How to Explain a Lawsuit to Your Friend
As the dust settles on a crash, you need to decide the best course of action for your recovery and well-being. In many cases, the only thing you can do is file a suit against the at-fault driver in the crash. This can be uncomfortable if that person is a close friend and you were the passenger. We can help you explain a lawsuit to a friend so they understand the process.
Let them know this isn’t a personal attack
Your friend might feel like you are going after them and their personal funds when you first bring up the possibility of a lawsuit. However, it is important when you explain this lawsuit to your friend that you emphasize that the suit you are filing isn’t against them as an individual. Their name will be listed on the case, but your claim is against the insurance coverage they already pay for.
While your friend is listed as a defendant of your claim, their insurance company will step in to handle the dispute. The insurer will provide a lawyer for free to defend the case and work with your lawyer to reach an agreement. The whole mediation and claims process is covered by their insurance policy. Your friend shouldn’t have to spend time or energy on the legal process because the case you are bringing is really against the insurance provider.
Insurance policies are designed to cover both drivers and their passengers, so you shouldn’t have a problem getting the coverage you need. If your friend’s insurance provider won’t cover your costs or if they provide an insufficient amount, then you are protecting your finances by filing a lawsuit against them. You aren’t going after your friend for their actions, but you are suing the insurance company so you can get the financial help you need.
Show your friend that passengers suffer along with drivers
As you talk to your friend about the claim, help them understand how your life was impacted by the accident as well. Drivers aren’t the only ones who have to put their lives on hold because of an accident. You also experienced trauma in the days and weeks following the crash. A few common costs that are associated with car accidents for both drivers and passengers include:
- Bodily injuries: these lead to expensive medical bills (especially if you visit the ER or need surgery) and long-term costs including pain management, physical therapy, and further health complications from the injury.
- Lost wages: if you miss work because of an injury, you can be compensated for your lost wages. Lost wages can cover a few days or several weeks lost due to the inability to work. It also covers future lost earning potential. For example, if you broke your leg but need to be on your feet to work, you could sue for lost wages if you can’t work with the cast on. You can also sue for lost earning potential if you need to find a new job because of long-term damage to your leg.
- Pain and suffering: this refers to the physical and emotional suffering caused by the crash. It covers factors like the PTSD of getting back in a car and the emotional stress of paying medical bills.
- Incidental damages: incidentals refer to expenses that you accrued because of the car crash. These might include lost deposits on trips you had to cancel or increased costs for childcare while you were in the hospital. These may seem like small expenses at first, but the costs can add up.
Your friend should understand that your life was significantly impacted as a result of the crash. By filing a suit against their insurance, you’re looking to put your life back on track.
What are the common injuries for a passenger of a car accident?
As you explain a lawsuit to your friend, it is important to demonstrate that your injuries are just as meaningful as a driver’s injuries. Passenger injuries can be just as serious as injuries to the driver of the car. There are a few common injuries that you should be mindful of and get checked out for if you recently walked away from a crash.
Neck and back injuries
Whiplash is one of the most common neck injuries in an accident. This occurs when your head moves forward and then snaps back from the impact of the crash. There are three million new cases of whiplash each year, and almost 40 percent of people will develop chronic pain as a result.
Additionally, damage to the neck or spine should be taken very seriously, as these injuries could lead to paralysis or life-long damage.
Head and brain injuries
Even if you walk away from a car accident seemingly uninjured, you should still get treatment to see if you are a concussion risk. A concussion is caused by a jolt or blow to the head that causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth. Additional head and brain injuries include skull fractures, internal brain bleeding, and brain damage.
Soft tissue injuries
Your soft tissue includes your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. During a crash, these problems can range in severity. A pulled muscle can result in mild discomfort for a few days, but a torn ligament might need surgery.
This is another instance where seeking medical treatment will help. You might think the problem is minor and will heal in a few days but the problem could be more severe.
Broken or fractured bones
Broken and fractured bones are easy to identify. In car accidents, leg and arm bones and some of the most common that break, though you may also fracture your hip, ribs, or collarbones. Treatment for these fractures depends on their location and the type of break. Your doctor may place you in a cast for a few weeks or they may need to operate to repair the damage.
Even if you think your injuries are minor, it is important to see a medical professional immediately after your accident. Visiting a medical professional can also help you create a strong case for your claim. You can prove that the accident caused you bodily harm and you suffered for it.
If you were in an accident with a friend or family member at the wheel, know your rights as a passenger. We can help you broach the lawsuit delicately so you can move forward with your claim. Contact Console and Associates today for a free consultation.