To Sue Or Not To Sue, That Is The Friendship Question

You just spent a wonderful day at a friend's party, laughing and talking. Then "it" happens. "It" might be that the deck on which you and other guests have been partying suddenly gives way. Or "It" could be a railing breaking as you head down the front stairs of your friend's home, causing you to tumble violently to the ground. Whatever "It" may be, the end result is the same. You are left with serious injuries, crushing medical costs and lost time from work. The accident may have even affected your ability to earn a living in the future. So what should you do? Struggle to pay the bills and go into bankruptcy, or consider suing your friend?

Change the Words

If your injuries are severe and/or your ability to bring income in for your family is affected, you may have no other course of action than to "sue" your friend. Of course, you will have to prove that your injuries were a result of a defect on your friend's property and not just because you were clumsy. Unfortunately, your friend is probably not going to take kindly to the thought of being sued. That is why it's important to use the proper terminology. Instead of saying that you are going to have to "sue" them, advise your friend that you will have to file a claim against their insurance company. That feels a whole lot less personal. And if they are your true friend, they should understand that you are not suing them out of greed, but for your actual costs related to an accident.  

Be Prepared

If you do decide to pursue a claim against your friend's insurance company, you need to be prepared. Your first step should be to hire a lawyer who is experienced in personal injury lawsuits. Then:

  1. Take pictures. If you can access your friend's property again, try to take photographs of the place where you were injured and of any defects that may have led to the accident. This, of course, can be a touchy situation. Your friend may take offense at this, so you may want to see if you already have pictures from previous times when you visited with your friend.
  2. Keep a record of your medical costs and visits. At some point, you will need to provide this information for your lawyer and the insurance company.
  3. Mentally prepare yourself. Your friend or mutual friends may try to "guilt" you into dropping your claim. But if you truly need the money, stand up for your rights.  

 Unfortunately, when "It" happens, your friendship may be tested. But in the end, a true friend should understand that you are only doing what is necessary for you and your family. Contact a law firm like Ringsmuth Wuori for additional advice.