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.
For anyone who does not deal with car accidents and truck accidents on a regular basis, the claims process can be extremely confusing. I often get calls from people who have been injured in an accident months after the accident occurred. This lapse in time can be for a variety of reasons – “I thought the pain would go away”, “I didn’t want to hire an attorney”, “The other driver was not insured, and I was unaware that I could file an injury claim with my own insurance company”, “I did not want my premium to increase” and the list goes on and on. But, one of the most common issues that arises is when someone is injured in a car accident and the individual responsible for the accident is a close friend or family member. Most people do not look forward to hiring an accident injury lawyer or filing a lawsuit against a total stranger, let alone their college roommate.
Much of this apprehension is caused by a lack of understanding of insurance and the claims process in general. When you pay a monthly premium for your car insurance, you are paying money to insure that if you are injured in an accident, or if you injure someone else in an accident, there are protections in place. These protections come in the form of money. Money to compensate you for an injury caused by some other person’s negligence; money to compensate someone else who is injured by your negligence; or money for an attorney to represent you in a lawsuit filed by someone who is claiming they were injured by your negligence. The only way to gain access to this money is for a claim to be filed.
Now, if someone comes over to your house and damages your property, say they run into your mailbox, they accidentally break a window, or they knock over your television, you expect them to pay for the damage. Why then, would that same person not be responsible if they damage you. If someone breaks your arm, injures your neck or herniates a disc in your lower back; they should be responsible the same as they would had they damaged your mailbox, your window or your television. Now, fortunately, in the situation where a person is injured in an auto accident, there is typically insurance to cover the damages so that the individual who caused the accident will not be responsible for paying all of the damages out of their own pocket. This is why you should not feel uncomfortable filing an injury claim with your friend’s insurance carrier.
Your friend paid their premium to have coverage in the event they injured someone. The only way to access that coverage is for a claim to be filed. Unfortunately, once the claim is filed, it is not up to your friend to decide how much compensation you receive for the injuries you sustained. It is up to the insurance company. If the insurance carrier denies your claim, or you are not satisfied with their offer, your only recourse is to file a lawsuit. The lawsuit must be filed against the person who caused the injury, not the insurance company. This is a big reason why you see friends or family members suing each other. The insurance company pays for the lawyers, and the insurance company pays the damages that are awarded at trial; however, the lawsuit is filed against the person who it is claimed caused the injury. If you have been injured in an accident, and the person who is at fault for the accident is a close friend or a family member, contact an injury attorney in your city to discuss your options, including how an injury claim or lawsuit may affect the negligent party.