I got a call from a very nice young woman who was injured in a car accident. She was looking to sue her doctor for not diagnosing her injury, but it became clear pretty quickly that she did not have a malpractice case.
I asked her if she had a lawyer for the car accident case and she said she didn’t because she couldn’t. I wanted to know what she meant and she let me know that she was the passenger in the car and her boyfriend was driving and at fault for the crash. She told me that she couldn’t sue him.
I’ve heard similar statements from people many times over the years. Some callers don’t think they have a right to sue because of the dating relationship. Others just would never do it.
If a lawsuit was filed, technically it would say her vs. him. In reality though, the case is her vs. his insurance company. In other words, we would never go after him personally if the client didn’t want us to. If the driver has $100,000 in insurance, that’s all that we would go for even if the case might be worth more.
What happened in this case is that the insurance company knew their client was at fault, but picked up on the fact that the girlfriend wouldn’t do anything so they blew her off. Fortunately we were able to help her understand that even if his insurance goes up, it wouldn’t go up that much and it would certainly be offset by what she is owed for medical bills and pain and suffering.
While it didn’t apply in this case, in some claims we’ve been involved with, passengers could have actually gone after the driver of the other vehicle, but didn’t want to bring their significant other in to the case. That is almost never an actual concern.
You must remember that you are the client and whoever your attorney is, they can’t go against your interests. All they can do is advise you of your rights to help you make an educated decision. So if you are a passenger in a car accident in Illinois and don’t want the driver to have to pay out of pocket, your wishes should be followed.
The bottom line is that no matter what happens, you should make sure you speak to an attorney before it’s too late (in most cases you have two years to sue) and learn your options to make an educated decision. Our attorneys are always happy to talk with you for free. Call us at 312-346-5320 any time. We help everywhere in Illinois.