Should I sue my friends?

A lot of clients express concern about the effect their potential claim will have on their friends’ and family members’ insurance.

The fact of the matter is that a personal injury lawsuit often has no effect on a driver’s insurance rates once they have already been found at fault for an accident.  While any claim against you is likely to affect your insurance, the size of the claim and the number of people making the claim, however, do not necessarily alter this effect.

Let’s look at an example:  You are the front seat passenger in a vehicle being driven by your spouse.  Your spouse then rear-ends another vehicle.  This causes significant damage to her vehicle, and you have a neck injury which prevents you from working.

If your spouse is found at fault for this accident, they have the option of making an insurance claim to cover the cost of repairs to their vehicle and the vehicle in front.  They will have to pay their deductible and their insurance record will be affected.  Assuming their insurance covers their accident, you may now be able to make an insurance claim against that policy.  As long as your claim is below your spouse’s policy limit, you can probably make a claim against your spouse’s insurance without affecting their rates.

To be clear, you are suing your spouse, at this point.  However, their insurance is covering any loss, and their rates have already been affected by the accident itself.  Your additional claim usually has no affect on their rates.

Not every case is as straight forward as the one I’ve described.  I always recommend that people get preliminary legal advice from a lawyer whenever they deal with ICBC or have been injured as a result of another party’s negligence (even your spouse’s).

I am located in Vancouver, British Columbia and available to provide you with a free consultation – in person or over the phone.

Please call (604) 449-3776 if you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia.


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