Should You Sue Your Own Family?

You are headed up north for a family weekend at the cottage. You are a front seat passenger in your father’s vehicle when you are involved in a motor vehicle collision.  You are seriously injured. Should you sue your own father?

Put simply: yes, if your father was at fault or partially at fault for the collision.

People are often reluctant to sue loved ones. However, commencing personal injury claims against family and friends is more common than you might realize.

In order to drive a vehicle on a public road in Ontario, owners of vehicles are required to have third-party liability insurance coverage. This coverage protects the owner when s/he injures or kills someone else in a motor vehicle collision.

If you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by a family member or friend, you are likely entitled to compensation through his/her third party liability insurance. In order to access this insurance, you must commence a tort claim against your family member or friend. A tort claim is filed when an injured victim seeks compensation for personal injury from the person who injured them. The injuries can be physical, emotional, psychological or even financial.

When a tort claim is commenced against your loved one, his/her insurance company will respond to the claim to defend and indemnify him/her. In other words, the insurance company will “step into the shoes” of your loved one. The insurance company will hire a lawyer to defend the claim and ultimately, it will pay any monetary compensation awarded to you.

A common concern about suing a family member is that it will affect his/her insurance rates. The truth is your family member’s insurance rates will go up regardless of whether you commence a tort claim. If they are deemed at fault for the accident, their insurance rates will go up no matter what.

Although it may feel strange to sue a loved one, it is important to remember that it is in your best interests to be compensated for injuries that you sustain in a motor vehicle collision. Every driver in Ontario is insured for a reason.

It is very important to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer if injured in a motor vehicle collision. An experienced personal injury lawyer will determine the proper parties to sue and ensure you receive proper compensation.

About the Authors

Liane is committed to representing individuals who have suffered serious personal injuries and to families who have suffered the losses of loved ones. Liane holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Windsor, where she received the Torkin Manes Cohen and Arbus award for combined academic achievement and service to the community, and the Charles J. Clark scholarship for academic excellence and involvement in community and volunteer activities. She was called to the bar in 2013.

To learn more about Liane, please click here.