Personal injury claims are often filed against complete strangers. Many of our clients have been injured by negligent drivers blowing through stop signs and T-boning vehicles and dog owners failing to secure their pets, leading to serious and painful bites. But not all accidents and injuries are caused by people you don’t know. Sometimes, they’re caused by the people you’re closest to: your own family.
It’s important to remember that after an injury caused by a close friend or family member, you shouldn’t ignore your option to seek compensation, especially since you can get the money you need from an injury claim without putting financial strain on your loved one.
Injuries Aren’t Less Harmful When Caused By a Family Member
Whether an injury is caused by a total stranger or your parent, sibling, child, cousin, or any other relative, the outcome is the same for you. You’re in pain, you may be disabled and unable to work for months or years, and you may desperately need compensation for your medical bills and other daily expenses. However, people often feel more comfortable filing compensation claims against strangers than they do against their own family.
At Parrish DeVaughn, we believe that innocent victims should always pursue compensation regardless of who caused their injuries, but we also know that filing a claim against someone you love is often awkward and stressful. But when we take on your claim, we aren’t going after your loved one; we focus our efforts on the party that in almost all circumstances is actually writing the check: the insurance company.
Follow These Steps to Protect Your Health and Rights to Compensation
After getting hurt in an accident caused by a family member, it’s important to take the right steps to get the best possible outcome. Following these steps can make the process to compensation smoother:
- Call 911 if it’s an emergency—If the accident happened in a vehicle and involved injuries or property damage, you’re required by Oklahoma law to call police, even if the driver is a family member.
- Get medical treatment—Just as you would after any type of injury, see a doctor right away to get your injuries evaluated and treated. Always be upfront about their severity. Exaggerating or downplaying their significance can jeopardize your chances of getting paid.
- Tell your family member you plan on filing a claim—It’s important to be honest about your intentions after an accident caused by a family member. You were hurt and need compensation, and an injury claim can help you get money. Although this can be a difficult conversation to have, it’s better to discuss it upfront than wait for them to be notified by your lawyer or their insurance company.
- Get a lawyer—Personal injury claims filed against family members should never be treated flippantly or like quick paydays. They require sensitivity and a cautious approach, while still focusing on getting maximum compensation for victims. Having a lawyer on your side who knows the difficulties your family is facing can help you get the best possible outcome.
Remember that insurance is legally required in Oklahoma for a variety of purposes, including driving, owning a home or property, and even running a business. Those policies are designed to kick in when unexpected accidents, injuries, and expenses occur—including those involving both strangers and family members. Filing an injury claim means pursuing compensation from an insurance company, not your loved one’s bank account.
We’ll Review the Facts to Determine the Best Path Forward for Your Family
Sometimes, the circumstances of accidents and injuries aren’t as they initially seem. When you call us, we’ll collect evidence to determine exactly what happened. That means we may discover that the accident was unavoidable, or that another party contributed to your injury.
If that’s the case, your family member may have only partial liability, or they could be absolved of all liability. And if your family member doesn’t carry adequate insurance or doesn’t have a policy that would cover your injury-related expenses, we’ll determine if there are other methods of helping you get compensation, such as pursuing a claim through your own insurance.
And even if your family member is 100% at fault, filing a lawsuit against them may still be your best course of action, especially if they’re in your immediate family. Your accident-related bills will keep piling up regardless of which decision you make, and chances are, your loved one would rather you pay your bills via an insurance settlement check—even if it’s against their own policy—rather than attempting to pay them out of pocket on your own and potentially going into debt.
Trust Our Experience with Injury Claims Filed Against Family Members
There are many factors that go into injury claims, especially when they’re filed against people who may live under the same roof as you or who you spend every Sunday dinner with. It’s important to have a law firm that understands those nuances and that will exhaustively explore every option to ensure that your family gets an outcome that works for everyone—especially the injured victims.
Contact our car accident attorneys today for a free consultation. We know you’re dealing with a stressful, frustrating, and awkward situation, and we’re here to help your family get through it one step at a time.