What happens if the person who injured you is a real friend? Does suing a friend necessarily lead to the end of the friendship?
I’m Katelyn Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.
Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.
Today’s question comes from a listened who would like to know What if the Person I have to Sue is a Friend?
In this day and age getting unfriended on social media is a frequent occurrence. But what happens if the person who injured you is a real friend? Does suing a friend necessarily lead to the end of the friendship?
One of our most watched videos at the DavidHolubLaw YouTube site is entitled “Is It Ever Proper to Sue a Friend?” In that video, we explain why the odds are great that the person you might have to sue will be a friend, or even a relative.
Think about it, who do you hang out with more, friends or strangers? If you are like most people you spend your time with friends. That means you might be in a car with a friend, or you might be on the property of a friend.
Consider a fall injury. Sure, you might fall at a restaurant or a store. But, quite frequently, people who get hurt on someone’s property actually get hurt on the property of people they know.
How often do you trespass onto the property of a stranger?
If you think about it, people who buy insurance actually buy insurance not only to protect themselves against a judgment if a stranger might sue them, they buy insurance to protect their friends and relatives that come on to their property.
Why, because those people are the ones who are likely to be injured coming onto the property because 90% of the time people coming onto your property are people that you know.
But does suing a friend necessarily mean the end of a friendship? The answer is no.
It’s normal to be apprehensive about making a claim against someone that you know – whether they’re a friend or simply an acquaintance.
Say you’re a passenger in your brother-in-law’s car and he drives like a maniac and flips the car and you’re seriously injured. What if you hire an attorney and the attorney gives notice to your brother-in-law’s insurance company and the insurance company contacts the brother-in-law. Now all of a sudden, you’ve got an irate family member wondering if you’re suing them, and will it jeopardize their finances beyond the insurance.
If this is a concern of yours, are there things that you and your attorney can do to avoid this type of rift in a relationship? Sure. There are lots of things.
One, you can ask your attorney to head off the potential for hard feelings by writing to the friend or relative that you may need to sue and tell them that you will only be going after their insurance or that you will not in any way attempt to take their car, their home, or other assets.
Two, you can ask your attorney to call and explain the same thing to your friend or relative. Attorneys are prohibited from contacting and speaking with someone who is already represented by an attorney, but if your friend or relative is not represented by an attorney, there is no reason why your attorney can’t call and explain what your view is and how you anticipate only going after insurance.
Do these things always work to smooth over hard feelings and prevent damage to a relationship? Yeah, most of the time they do.
Now sometimes it may take some work by your attorney to get through to a friend or relative that you’re only interested in obtaining insurance to cover medical bills and lost time from work.
But in most cases, people are understanding if it’s explained to them and they’re approached in the right way.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.