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Law-Matters

Sue your family!

When in a car, I prefer to drive. I am not sure why, but I do.

But, now and then, I am a passenger in a vehicle. My friends and family members are good drivers, but they can make mistakes… And, if they did make a mistake and caused a crash that resulted in me suffering some injuries, I MIGHT sue them.

I know, I know… I sound like a horrible friend. But, I’m really not (at least I don’t think I am).

I’m willing to bet that most people wouldn’t ever consider suing their friend, husband, father, daughter or other loved one who was driving a vehicle when a crash occurred, resulting in injuries. The reality, though, is that it should be seriously considered.

Imagine this: you are a passenger in your father’s vehicle and he is driving. You are going to see a movie together. On the way to the movie, your father changes lanes without signaling and without looking in his blind spot. Sadly, he hits a truck that was in his blind spot and a crash occurs. As a result of the crash, you suffer injuries to your neck and back and start getting regular headaches. From the crash injuries, you lose some time at work, you start to incur medical expenses, and you aren’t able to exercise or sleep restfully.

Should you just “eat” your losses? My answer: no.

You father buys insurance for this reason, specifically.

In British Columbia, motorists buy two types of insurance:

  1. First-party insurance: This type of insurance covers the person who BUYS the insurance in the event of a loss. To illustrate, if you cause a crash, the first-party insurance will cover repairs to your vehicle.
  2. Third-party insurance: This type of insurance protects you when you are sued by a third party for losses that you caused. To illustrate, if you cause a crash and hurt someone, then that person (who was hurt) has a legal claim against you (i.e. for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of income). Third-party insurance will ‘cover’ you if this happens.

So, quite frankly, if someone causes a crash that causes you to suffer injuries, why wouldn’t you sue them to recover your losses?

Yes, I appreciate that they are a loved one. But, again, there is insurance coverage for this situation. The insurance company deals with the legal claim (and pays out the losses to the harmed parties). And, for the most part, your loved one won’t typically be involved in the lawsuit.

Family members suing each other in personal injury claims is more common than you might think, too.

I have heard this said before, and it is true: sometimes, you should sue your family members.

**The information contained in this column should not be treated by readers as legal advice and should not be relied on without detailed legal counsel being sought.



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About the Author

Jeff Zilkowsky is a lawyer practicing at MacLean Law in the Lower Mainland and in Kelowna, and focuses his practice on family law and litigation.  

In his column, Jeff provides information about current legal events or points of interest or concern relating to the law. 

The information contained in Jeff’s column should not be used or relied upon as legal advice.

Comments are always appreciated and encouraged, so don’t hesitate to email Jeff at [email protected]

Visit Jeff’s website at www.jeffzilkowsky.com or visit the website of MacLean Law.



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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