Personal Injury Claims Among Friends & Family | KNR
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Accidents between friends or family members can create a particularly sensitive situation, especially when injuries are involved.
Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
April 17, 2024

Imagine having dinner at a friend’s place, but you slip on an unseen icy patch in their driveway, resulting in a serious injury. Suddenly, you’re faced with medical bills, days off work, and a potentially long, painful recovery.

The person responsible is someone you treasure—a close friend or family member. Here lies the delicate situation: pursuing the compensation you need without fracturing a cherished relationship. Many quickly dismiss their injury or accept more blame than they deserve because someone they know is involved. But doing so could put you in more financial trouble and pain than necessary.

At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, we understand the complexity of such cases. We’ve guided countless clients through securing just compensation in claims against those closest to them. Our experienced Ohio injury lawyers can navigate these delicate scenarios carefully, ensuring you receive the support you need while preserving the bonds that matter most.

What If the Person Who Caused My Injury Is a Friend or Family Member?

Accidents between friends or family members can create a particularly sensitive situation, especially when injuries are involved.

Here are examples of such accidents and the injuries that may necessitate filing an injury claim, highlighting the importance of handling these matters with care and the potential role of a personal injury lawyer in facilitating the process:

Auto Accidents Among Friends & Family

When traveling as a passenger with a friend or family member, if they cause an auto accident where you sustain injuries, they may be liable for your damages. You may be hesitant at first, but the driver’s insurance policy is typically the primary source of compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses resulting from the injury.

Slip and Falls at a Friend’s Home

Homeowners have a duty to ensure their property is safe for visitors. So, if you experience a slip and fall injury at a friend’s home due to unsafe conditions such as wet floors or poor lighting, your friend’s homeowner’s insurance may be responsible for covering your injury costs.

Recreational Injuries

Activities like sports or hiking with friends or family can sometimes lead to injuries. If the injury was caused by someone’s negligence or dangerous conditions on someone else’s property, you might have a claim against the negligent party or the property owner’s insurance.

Dog Bites or Animal Attacks

If a friend’s or family member’s pet injures you, the owner can usually be liable for your injuries. Many homeowners’ insurance policies include coverage for dog bite incidents, which can provide compensation for medical treatment, rehabilitation, and any lasting injuries.

Accidental Shootings

Accidental shootings, especially if they occur during activities like hunting or at home, can lead to complex liability issues. The person handling the firearm may be liable if negligence is shown. Homeowner’s insurance or specific liability policies may cover the victim’s injuries.

In all these scenarios, personal injury laws are designed to compensate the injured party while balancing fault and responsibility. A personal injury lawyer can help navigate the complexities of each unique case, especially when the responsible party is someone close to you.

Facing the Dilemma of Suing a Loved One

It’s natural to feel conflicted about the idea of taking legal action against a friend or family member. The emotional ties involved often make it more daunting to pursue compensation. Understandably, you may be reluctant to initiate a claim out of fear of causing financial strain or harming the relationship.

However, securing the funds for your recovery is critical for your well-being and financial stability.

How to Navigate Insurance Claims with Family & Friends

In Ohio, you are often not seeking compensation directly from your loved one but rather from their insurance company. This distinction can alleviate some of the personal conflict associated with a claim. Personal injury lawyers can play a vital role in managing these delicate matters. Their experience allows you to claim the necessary funds without directly impacting the personal finances of the family member or friend responsible for your injury.

Remember, the objective of insurance is to provide financial support in the event of an accident. Your loved ones likely want the best for you—they want to see you heal and not be burdened by medical costs or lost income. With a lawyer’s assistance, you can tactfully claim these benefits without the stress of personally confronting those you care about.

Why Insurance Is Your Best Route

Insurance exists for precisely this reason: to cover damages in unfortunate events like accidents without the need to delve into personal assets. By filing a claim, you’re simply utilizing the protections that insurance policies are designed to provide.

A skilled personal injury attorney can facilitate negotiations to secure fair compensation from the insurance company. This approach ensures that you are not leaving potential benefits unclaimed and that insurance companies fulfill their obligations.

If the individual responsible for your injury lacks insurance coverage, pursuing a claim could be detrimental to them personally. In such cases, the decision becomes more complex. But if there is insurance in place, the insurer should bear the financial responsibility, not your friend or family member.

You can navigate this path through careful legal guidance, ensuring you are compensated without directly affecting the individual’s personal life.

FAQs About Injury Claims Among Friends & Family

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about pursuing compensation from friends or family members after an injury, with clear, legally informed answers to guide you through this sensitive process.

Can I Sue a Family Member Without Ruining Our Relationship?

Legal action for compensation after an injury-causing accident is typically against an insurance policy, not the individual personally. While the situation can be a little awkward, you should not bear the burden for an act of negligence. A lawyer can help ensure the process is handled sensitively to family dynamics.

What If My Friend or Family Member Doesn’t Have Insurance and I’m Injured?

The process becomes a lot more complex if there’s no insurance coverage. If the party at fault doesn’t have insurance, a direct claim may impact them financially. It’s wise to discuss your options and best course of action with a personal injury lawyer.

Is it Better to Settle a Personal Injury Claim When It Involves Friends or Family?

Most injury cases are resolved through a negotiated settlement rather than a trial. Settlement can be a less confrontational and quicker resolution, often preferred in cases involving people you have a personal relationship with. However, you need to ensure the insurance company involved is not lowballing you and a legal professional is advocating for your best interests.

How Long Do I Have to File an Injury Claim in Ohio When the Accident Involves a Friend or Family Member?

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Ohio is generally two years from the date of the accident. Still, it’s important to consult with a lawyer to understand any exceptions or specific circumstances that might apply to your case.

Injured & Have Questions? KNR is Here to Help

If you or a loved one is suffering from the results of a recent personal injury, don’t let another day go by without obtaining competent legal help. You may be entitled to substantial compensation for your losses. The Ohio personal injury lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick are here to help you take the next steps.

Call 1-800-HURT-NOW or contact us online to request a free, confidential consultation.