Can I Sue a Relative in an Auto Accident Case?

There is a unique legal issue that may arise in auto accident cases.  If you are injured in an auto accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who is at fault.  But what if that person is a family member?  Although it may not happen very often, it can happen.  Your sister may be driving, while you are a passenger, and she causes a wreck that results in you being injured.  Can you sue her to recover for your injuries?

Coverage exclusions for family members

The issue is not really whether you can file the lawsuit naming your family member as the defendant.  The question is, will your relative’s auto insurance policy cover the accident.  The reality is, many auto insurance policies contain an exclusion for family members or members of the same household.  Depending on the applicable state law, the court may find this type of exclusion clause invalid.

What is a family exclusion?

A family exclusion, also referred to as a household exclusion, is a specific exclusion in liability insurance policies that usually states that there is no coverage for an obligation the insured may have toward a member of the insured’s own family.  Most often, the exclusion only applies to relatives who are members of the same household.

What is the purpose of the family exclusion?

The family exclusion is intended to eliminate coverage when the negligence of one family member results in liability to another family member.  Auto insurance policies most often include this type of exclusionary clause.

Be sure to review your insurance policy

The most important thing to do, if this type of legal issue ever arises, is to read your insurance policy to determine whether a family or household exclusion is included.  If you have questions regarding the terms of your auto insurance policy, and whether or not any exclusions are valid in your state, contact your personal injury attorney.

If you have questions regarding auto accidents, or any other personal injury matters, please contact the experienced attorneys at Means Gillis Law, PC, either online or by calling toll free at 1-844-870-1777

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