Filing an Auto Accident Injury Claim Against a Family Member
It is quite common in Maryland for a person who has been injured in a traffic accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party or parties responsible for the car, truck or motorcycle crash that resulted in the victim’s injuries. In most instances, the victim and the driver who caused the accident likely had never met prior to the collision; however, there are instances when a traffic accident results in a family member filing an injury suit against a close relative, such as a parent, aunt, uncle or grandparent.
There are even instances when a car accident victim will ask a personal injury lawyer if an automobile insurance company will pay a Maryland personal injury claim made by one spouse against another. And there are instances when a child may sue a parent for injuries received in a car, truck or motorcycle wreck. As Baltimore auto injury attorneys, the experienced trial lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, have fielded these types of questions.
When considering whether an insurance company will provide coverage in instances involving one family member bringing a claim against another member of the same family, the answer is that insurance companies are required to provide full coverage; however, this has not always been the case. Up until 2004, Maryland insurance carriers included a family exclusion provision as part of their policies.
The situation changed somewhat following an appeals case (Stearman v. State Farm) that upheld the language of these original exclusions but also required that insurance companies provide coverage up to the mandatory minimum limits as required by Maryland law.
Then, in 2004, Maryland’s state legislature passed a rule that essentially abrogated the language found in these insurance policies with respect to injury claims made by one spouse against another. Not long after that piece of legislation, the State of Maryland expanded the law to allow for claims between children and their parents. As a result of that law, Maryland insurance companies are now required to offer an insured individual liability coverage for personal injury claims made by family members in the same amount as the liability coverage for claims by non-family members under the same insurance policy.
Here at Lebowitz & Mzhen, we know that injuries can be caused not only by the negligence of a stranger, but also by a friend or loved one. Odd as it may seem, the law does allow a child to sue a parent and a husband to sue a wife, or vice-versa. But it is important to point out that in such cases, the injured party(s) may be limited to a $30,000 per person ($60,000 per accident) recovery following an injury-related traffic accident.
As automobile and commercial trucking accident lawyers, the legal team Lebowitz & Mzhen is well versed in the law and how to apply it in cases of traffic-related personal injury lawsuits. We also understand that some individuals may be concerned about suing another party in that it may financially hurt the person being sued. To this end, we remind victims that they should not deny themselves compensation for those injuries especially in cases where the responsible party was careless, thoughtless, or downright reckless in their actions.
Even so, most victims of auto accidents may be relieved to know that almost every successful traffic-related personal injury claim will eventually be paid by the automobile insurance company involved, not by the party who actually caused the accident in the first place. This can be an important consideration since under Maryland law insurance companies must always offer expanded family claim coverage in writing; and they cannot deny coverage if and when a customer chooses to take advantage of the family claim coverage.
Understanding the often crippling effects that a car, truck or motorcycle collision can have on the victims of a road accident, both financially and emotionally, it is surprising how many individuals either do not choose to take advantage of the expanded family coverage or don’t know about it. Certainly, it is critical to consider all options when a family member has been injured in a traffic accident, especially when the victim is a family’s primary breadwinner. Preventing a financial catastrophe for an injured victim’s family is one of the main reasons automobile insurance exists.
If you or someone you love has been injured due to the negligence of another driver or responsible party, we highly recommend contacting the auto injury experts at Lebowitz & Mzhen. Our legal staff and team of experienced personal injury attorneys can help you understand your rights as an auto or commercial trucking accident victim. We understand the intricacies of Maryland’s personal injury statues and we recognize the personal hardship involved following serious or fatal traffic wrecks.
As skilled legal professionals, we prepare each of our cases with the intent of going to trial. Although not every personal injury lawsuit goes before a judge, extensive preparation can make the difference between a long and involved trial and a much more expeditious out-of-court settlement. The lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen have experience working with insurance carriers to ensure that past and present, as well as future medical expenses will be covered for those victims who have been seriously injured in a car accident. Please feel free to contact us to set up a free, no-obligation consultation. You may email Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen, or call us at our toll-free number: (800) 654-1949.