Car Accident Claims Against Friends and Family
Often, after a car accident, someone who is injured must sue a negligent driver to recover damages to cover medical expenses and lost wages. However, there are instances in which a friend or family member is operating a vehicle, and a passenger inside the car is injured due to the friend or family member's negligence. You then may need to file a car accident claim against the friend or family member's insurance. At Sharifi Firm, our Los Angeles car accident lawyers understand that it may make you uncomfortable to make a claim against your friend or family member's insurance, but it can put a huge strain on your finances to handle the costs of serious injuries on your own. People procure insurance in order to address this potential problem.Car Accident Claims Against Friends and Family
Friends and family members are sometimes negligent while operating their cars, and the results can be serious injuries to people close to them. If you are injured in a car accident caused by a friend or family member, you should consider retaining an attorney to file a car accident claim. Sometimes liability is not clear, and you will need to sue the other driver as well as the friend or family member.
To establish a driver's liability, you will need to prove his or her negligence. This means that you will need to show that the friend owed you a duty of care, the friend breached the duty of care, and causation tied the breach to your damages. Generally, the driver of a car in which you are riding has a duty not only to others on the road but also to passengers like you to drive safely and avoid causing accidents. When they do cause an accident, they are supposed to have insurance to ensure that anybody injured, including you, is not forced to suffer for their mistakes.
Suppose, for example, that your friend is texting or otherwise distracted and as a result does not stop at a stop sign. They might wind up in a side-impact accident with a car that had the right of way. If you were on the side that was hit, and you suffered internal injuries, paralysis, and traumatic brain injuries, your friend would likely be found to have breached the duty to use reasonable care. Your friend may be even be found negligent per se if he or she violated a safety law that was designed to guard against the type of injury that you suffered, and the violation caused the accident.
California follows the rule of comparative fault. That means that a jury would look at all of the evidence and arguments and assign a percentage of fault to the different drivers. For example, a friend who was driving a car may be 50% at fault, while the driver of another car may also be 50% at fault. If your total damages are $200,000, you may be able to recover $100,000 from your friend's insurance and $100,000 from the other driver's insurance.
What if the car in which you are riding has no insurance, and the accident was 100% your friend or family member's fault? In some cases, it is possible to turn to your own uninsured motorist coverage.
You should be aware that insurers sometimes limit insurance coverage for instances in which a resident of the negligent driver's household is involved. This can cause complications. Sometimes an insurance policy excludes "resident relatives." This can be a complicated analysis when considering children who are subject to joint custody orders. Courts will look closely at the policy language and the facts of the case if there is a dispute about whether an exclusion properly applies to your situation.Consult a Knowledgeable Los Angeles Attorney for Your Car Crash Case
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a Los Angeles car accident as a passenger of an at-fault driver's car, you may need to bring a car accident claim against a friend or family member. At Sharifi Firm, PLC, our experienced attorneys can provide knowledgeable legal representation. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or via our online form. We also represent clients in cities such as Riverside, Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, and San Bernardino.