A pair of hands together holding a paper cut-out family illustrating road traffic accident claims against family members


Road Accident Claims against Family Members

Michael Wangermann looks at whether it is possible to make a claim against family members if they have been instrumental in causing you injury in a road traffic accident.

Where a passenger carrying car driver or motorcyclist loses control and their passengers are injured or killed as a consequence (whether it involved another vehicle or not), those passengers usually have a direct claim against the driver/rider. When this happens, particularly where the driver/rider is a family member and those injured are their partner, children or other relation, it makes a difficult situation even more so. However, the principles on recovering damages as a passenger against a family member are, more or less, the same whether the passengers are related to you or not.

We all know that momentary lapses of judgement can quickly lead to serious injuries and whilst an accident by definition is something someone did not intend to happen, the fact that it was unintentional often makes little difference to the outcome in a physical sense. It is, however, important to remember that whether the injured party is related (or otherwise known) to you, or not, is irrelevant in the eyes of the law and should not be used as a barrier to prevent a claim for damages being made and the injured passenger seeking the help and support often needed in these circumstances.

In cases involving family members (particularly where children are passengers and the driver/rider was their parent), there are some technical points which need to be borne in mind; for example, where the driver/rider may be found to be to blame (even in a small way), they cannot act for or provide instructions on behalf of passengers, whether they are a family member or not. That has to be done, for example in the case of children, by the other parent or someone else appointed to act for them (usually another close relative). This would also apply where the injury is so serious that the injured spouse/partner or adult child has lost “legal capacity” to make the claim and is unable to represent their own interests.

A pair of hands together holding a paper cut-out family illustrating road traffic accident claims against family members
Is it possible to make a claim against family members if they have been instrumental in causing injury in a road traffic accident?

In summary, the starting point is that an injured family member is entitled to recover damages for injury and financial loss in the same way that a complete stranger would be.

Finally, whilst it should go without saying, it is important that the family seeks early legal advice and ensures the lawyers they instruct work closely with them to ensure a difficult situation is not made worse through a lack of sensitivity and failure to observe (and respect) the individual’s rights and feelings during the legal process.

Why instruct Major Trauma Group?

Major Trauma Group is a network of specialist serious injury solicitors, rehabilitation clinicians and supporting services, with a proven record of successfully handling major trauma claims. From the initial meeting, our focus is on securing funding for our clients to receive the right rehabilitation at the right time to enable clients to make the best possible recovery and a return to their pre-incident lifestyle. We ensure clients have future care packages in place and can arrange adaptations to properties if required as part of the claim. We will also ensure that you are compensated for future losses such as loss of earnings or pension if they occur as a direct result of your injuries.

How Major Trauma Group can help

The Major Trauma Group is a not-for-profit community interest company made up from leading law firms across the country, who have come together, with clinicians, to assist those who have suffered major trauma, and their families on their recovery journey.  We can assist with legal advice on a range of topics including personal injury claims, Court of Protection, family and property matters, financial planning, welfare benefits check-ups, employment disputes and educational needs. Contact us for a free, no obligation chat: hello@majortraumagroup.co.uk

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