We have a little tradition at Norton Frickey where Tatum will email me the random holiday of the day. So far we’ve recognized National Superhero Day, National Scurvy Day, and National Specially-Abled Pets Day. Today’s notable holiday just so happens to be National Lumpy Rug Day.
While celebrating National Lumpy Rug Day I am reminded of a time early in law school when I studied torts. What stood out to me was just how dangerous our world is. Back in law school when I would have friends over I felt like I needed to warn them of all the “lumpy rugs” in my house. To this day I still find myself worrying about things like the ice on our steps that an unannounced visitor could slip on. Thanks to my torts class, the imperfections in my house that, in my wild imagination, could lead to someone getting hurt have always stuck out to me like a sore thumb.
While you are likely thinking that this is going to be a warning about making sure you keep your house safe for visitors, the sad truth is that no amount of planning can make everything safe; we just have to do our best. Actually, what I want to talk about is what happens when the worst occurs. What do you do when you are accidentally injured by a family member or friend or their “lumpy rug?”
Not long ago I was talking to a friend about a car accident that involved his nephew. Briefly, what happened was, the nephew was driving irresponsibly in a parking lot and hit their car, causing serious injury to one of my friend’s kids. One of my friend’s biggest worries when the insurance company wouldn’t pay was whether they would lose the relationship with the nephew and his family if they continued to push the insurance company to pay. They had to choose between letting the insurance company get away with refusing to pay what it should have, or suing the nephew.
What many people do not realize is that when insurance should cover damage but doesn’t, the hurt person can’t just sue the insurance company. They have to sue the person who was responsible or let it go. The person who caused the hurt almost always didn’t mean to, is likely feeling guilty, and wants their insurance to take care of it. When that doesn’t happen and they are sued, there is a very real possibility that the relationship may be irreparably damaged if handled without compassion.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. In Colorado (and many other jurisdictions) when an insurance company refuses to pay a claim that it should pay, there is a method through which the injured person and insured person can work together to make the insurance company pay. Speaking personally, if a friend accidentally got hurt at my house and my insurance didn’t cover the damage, I would hope that my friend would sue me to make my insurance company do what it should. But because not everyone understands that, many hurt people do not get the help they should.
Even when an insurance company does do what it should, those close personal relationships need to be taken into consideration. For us, it isn’t just about getting money for people that are hurt. It is about getting help for people that are hurt, which includes helping them preserve their relationships if possible while getting them the money they deserve.
If you were hurt by a family member or friend, please talk to an attorney you trust who can help you figure out the best way to help you legally, without unnecessarily risking your relationships with your friend or family member.