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What to Do After a Car Accident Caused By a Relative or Friend?

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

“What if my friend crashed my car”? It’s a situation no one wants to find themselves in, yet it can happen if you’re in the car when a loved one is behind the wheel.

If a relative or friend causes an accident while driving your vehicle, dealing with the emotional and physical consequences can be challenging. You may need compensation to help pay for your injuries and damage to the car, but worry that a claim will cause problems in your relationship with the driver.

Understanding your rights and what to do after a friend crashes your car can help you get the funds you need to pay for the damages without harming the bond between you and your loved one. Our car accident attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help you navigate the aftermath of your accident and seek fair compensation.

Steps to Take After a Crash Caused by a Relative or Friend

Knowing the steps to take in the aftermath of a car accident is crucial to protect your rights and seek compensation for injuries, no matter who caused the crash. Take the following actions after a collision:

  • Check for injuries and call for help: Immediately after the accident, check for injuries and seek medical attention for anyone who needs it. Your health and the well-being of others involved in the accident should be the first priority. Call emergency services to report the accident and request medical assistance.
    Prompt medical attention ensures you receive care for any injuries. It also establishes a link between the accident and your damages, which is important for any claims you file.
  • Gather information: While emotions may run high after an accident, try to remain calm and collect necessary information from all parties involved. This includes your relative or friend who was driving and any other drivers, passengers, or witnesses.
    Get names, contact details, license plate numbers, and insurance information, along with the accident’s location, date, and time. This documentation is essential for insurance purposes and if you need to pursue legal action later.
  • Document the scene: Take photos or videos of the accident scene. Include vehicle positions, damage to the cars, and any visible injuries. These pictures can serve as valuable evidence when dealing with insurance companies or if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim.
    If any factors may have contributed to the accident, such as poor road conditions or obscured traffic signs, document them as well.
  • Report the accident: Regardless of the accident’s severity, report it to the police. In Michigan, you must report any accident that results in injury, property damage over $1,000, or a fatality.
    Immediately after the crash, contact local law enforcement and wait for them to arrive. They will investigate and create an official police report detailing the circumstances of the accident.
    This report will provide an objective account of the incident, containing facts like the weather, time, date, and police observations. Your attorney can obtain the police report and use it to support your claim for compensation from insurance companies.
  • Seek legal advice: Dealing with a car accident involving a relative or friend can be emotionally challenging, and the legal process may seem overwhelming. Consult with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer specializing in vehicle accident cases.
    Our car accident lawyers can guide you through the legal process, explain your rights and options, and protect your interests throughout the claims process. This will help you understand the impact on your friend or family member and give you peace of mind when filing.

Who is Responsible for Your Injuries Resulting From a Car Accident?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a friend or relative, determining responsibility can be more complex than it appears at first glance. While the immediate assumption might be that your loved one is at fault, multiple factors and parties could potentially share the blame.

  • Friend or relative: If the person driving your car acted negligently, they might bear the responsibility. Negligence can refer to speeding, driving under the influence, or failing to obey traffic rules.
  • Government or local authorities: Poor road conditions can contribute to accidents. If the government bodies responsible for maintaining the roads fail to keep them safe, for example, by not addressing potholes or not ensuring proper signage, they could be held liable.
  • Weather conditions: While no one can control the weather, how a driver responds can affect liability. If the weather made the roads unsafe, but your friend didn’t adjust their driving to suit those conditions, like slowing down in the rain, it can indicate their negligence.
  • Vehicle manufacturer: If a defect in the vehicle caused the accident – say, faulty brakes or a malfunctioning steering system – the manufacturer might be held responsible.
  • Another driver: Another driver could have caused the accident by acting negligently or causing a situation that forced your friend or relative to react, leading to the crash. For instance, if another driver abruptly cuts off your friend, forcing them to swerve and crash, that driver might share or bear full responsibility for the accident.

Legal Options for Receiving Compensation

Injured passengers in Michigan have several avenues available to seek compensation after a crash. If your friend crashed your car and you were hurt, our attorneys can explain the following legal options to help you pay for damages after the accident:

PIP Coverage

In Michigan, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance helps pay for damages when a passenger is injured in a car accident. Unlike auto liability insurance, PIP policies follow the driver, not the vehicle. As the injured passenger, the driver’s PIP insurance should cover your medical expenses and related costs, such as essential services and lost wages.

However, if the driver lacks adequate insurance or is underinsured, your own PIP insurance can become a secondary source of coverage. It’s designed to ensure that accident victims get the necessary medical treatment regardless of who is at fault.

Insurance Claim

If your injuries exceed PIP coverage, you may be able to file for compensation through an insurance claim. If the accident happened in your own car, you’d typically file a claim with your own collision insurance, which covers damages to your vehicle resulting from a collision. However, this will only cover property damage to the vehicle.

You can file a third-party claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company to receive additional funds for your injuries, lost earnings, or emotional damages. This can include your friend or relative, another driver, a manufacturer, or a government entity.

Settlement in a Lawsuit

When an insurance company refuses to pay a fair settlement, you may be able to seek damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit can be a difficult decision, especially when the accident was caused by a friend or relative.

However, these legal actions are typically directed against the insurance provider, not the individual driver. While taking legal steps might seem confrontational, it’s a way to ensure you’re compensated fairly for your losses, especially if negotiations with the insurance company are unsuccessful.

Can You Be Liable for Your Injuries as a Passenger?

In most cases, passengers are not liable for their own injuries in a car accident unless they contributed to the cause of the crash or aggravated their injuries. For example, if you distracted the driver, failed to wear a seat belt, or refused to seek medical attention, you may be partially or fully responsible for your injuries.

Michigan uses modified comparative negligence to decide liability in car accidents. If the at-fault party’s insurer succeeds in proving you were partially at fault, it can reduce your compensation by the percentage of fault you share for the accident. For example, if you were 10% at fault for the crash, your compensation may be reduced by 10%.

How Hiring an Attorney Can Help After a Car Crash

One of the most challenging aspects of being injured in a car accident caused by a relative is dealing with the emotional and interpersonal consequences. You may feel angry, betrayed, guilty, or conflicted about pursuing compensation from someone you love and trust.

You may also worry about how your claim or lawsuit will affect your relationship with them and their family. There is no easy answer to this dilemma; however, working with a skilled attorney from Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help you understand your rights and potentially minimize negative impacts on your relationship.

  • Objective legal counsel: We can give you an impartial perspective on your case. By helping you separate emotions from the facts, we guide you in making the best decision for your case, ensuring that you act in your best interest without emotional biases.
  • Clear communication: Acting as intermediaries, we can minimize potential conflicts and misunderstandings. By handling communications, we ensure discussions remain professional and on-point, reducing the chance of personal emotions complicating the process.
  • Mediation: Instead of heading straight to court, we can initiate mediation sessions. These find a middle ground where both parties feel satisfied with the outcome, preserving the relationship and resolving the issue amicably.
  • Educating on rights: Our legal team can offer clear insights into what you’re legally entitled to, ensuring you get a fair deal without feeling overstepping or being taken advantage of.
  • Insurance negotiations: Insurance dealings can be complex and emotionally draining. By directly handling negotiations with insurance companies, we help reduce the stress on you, ensuring you get a fair settlement without straining your personal relationship with a friend or relative.
  • Protect confidentiality: Your attorney will ensure that all discussions, negotiations, and strategies remain private, which can be especially valuable in preventing tensions within family or friend circles.

Crash Caused By a Loved One

Seek Legal Support After a Crash Caused by a Loved One

Dealing with a car accident caused by a family member or friend can be emotionally and legally complex. Rember, seeking compensation is not a personal attack but a necessary step to recover from your injuries and losses.

To protect your rights and navigate the legal process with minimal stress, hire an experienced car accident attorney from Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. We will handle the complexities of your case while you focus on your recovery.

Schedule your free consultation today and learn about your legal options to pursue compensation and receive the support you need. What if my friend crashed my car? Don’t hesitate to seek the legal assistance you deserve.

Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Iain Bowie is an experienced copywriter who crafts easy-to-understand legal articles, so readers can get the assistance they need.

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