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Fairbanks, Alaska

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Ward Merdes
Ward Merdes
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Single Car Wrecks – "Can I Sue Daddy?"

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Kids hurt when a family vehicle goes off the road are doubly-helpless. A driving parent doesn’t want to admit fault, and their own insurance carrier will deny benefits to the injured child. Call an attorney ASAP when your family is in a single-vehicle wreck. You have rights that your insurer won’t mention.

Motor vehicle wrecks. Nobody wants to think about them – but they happen anyway. Real problems arise when the wreck is a “single vehicle” incident in which a family member was driving. What additional perils do you face when you were hurt in a “single vehicle” wreck? How can insurance carriers take advantage of you? What do you need to know? Read on…

Picture this: It’s a bright Sunday afternoon. John, his wife Mary and their three young kids are driving home from church. John isn’t paying enough attention to the roadway – it’s a bit slippery – and they slide off the road, rolling down an embankment. Johnny, Jr., buckled up in the back seat behind dad, puts his head through the side window. Jr. suffers a closed-head injury. He has vision problems. He can’t think straight. His IQ is now 60 and the future is not-so-bright for Jr.

What can the family expect?

The first thing they can expect is a phone call from their OWN insurer. That insurer will subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) suggest that Jr. should not file a claim against Dad “because, you know after all, dad didn’t intend to hurt Jr.” Furthermore, the psychology of the situation plays to the insurance company’s hands: Dad doesn’t want to believe that he is at fault. Dad doesn’t want to believe that his own carelessness caused this wreck … but that’s the fact. Dad wasn’t supposed to drive too fast for conditions.

So, the family’s insurance company suggest that the “best thing to do” is to just use the family’s own medical insurance to “ensure that Jr. is helped along as best you can.” There is no mention that Jr. has a huge claim against Dad’s automobile insurance policy … the very insurance policy that dad pays for every six months – to protect from tragedies just like this.

Mom needs to make a phone call – now. It’s a very confidential phone call to an attorney. If dad isn’t willing to do it, mom can learn about her options – without anybody being the wiser. An attorney can help mom understand what rights Jr. has under the family’s own automobile insurance policy – whether dad wants to go that route or not.

Furthermore, mom might ask to have a guardian appointed for Jr. – somebody to ensure that Jr.’s rights are protected 100%. Jr. might need a ton of medical care – medical care that the family can’t afford.

The question becomes whether the family’s automobile insurance carrier should be allowed to weasel out of its obligation to pay for Jr.’s care – foisting that burden on all of us through Social Security Disability. Clearly, your own insurer is not your friend in these situations. Whether they might be “Good Neighbors” or folks with “Good Hands” the problem is that your own insurer is looking for way to protect their own interests, not yours.

You will probably never be told that your own insurance will cover Jr.’s claims.

BOTTOM LINE: Single-vehicle wrecks present the worst situations for injured kids. Nobody in the family wants to admit fault and the plays into the insurance company’s hands. Souses and kids suffer as a result – while insurance companies make records profits. The insurance companies weasel out of paying the just amount due.

It takes some guts to make the call, mom – but you have to do it.

Now.