversarial System
Our legal system works by pitting a plaintiff against a defendant. While this makes sense for the vast majority of cases that are tried, in the case of a personal injury sustained due to the actions of a family member, it can cause undue emotional stress. The purpose of the legal action may be merely to obtain compensation from the insurer, but it can feel like an attack on the responsible family member. For example, in the case of a minor child, a parent may assume liability for failing to properly supervise or instruct the child. Unless this type of case is pursued carefully, the proceedings can add to the guilt of the parent. However, a lawsuit may be the family’s only recourse for recovering the damages required to care for the injured child. This type of situation can also be logistically tricky, since the lawyer for the child should not have contact with the parent, who is now the defendant. 

Another common familial situation is that of the married couple involved in a motor vehicle accident. In order to get compensation, the injured spouse may need to take legal action against the spouse who was driving the vehicle involved. While the goal is to get compensation from the insurance company, it can be perceived as an attack by one spouse on the other, and this can create tension in the family. However, if everyone understands that the law requires this action in order to help the victim, a lot of the distress can be alleviated. 

Typically, these suits are brought when the victim has been seriously injured and will require a large settlement to help with their future care. This might include circumstances where the victim has a catastrophic injury such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia, amputation, loss of vision, serious psychological injuries, or a combination of physical and mental injuries that result in impairment of functioning. Catastrophic injuries not only affect the quality of life for accident victims, they often also place a significant financial burden on them and their families.  

Working with a Personal Injury Lawyer
These types of situations may be fraught, but a good personal injury lawyer can help to explain the legal process and advise you about your family’s options. It’s a good idea to meet with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following the accident, so that you can set the process in motion properly. Although you may have a lawyer who works with you on other types of issues, making a claim requires the services of a personal injury lawyer. Accident claims involve complex paperwork and firm deadlines, and a lawyer whose practice is focused on personal injury law will understand the insurance company requirements, have knowledge about common motor vehicle injuries and their treatment, and have experience in this area.

Personal injury lawyers know that accident victims are often under financial pressure due to lost wages or unexpected expenses. That’s why these lawyers don’t charge up-front hourly fees, and why the initial meeting with a personal injury lawyer is usually free of charge. They work on a contingency basis, which means they don’t get paid until you receive a settlement.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact a personal injury law firm today, and get the answers you need to move forward.