Updated on: 2/15/2019
A car crash Saturday morning in Renton killed both people in the vehicle, a 20-year-old man and his 7-year-old sister. Their pickup truck traveling on a stretch of Royal Hills Drive Southeast failed to follow the curve of the road, and instead stayed straight and went over an embankment and into an apartment complex that overlooks the Cedar River southeast of the downtown area.
Both were ejected from the truck went it went over the embankment. Renton police said excessive speed was a factor in the crash. The accident is still under investigation.
Can A Passenger Recover Damages From A Family Member?
In the state of Washington, a passenger harmed in an auto accident can sue the driver who caused the accident. In a multi-car accident, this likely means a case against both drivers. Unfortunately, many times this means the passenger is suing a friend or loved one, which only complicates the case and can cause additional grief and stress for everyone involved. In many cases, the victim’s surviving loved ones may have no choice but to pursue a wrongful death claim against the driver to receive the compensation that they need to pay for funeral costs and other expenses.
Many people struggle with the thought of suing their friends or family members, even with rising medical expenses and lost wages. However, most cases do not lead to a lawsuit, and money received as a result typically comes from the at-fault party’s insurance company. Unfortunately, this causes insurance rates to go up, regardless of fault. For injured passengers struggling with this issue, it’s important to communicate to the at-fault driver that the purpose of pursuing a claim is to get your medical bills and other losses covered by the insurance company, rather than assigning blame or holding a grudge over the cause of the collision.
Insurance companies know the victim doesn’t usually want to sue a friend or family member, even when that person is negligent. The company will leverage this information. Insurance companies will sometimes investigate these types of intrafamily claims to find out if any fraud is occurring – did the driver crash the car on purpose to allow a passenger to file a personal injury claim?