Rear-Ended By A Relative Or Fender-Bendered By A Friend? How To Sort Out An Auto Accident Involving A Loved One

Posted on: 21 September 2018

You love your family and all of your closest friends, but what happens if one of them rear-ends your car or otherwise is involved in an accident with you? You don't want to start with a screaming match and end with the dissolution of the relationship, but the details of responsibility and insurance payments must be sorted out, nonetheless.  

Address Possible Injuries First

Just because relatives or friends were involved in the collision doesn't mean any potential injuries should be downplayed. It's also important to realize that the harm done as a result of an accident may not be immediately evident. Rather than pacifying each other's feelings, make sure neither of you are seriously hurt, possibly missing valuable work time in the future, as well as having difficulty getting around and doing the things you love doing.

In excess of 75% of related medical expenses occur in the first year and a half following a wreck, and until everyone involved in the collision is checked out by medical professionals, you really don't know what you might be in for. As shocking as an accident is to experience, perhaps more so when the opposing driver is a close friend or relative, health and wellness, both short and long-term, should be the priority of everyone.

Keep The Tone Professional

All parties involved should treat the auto accident the same way they would if strangers were involved. Contact the police and notify your respective insurance companies. You'll need the police reports to validate your insurance claims and all the documentation, including from emergency room and other medical personnel, just in case there's future litigation.

Involve Auto Accident Attorneys As Needed

Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, and if one party involved in the accident is charged, the situation could become complicated. Therefore, you should contact an auto accident attorney, and so should your friend or relative from the other vehicle. Hiring an attorney doesn't automatically indicate a lawsuit is imminent; however, these lawyers know the potential pitfalls you're facing and how to handle each difficulty that may present itself:

  • Navigating the insurance claims, along with contacting stubborn insurance companies that won't pay up
  • Collecting all the medical evidence you may need to pursue a legal claim and/or disability
  • Proving you were not at fault and/or proving who actually was, if liability becomes an issue
  • Summarizing damages, both to people and property, so that it can be admitted into evidence, should the matter go to court
  • Negotiating on your behalf if the insurance companies make an attempt to settle your case
  • Pursuing the case through the courts, if that becomes necessary

Attorneys deal with all kinds of emotional aspects of people's lives, including disputes that arise between friends and family members, making it essential that you inform your lawyer of your relationship to the other party. If both parties are fighting the insurance companies, remaining on good terms should be easier, but if you end up opposing each other, that, too, can be handled in a manner which aims to preserve the relationship status. Although it's hard to take someone you care about to court, you and the other party want what's best for each other; thus, proceeding through the justice system may be the only way to accomplish your mutual goals. Hopefully, the case doesn't impede heavily on longstanding friendships or close familial ties.

Get Together More Often To Keep The Relationship Thriving

Any accident, even a minor one with no injuries, can be emotionally unsettling, along with disrupting the normal flow of things in life, but an accident involving someone you know and care about can easily put a big strain on the relationship. No matter how it's going with the insurance companies and legal case, if there is one, try to get together more frequently with the friend or relative involved in your accident so you can maintain the relationship. While you can't act like the accident never happened, you should make the effort to rise above petty arguing and painful accusations for the long-term sake of your friendship.

Also, if you can't get along with the person you collided with, other friends and family members may be dragged in and forced to take sides, which may mean the entire family or your whole circle of friends dissenting into a state of chaos. Let the lawyers handle the legal details and move forward with your lives as best you can.

Getting into any kind of auto accident is tough, but when it happens with someone you're close to, it can really turn both your lives upside down and inside out. Keep your cool, take care of all the paperwork, and if at all possible, take care of each other as the matter progresses through each insurance and/or court stage. With great legal advice and a little patience, you might just be able to come out of the situation with your personal relationships intact.