There is no Intra-Family Immunity in Personal Injury Claims

by Faye Counts
(Maryland)

All of the people in this family can sue the others (well, they can't sue the kids, yet)!

All of the people in this family can sue the others (well, they can't sue the kids, yet)!

Can family members make personal injury liability claims against an immediate family member who causes an accident? Anonymous reader, USA


Yes, of course, assuming that those family members did indeed suffer injuries, they may make claims for those injuries against the family member who caused them. After all, in the US today, any person can sue any other person for just about anything.

But seriously, traditional common law rule historically recognized intra-family immunity, preventing a child from making a liability claim against a parent who had injured him or her in an automobile accident. However, things have changed. In the majority of states this common law immunity is no longer a defense in automobile accident cases where it is evident that the parent (or the child, spouse, sister or brother) was negligent or acted recklessly in the operation of a motor vehicle. The injured person may even claim punitive damages if such issues exist.

A child may recover for bodily or personal injuries arising out of a parent?s operation of an automobile, and conversely, a parent may also recover from the child. As with any other personal injury claim, if the claim cannot be settled amicably, the injured person may file a lawsuit against the family member who caused his or her injuries.

Where this ability for immediate family members to sue each other gets a little sticky in our humble opinions is where the parent whose negligence caused the child?s injuries is named on the child?s settlement check because the child is a minor (see settlements for minors). However, the majority of states does recognize and allow this type of claim.

This article is written for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.

see Punitive Damages

see Personal Injury Settlements

see Settlement Releases

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