Were you injured on the property or in the car of a friend? Many victims of personal injury may not hesitate to put in a claim against the insurance of a stranger, but they hesitate at involving a friend or loved one. But if you need compensation, it may not be avoidable. What should you do in this case? How can you preserve your relationship? Here are five tips.
1. Remember Who the Claim Is Against
Most people who worry about putting a claim against a loved one's property do so for fear of costing the person financially. However, it's important to always remember that your claim is against their insurance company — not your friend. While it may have some related impact on their rates, you are in no way seeking money from them.
2. Be Open and Honest with Them
Sit down and talk with your friend or family member about your injuries and your need for financial assistance. If you have a good relationship with them, they likely want you to get the proper treatment and recover financially or physically. Explain how this will help you do just that.
3. Keep Them Updated
While you shouldn't make the personal injury claim your main topic of conversation when you see the property owner, do occasionally keep them updated on its progress. Let them know if they will be contacted or if certain documentation will be requested. You won't feel awkward about the open claim, and they'll have advance warning if they're impacted.
4. Seek Other Compensation Sources
Is it likely that your friend's insurance coverage will be insufficient? You still may have options other than suing them for damages directly. If they rent, for instance, you can seek compensation from the landlord's property insurance. No-fault states may have funds for passengers or pedestrians involved in uninsured motorist accidents. Or you might even have a case against the local government for dangerous conditions on the roads.
5. Separate the Claim from Your Friendship
Your insurance claim or personal injury case shouldn't define your relationship with the policyholder. This is particularly important if your loved one was partly or wholly responsible for the accident. Help them understand that the claim doesn't mean you're mad at them, that you blame them, or that you hold a grudge. It's a financial matter, but your friendship can be just as strong on its own.
Where to Start
If you find yourself facing this awkward dilemma, start by consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer in your state. They will guide you in the right steps and offer recommendations on how to handle things when they impact friendships. Call a firm such as Labine Law Firm to make an appointment.