Can a Family Member Sue Another Family Member for Injuries?

by Monty Yolles on October 9, 2012

Can Family Members Sue Each Other for Injuries?

A question that comes up frequently among potential clients is whether they can sue a family member for injuries sustained in an accident.  Most often, these questions arise from car accidents or home related accidents where insurance coverage would be liable to pay all or part of the damages from an injury.  Clients often want to know whether one spouse can sue the other, or whether a child can sue a parent and recover from the insurance company.  

Though the law varies from state to state, Maryland law requires insurance companies to provide full coverage.  However, many consumers unknowingly waive their rights to full coverage against other family members.

The family exclusion provision relied on by insurance companies came under scrutiny in the pivotal case of Stearman v. State Farm, where the Maryland Court of Appeals upheld State Farm’s family exclusion provision, but required insurance companies to provide coverage of at least the mandatory minimum limits, which at this time are $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.  Thereafter, the state legislature adopted rules allowing for claims in Maryland between spouses, and between children and parents, requiring insurance companies doing business in Maryland to offer customers liability coverage for claims made by family members in the same amount as the coverage limits for claims by non-family members.

Under the law, insurance companies must offer the expanded family claim coverage in writing, and they cannot deny coverage because customers choose to take advantage of the family claim coverage. The problem is that many consumers simply don’t take advantage of the expanded family coverage.

Most of us have seen the crippling effects an accident can have on the whole family when a family member is injured in an accident, especially when the family relies on the injured person’s income.  Preventing financial ruin for injury victims’ families is one of the primary reasons we are required to carry auto insurance.

Consider what you would do if your or a family member were injured and needed extensive medical care.  Beyond the physical and emotion strain, consider the fact that expanded family claim coverage could make the difference between bankruptcy and stability, and check your policy today to make sure your family is covered.

At The Yolles Legal Group, we believe in restoring families’ lives from the brink of disaster.  Monty Yolles, founder of THE YOLLES LEGAL GROUP, is an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney who can review your case and help you navigate the legal system on your road to recovery.  Call Monty Yolles today at (301)670-0443 to discuss your case, or send an email inquiry to monty@yolleslaw.com.

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