Should I Sue for Car Crash Injuries if the At-Fault Party Is a Friend or Family Member?

Posted on behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on December 29, 2023

. Updated on February 8, 2024


two drivers on their phone at car accident sceneCar crash victims may hesitate to sue a friend or family member after a car crash. It may seem harsh to file a claim against a loved one, and victims may be concerned about how it will impact the relationship. However, it is important to remember that the claim will be against their insurance company and not against your loved one.

Below, Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak discuss why people may avoid filing a claim against a relative or close friend. We also discuss valid claim eligibility and filing deadlines.

If you were injured in an accident caused by a friend or family member, you may be eligible to seek compensation for damages and injuries. Our South Bend car accident lawyers are prepared to help you throughout the legal process.

Call our office today at (844)-678-1800 for a FREE case review.

Why Car Crash Victims Avoid Filing a Claim Against a Friend or Family Member

Car crash victims may avoid filing a claim against a friend or family member out of concern for the relationship. Emotional ties can make it difficult for some individuals to file a claim against a loved one.

Other reasons why car crash victims may not file a claim against a relative or friend:

  • The victim may worry about causing a financial burden for their friend or family member.
  • Individuals may hesitate to place blame on a loved one if they are unsure who is at fault.
  • Victims may feel pressure to negotiate without a lawyer if they know the at-fault party
  • If the victim knows a loved one is at fault, they may try to protect them from facing potential legal consequences, such as license suspension.

How Do I Know If I Have a Case?

You may have a case if you can prove the other party was negligent in some way. This means establishing:

  • The other party breached his or her legal duty of care as a driver
  • That violation of duty led to a car crash that caused your injuries
  • You suffered real damages, such as medical costs, lost wages, property damages and other pain and suffering losses.

Proving an injury claim is complicated without the help of an experienced attorney. This is just one reason why we strongly recommend seeking immediate legal help after a crash. An attorney can help you understand all your legal options and guide you throughout the process.

Should You File a Car Crash Claim Against a Friend or Family Member?

The purpose of filing a claim against a friend or family member is to recover compensation for your losses.

Even minor incidents could leave you with large medical bills and having to take time off from work. If your injuries are severe, you may be left with a permanent disability, disfigurement or scarring. You may be unable to return to work, or at least your former career.

Any of these situations could cost you thousands of dollars. It is unlikely your friend or loved one would want you to suffer in that way.

The important thing to remember is that you are filing a claim against the liable insurance company, not your loved one. Insurance companies are there to provide financial protection for at-fault parties in case of an accident. Therefore, your loved one will not have to pay out of pocket for damages they caused.

Can I Talk to My Friend or Family Member About the Lawsuit?

You may want to let your loved one know of your intention to file a claim against their insurance company. However, it is best to speak with your attorney first. He or she can guide you on the best approach and how to protect critical details about your case that you should not disclose to anyone, especially the party who caused your car crash.

There are a couple of reasons for this, including:

  • Your friend or family member may, either by accident or on purpose, share those details with the insurance company
  • The insurance company may take that confidential information and use it against you
  • You risk damaging your claim and recovering less compensation

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in Indiana?

In Indiana, car crash victims must file a claim two years from the date of the accident. Minors who suffer injuries in a car crash must file a claim within two years from the date of their 18th birthday.

If you try to file a claim after the statute of limitation has passed, it will likely be dismissed by the court. This means you will not be able to recover any damages resulting from your car crash.

Call Our South Bend Office To Discuss Your Potential Case

Hiring an attorney helps to ensure your rights and interests are protected throughout the legal process.

At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, we offer a free initial consultation. If we take your case, there are no upfront costs to pay. Even if we find you have a valid case, there is no obligation to take legal action.

Call our office to speak to a lawyer today. (844)-678-1800

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases