If you're like most people, you never thought about suing your parents. There are a lot of adjectives I can think of to describe someone who actively wants to sue their parents. However, if you're a passenger in a car being driven by one of your parents, and your car is in an accident and you suffer injuries, you may have no choice but to sue your mom or dad in order to recover sufficient compensation for your injuries. Here's why: Typically a passenger will sue the driver of the other car that caused the accident. The driver of the other car will typically bring a claim against your mom or dad claiming that is was one of them who caused your accident. Any good lawyer in New York will tell you that you may have no choice but to sue your parents for the accident in addition to the driver of the other car. Reasons to sue your parents: Reason #1: If you don't sue your parents, you may never recover the full compensation you're entitled to. The driver of the other car will sue your parents, so that there will now be a dispute about who caused the accident. The other driver's insurance may not be sufficient to take care of your injuries. Reason #2: Your parents have automobile insurance. Technically, even though you are suing your parents, they have insurance to cover any damages you're entitled to. Reason #3: If your lawyer doesn't recommend suing your parents, he might inadvertantly be setting himself up for a possible legal malpractice claim. Ask him, why you're not suing your parents. Obviously, before actually suing your parents, you should have a heart-to-heart talk with them and explain the necessity of bringing an action against them personally. Reason #4: If you don't sue them, the defense lawyer who represents the driver of the car that hit you will make a point of claiming that the wrong party is in the case. The proper party who should have been sued should have been your parents, not the driver of the other car. This is typically known as the 'empty chair' defense. Reason #5: Your parents may have to pay out of their own pocket to pay for your medical expenses if you've exhausted the amount available under the no-fault rules. The tricky part of suing your parents is explaining to potential jurors at the time of trial why it was necessary to sue your parents. However, with proper explanations jurors understand the necessity of doing so, and can usually look beyond the fact that you have sued your own flesh and blood.
Gerry Oginski
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NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer