Every time you enter a vehicle and travel to a destination, there’s a chance you’ll be injured in a crash along the way. That’s true whether you’re behind the wheel or in a passenger seat.
Most of the time, people ride as passengers with either their family members or friends driving. That can make it difficult for victims to know what to do if they’re injured in crashes that were caused by the people they were riding with.
Many victims can’t imagine suing their friends or family members after crashes, but there are a few very good reasons why you should sue someone close to you after a crash.
It’s Unlikely Your Friend or Family Member Will Pay Out of Pocket
The biggest reason people are hesitant to sue friends or family members after crashes they caused is because they don’t want to hurt them financially. The costs of a car accident injury can be significant when you factor in medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and those costs can easily wipe out the savings of at-fault drivers.
However, if your friend or family member has liability insurance, which is required to legally drive in Oklahoma, it’s unlikely they will pay out of pocket to cover your expenses. Instead, their insurance will kick in to pay for your crash-related damages.
The minimum coverage for injuries in Oklahoma is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. However, many people purchase extra coverage to reduce their chances of having to pay out of pocket for damages to victims of crashes they cause. That means it’s likely that your friend’s or family member’s liability insurance will be enough to cover your bills.
It May Be Your Only Option of Getting Compensation
If you don’t have Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage to pay for your medical bills, suing the driver of the vehicle you were riding in may be your only way of getting compensation to pay those bills.
Not filing a claim against the driver means being left to pay for your ambulance ride and hospitalization, as well as any surgeries, physical therapy appointments, and prescription drug costs out of your own pocket.
MedPay Coverage Is Limited and Only Pays for Medical Bills
Even if you have MedPay coverage, you may still need to sue the driver to be fully compensated for the crash. There are two reasons for that:
MedPay coverage is typically limited to $25,000.
Although some insurers offer more, many max out at $25,000. And while that will cover all of the medical bills for some victims after some crashes, it doesn’t always cover all victims’ expenses. For example, the cost of an ambulance ride alone can be around $1,200, and hospital stays can be around $3,000 per day.
MedPay coverage doesn’t pay for lost wages or pain and suffering.
Car accidents can result in disabling injuries that can put victims out of work for weeks, months, or even years. They can also result in chronic pain and mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. MedPay coverage never covers lost wages and often doesn’t cover pain and suffering-related costs, but a car accident lawsuit can cover those damages.
Your Friend or Family Member’s Insurer Will Likely Settle Out of Court
Aside from forcing their friends or family members to pay out of pocket for their damages, car accident victims also often worry about dragging them into long trials. However, most personal injury claims, including car accident claims, settle long before being heard in a courtroom.
In fact, the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that only 3 to 4 percent of personal injury claims end up in court. And those that do end up in court still settle long before a jury decides a verdict.
That means suing a friend or family member will likely require little to no action on their part. Instead, their insurer will handle all of the paperwork and legal requirements.
Our Lawyers Will Handle Your Claim with Sensitivity and Empathy
At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we know that suing a friend or family member after a crash is an uncomfortable situation for everyone involved. We’ve helped many car accident victims get compensation after accidents caused by people they know and love, and we work hard to build these claims while taking into account the relationships of our clients and the at-fault parties.
You shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for a crash that wasn’t your fault, even if it’s someone very close to you. Instead, let the insurance company do what it’s supposed to do—pay you for the damages you suffered during the crash.
Our Oklahoma car accident lawyers are ready to help you get the money you’re owed. Contact us today for a free consultation.