Suing family members for personal injury

Suing family members for personal injury

Accidents can happen anywhere and at any time.  If they are caused by negligence or an intentional act on the part of another party, that person can and should be held liable for the victim’s damages and losses.  

But, what happens if you or a loved one is injured, perhaps seriously, in a house belonging to one of your relatives? Several types of personal injuries can take place at family member’s home, from swimming pool accidents, to slip and falls on icy, slick sidewalks or pathways, to dog bites.

Sustaining an injury at a family member’s house can really complicate your decision as to whether or not to sue for the injuries that you or your children sustained. While family members can and do sue each other all of the time to recover damages such as medical expenses, hospital bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, there are some important considerations when entering into a lawsuit with a family member.

Special considerations

The chances that an injury will occur at a relative’s house increases as families grow and have more and more family gatherings. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to take some time to think through all of the ramifications of initiating a lawsuit.

The first, and perhaps, the most important consideration when making a decision to sue family members is a practical one. If you decide to file a lawsuit, can you actually recover any damages from your parents, uncle, aunt, sibling, cousins, etc.? Do they have the financial means, including cash, insurance, or other liquid assets, to provide you or your children with the appropriate compensation for your injuries?  If not, you’ll have very little to no chance of collecting any remuneration from them. If they do have some financial means, do they enough to make a settlement worthwhile?

The second consideration is emotional. If you go ahead with your lawsuit and end up recovering compensation, what will be the consequences for you family? Your lawsuit could end up causing temporary and even permanent rifts between you and the family members involved, especially if they feel that they need to “choose sides” in a legal fight.

Therefore, it may be better to find a solution outside of the litigation process via a settlement.  Unfortunately, sometimes it’s necessary to go forward with suing a family member, especially in cases where the injuries are serious.

Your best option

Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney who can explain the pros and cons of your legal options is important before you decide on the best course of action. Gregory Yates and Michael Shubeck, attorneys for personal injury cases in South Dakota, have over 40 years of combined experience litigating personal injury cases.

They understand that suing a family member is a very difficult and emotional process, and, to that end, will discuss all of your legal options so that you can make an informed decision as to which one is best for the entire family.

Call our office to schedule a free consultation.