Being a passenger in a friend's car during an accident is a terrible situation for everyone involved. Your friend probably feels terrible about the pain that they've caused you. And you're probably worrying about how you can pay for your expensive medical treatments while also not harming your friend. A personal injury attorney can help you walk the fine line of getting compensation while also not overshooting and causing harm to your friend. Here's how.
Why Use a Lawyer at All?
You may think that simply going through your friend's insurance company is good enough. However, there is often a problem with insurance lowballing. You may have difficulty getting compensation that meets all of your medical needs and expenses. An insurance company is obligated to pay for your expenses up to the friend's insurance maximums, but it may take some negotiating and strong proof from a lawyer to show how much compensation is actually needed.
Suing Insurance Companies vs. Suing Friends
There's an important distinction to make. When you're dealing with a driver who is a friend, you have the option to sue the insurance company instead of suing the individual. Of course, suing an individual gives you a higher payout in many cases, because the judge can look at factors beyond the insurance limits. They may consider things like pain and suffering, which an insurance company does not cover. However, this could cause significant damage to your friend because the money will come out of pocket. To avoid ruining a friendship, it's often recommended to sue the insurance company and not the friend directly.
First of All, Talk to Your Friend
You will probably want to have a chat with your friend before you pursue any legal action. Your lawyer can also help you do this. First of all, explain that you have significant medical bills from the accident that you can't cover yourself. It's up to you whether you want to share the specific numbers.
Let them know that the lawsuit will not go after them personally. It may raise their insurance rates, but this was going to happen anyway if the accident was recorded and reported to insurance as being their fault. Hopefully, your friend is supportive of you doing what you need to do to feel well and not be drowning in debt. From there, speak with your lawyer about the steps for collecting evidence of your bills and ongoing medical conditions that need treatment.