Criminal defense cases cover both criminal suits — charges brought by the government to punish an individual for an act classified as a crime — and civil suits — claims brought by individuals or organizations as a dispute over rights and duties.
Recently, the mother of a 15-yr-old filed a personal injury lawsuit against her own son for injuries she suffered when her son drove the vehicle she was passenger in down an embankment and into a utility pole. The following article by Aimee Green details the incident, as well as the recent court ruling allowing the mother to proceed with the lawsuit against her son for injuries she suffered in the crash.
The story received quite a bit of attention with many outsiders wondering what kind of mother would sue her own son. The reality is the mother is only trying to access auto insurance coverage to compensate her for her losses; insurance that she likely paid the premium on. When someone has sustained significant injuries in a car crash, filing a lawsuit against a relative or close friend is often the only way for the injured party to receive proper compensation from the insurance company. With guest statutes being repealed in many states, including Nebraska, we are beginning to see more and more of these types of claims.
Most people do not realize that after you have been injured in an accident your claim is against the negligent driver. Even though you may be dealing with an insurance adjuster throughout the claims process, your claim is still against whoever was responsible for causing your injuries. If the auto insurance company is not willing to fully compensate you for your damages, and you are not able to agree on a settlement, the only way to access potential additional insurance money is to sue the person driving the car. Not only is the insurance company not the defendant in this situation, but in most cases you are not even allowed to mention the fact there is insurance at trial.
The at-fault driver’s insurance will pay for its insured’s legal defense, as well as any later injury settlement or jury verdict; but the negligent driver is still the named defendant in the lawsuit. This is why following a serious car wreck you will often times see a lawsuit involving a wife suing her husband or a brother suing a sister – not because the parties are angry or money hungry, but because filing the lawsuit is the only way the injured party can access the insurance coverage. In most of these situations, the defendant is actually supportive of the lawsuit, as they would like to see their friend or relative properly compensated for the damages that have been incurred. As a personal injury lawyer in Omaha, it’s not uncommon for our office to run into this type of situation. If you have recently been injured in a car accident where a friend or relative was at fault, contact a local injury attorney to discuss your options.