What to Do When a Friend Caused Your Injuries

Dealing with a serious injury is already hard, but when a friend is responsible, it can get even more uncomfortable. This is especially true when it wasn’t just a random accident, and they were negligent.

After coming to terms with being hurt by someone you thought cared about you, you have to start thinking about suing for damages. There’s a good chance you won’t be able to repair the friendship even if you want to, but it’s still a difficult situation. A true friend will accept responsibility for causing your accident, whether or not they can cover your medical bills. 

Hopefully, your friend will be apologetic and willing to support you however they can, including paying for your medical expenses. However, many people can’t face the consequences when their actions hurt someone they love, and they end up running away even when they genuinely care. You can’t control what they do, but you can make decisions in your best interest. 

Be realistic about your injuries

The first thing you need to do is be realistic about your injuries. If you ended up in the hospital, had to have surgery, or are in serious pain, that should give you a good enough reason to file a lawsuit to recover compensation. Don’t downplay your situation just because it was caused by a friend. 

If you still talk to the friend who hurt you, make sure they know the extent of your injuries and your prognosis. Tell them what you’re going through and how it’s impacted your life at home and at work. The point isn’t to make them feel worse but to get them to understand the reality of the situation. 

When dealing with only minor injuries, it may not be worth pushing for them to pay for your doctor’s visits and anything not covered by insurance. You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons and the potential impact on your relationship. If your injuries are severe, it’s not worth trying to keep the friendship if they aren’t willing to be accountable. 

Find out if they have insurance that will cover your injuries

Depending on where your injury happened, your friend might have insurance that will cover you. For example, if it happened at their house, their homeowner’s insurance might compensate you through a claim. 

If your injury was the result of a car accident, your friend’s auto insurance should cover your injuries, assuming they have the right type of coverage as required by law. 

On the rare chance that they have some type of private insurance for liability coverage, it’s possible for that to cover you as well. However, unless they have liability insurance, you’re unlikely to be compensated directly. 

Be prepared for the potential of comparative negligence

Depending on where you live and how the accident occurred, you might be found partially liable under a comparative negligence law. This is when the fault is determined to be shared by the parties involved. For example, you might be found to have been 10% at fault, and as such, the amount of compensation you’ll recover will be lowered by 10%. 

Talk to a lawyer

In many cases, talking to an attorney is the best option if you can’t afford to pay for your medical bills out of pocket. Depending on how badly you were injured, your friend could end up with criminal charges on their record, like the 19-year-old girl who pushed her friend off a 60-foot bridge in Washington state. 

Don’t let the potential consequences for your friend deter you from filing a lawsuit. Even if you’re filing a claim with their insurance, it’s not a personal attack against them – the whole purpose is to get compensated for your injuries. It’s a claim against their insurance policy, not them as a friend. 

When you file a claim against an insurance policy, it’s the company that pays the claim, not your friend. As long as they have coverage, you don’t have to worry about them losing money.

Take care of yourself first

Nobody expects to be hurt by a friend, but if it happens to you, prioritize self-care above trying to make the situation more comfortable for your friend. A true friend will be empathetic and apologetic and will offer their support. They’ll understand your need to take care of yourself and won’t get mad if you file a claim with their insurance or ask them to pay for your medical bills. If they get upset, it’s not worth trying to hold onto the connection. In that case, let them go and take care of yourself.