The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that an appellate court’s decision to grant a second trial to a plaintiff in a car accident injury case was the right move, thus securing the $250,000 in damages she won in the second jury verdict after suing her mother for alleged negligence while driving.
It’s important to point out that anyone reluctant to pursue damage claims against loved ones (spouses, children, parents, siblings, cousins, friends, etc.) that naming your loved one as a defendant is really only a technical matter. What you are really after is fair and just compensation from the defendant’s insurance policy. It’s not an indication that you harbor the notion your loved one meant you harm or even that you expect them to pay anything directly from their own coffers. Auto insurance is required for the registration of any motor vehicle in Florida, and therefore if you are a passenger in a vehicle driven by a relative or friend whose negligence caused or contributed to a crash that resulted in your injuries, you may be entitled to pursue damages on that claim just like anyone else. In most cases, plaintiffs cannot name the insurance company as a defendant because courts generally agree that jurors’ knowledge that defendant had insurance can be prejudicial.
Some auto insurance policies have exclusions for “resident relatives,” which are those related by blood or marriage who also reside in the insured’s household. The question of whether benefits are payable to the injured party will depend on the exact language of the policy and the relationship between the insured and claimant. Continue reading →