A common question we receive from our clients during an initial consultation is: “I’ve been injured in an accident in my friend’s car (or at my friend’s house). I don’t want to sue my friend. Are there any options that can help me get back on my feet? I’ve suffered a lot as a result of this injury.”

It’s important that you know the following: we almost never take money out of the pockets of individual people, whether they are friends of yours or strangers. We almost always get your compensation from an insurance company, or from a corporation that employs the person who caused the injury. We will always discuss with you what impact, if any, the pursuit of your case will have on your friend. You can then make your own decision as to whether to proceed with your case.

In cases where you or a loved one has been injured in a friend’s car (or while on a friend’s property), depending on the circumstances of the accident, another person’s insurance carrier may be required to compensate you for your injuries. The lawyers at GJEL have extensive familiarity with third-party insurance claims and have even been asked to speak to other lawyers about how best to handle these claims.

California insurance claims can be broken into two main categories:

  • A “first party insurance claim” is a claim you make concerning your own insurance coverage. Examples would be: a claim to fix your car, made under your own auto collision coverage; a disability insurance claim made under your own policy; an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim made under your own auto insurance; or a health insurance claim submitted under your Blue Cross or Blue Shield Insurance.
  • A “third party insurance claim” is one pursued against the insurance company of a person or business which has harmed you. Examples would be: a personal injury claim for damages you make against the insurance company of a car that hit you in the crosswalk or a personal injury claim against a drug company that manufactured a medicine which caused you physical problems.

California insurance law is quite complex, and it is important to contact a competent attorney if you have been seriously injured. Because the general public is typically not well-informed about third-party claims, insurance providers will sometimes deny responsibility for these claims or offer much smaller settlement amounts than injured people are entitled to. A GJEL attorney with experience in third-party insurance claims can help you stand up for your rights.

The insurance claim attorneys at GJEL have had great success pursuing third-party auto and homeowner’s insurance claims. In most cases, our injured clients have remained friends with the policy holder whose insurance company our lawyers have sued. Summaries of sample third-party cases may be found here:

  • $2 million for a client who was a passenger in a friend’s car that veered into an obstruction on a neighbor’s lawn. The car’s airbag deployed and our client suffered an injury to her eye. The defendants claimed our client’s injury resulted from a defective airbag. They further argued that the driver had no choice but to veer off the roadway in order to avoid hitting a dog which had run in front of the vehicle. We established that there was nothing defective about the airbag, and that the injury occurred as a result of negligence and driving at an excessive speed.
  • $1 million settlement for a client who severely injured her hand when it became caught in the teeth of a gasoline-powered wood chipper.
  • $1.1 Million for a teenager who injured her shoulder in a low-impact auto accident.

The insurance claim lawyers at GJEL offer a free consultation to help you determine your best course of action. In some cases, it may be best for you to deal directly with your friend’s insurance company. There are many cases, however, in which it is in your best interest to hire an experienced lawyer. Our third party insurance claim attorneys will help you evaluate these options. Please call us at 1-866-218-3776 or email lawfirm@gjel.com for a free consultation.