Can I File A Lawsuit Against a Family Member If They Cause A Car Accident?
Yes. Pursuant to Illinois’s Rights of Married Persons Act (750 ILCS 65/1), a spouse may sue the other spouse for a tort committed during the marriage.
This means you may sue your spouse for negligence for car accident-related injuries to yourself or your minor child. If a parent's negligence resulted in an accident and subsequent injuries to a child, the child has the same right to recover compensation as if he was not related to the negligent parent.
As strange as it may look on paper (wife filing a lawsuit against a husband or child filing suit against a parent), Illinois law does permit such cases to be pursued.
If the injured child is a minor, the case would need to be brought by his other parent or court-appointed guardian (guardian ad litem), who can act in the child's best interest, as minors are legally incapable of filing a lawsuit on their own.
The monetary settlement or court award won on behalf of your child would go into a trust for him to pay for expenses arising from the accident, such as medical bills and/or attorney’s fees.
The Illinois statute of limitations differs for minors and adults in civil actions. Instead of the standard two-year statute of limitations to bring a claim for personal injuries, a minor has two years after turning 18 to file a civil lawsuit (735 ILCS 5/13-211).
Auto Injury Claims Against Family and Friends
Obviously, there may be some concerns when a person close to you causes an accident where you have sustained injuries. For many people, the awkwardness of presenting a claim against a relative or friend is enough to discourage them from doing anything to recover compensation for their loss.
Fortunately—assuming the responsible party carried adequate auto insurance—most automobile accident cases are covered by liability insurance policies where payments for personal injuries are made by the insurance company, not the individual.
Nonetheless, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is sensitive to relationships among friends and family and always respects the wishes of our clients—whether it means resolving the case quietly with an insurance company or filing a lawsuit in court.
If you were injured in an Illinois car accident where a friend or family member may be at fault, contact our office for a free and confidential discussion of your legal options.