Shawnee Adams will be able to sue her son over a car crash that occurred while she was teaching him to drive when he was 15-years-old. They were driving along a rural highway outside of Woodburn, Oregon in 2012 when her son swerved off the highway, causing their Jeep to fall down an embankment and hit a utility pole. Her son had his learner’s permit at the time of the crash.
Ms. Adams suffered from a concussion and broken right arm due to the crash. Following the incident, she had headaches, trouble sleeping, thinking and her ears were ringing.
Since family members often travel in a car together, it is not uncommon to file a lawsuit against a relative. Sometimes, this is the only way to recover compensation for an injury.
In the case of Shawnee Adams, she is filing a lawsuit against her son’s insurance company rather than her now 21-year-old son. She is seeking $25,000 in lost wages, $25,000 for medical costs and $100,000 for pain and suffering.
Her son’s insurance company, State Farm, contended that Ms. Adams was not able to sue her son since he was a minor that she was responsible for at the time of the incident. In 2014, a Marion County Circuit Judge agreed with the insurance company. However, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed the judge’s decision last week, citing that Ms. Adams is “an injured victim and the law wasn’t designed to prevent her from seeking compensation”, according to The Oregonian.
Now that the case may proceed, the plaintiff’s attorney must prove fault. State Farm maintains that Ms. Adams is at fault for a number of reasons, such as allowing her son to drive early in the morning when he was tired, that Ms. Adams grabbed the steering wheel shortly before the accident, that she was texting instead of watching the road and her son, and that she entrusted her safety to a driver that was still in training.
The attorney for Ms. Adams believes this is the first time the Oregon Court of Appeals has addressed the issue of if an injured parent can sue a minor child over injuries sustained in a crash.