If I have been transporting someone because they have no car, can they sue me for a whiplash injury they received when I had to stop suddenly to avoid a collision?

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If I have been transporting someone because they have no car, can they sue me for a whiplash injury they received when I had to stop suddenly to avoid a collision?

I believe she has no case, since there was no accident and since I avoided potentially more serious injury by stopping before a collision occurred. A daughter-in-law living with me has no car and no car insurance.

Asked on September 21, 2016 under Personal Injury, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you were at-fault--that is, driving negligently or carelessly (such as speeding, or driving distractedly)--in causing her injury, then yes, she can sue you for her injury. Eveb if you avoided a more serious collision by stopping suddenly, you could still possibly be at fault, such as if the reason you almost had a collision in the first place was that you were driving carelessly--though if you were driving carefully and were doing nothing wrong, then you should not be at fault and should not be liable. 
The fact that you were doing this person a favor (and/or transporting them for pay) in driving them is irrelevant; it has no bearing on the issue of whether you are liable or not. Liability depends purely on whether or not you were at fault.


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