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Friend got hurt helping me move, can I be held responsible for medical bills?

Seattle, WA |

Friend offered to help me move my motorcycle in the moving truck. Friend said he would guide the rear of the bike while I guided the front. At the top of the ramp I lost my balance and footing, yelled that the bike was falling. I fell off the ramp and the bike came with me, landing partially on my leg. I was hurt but nothing major, friend said that his thumb hurt. He said he tried to hold the weight of the bike when it was falling and his thumb got caught in the frame and it twisted his thumb; therefore injuring it. Next day he went to ER, found out he tore a ligament. I am now 1500 miles away and he sent me an email telling me that he doesn't know if he can afford his ER bill. He works for himself as a freelancer and said that he can't work with the injured thumb. What should I do?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Best answer

    From a personal standpoint, talk to your friend and ask what you can do to help. However, from a legal standpoint, your friend must show that you were negligent (ie: did not act as a reasonable person should when putting the motorcycle in the moving truck) before you would be legally responsible for your friend's injuries, medical bills or lost wages. My opinion? First, talk to your friend to see if you can help without having to get an attorney. If you can't, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

    This response is given solely as a general response to the question and does not create an attorney / client relationship between the questioner and responder.

  2. What you should do depends on if you want to keep your friendship. You can tell him you wont pay for his bills, or you can work something out with him. Legally whether you are obligated to pay is a different matter. I would say that there was negligence on both parts, but whether him holding on the motorcycle was caused by you falling is very questionable to me.

    I am licensed in California, therefore, my answers are based on general prinicpals of law or California law, which may not be applicable in your jurisdiction. Answers posted to Avvo are for general information only. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. Every case depends is fact dependent, and responses are limited to and is based on the information you posted. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.

  3. If you have insurance, you should immediately notify them of a claim, then provide your friend with the insurance claim information. If you dont have insurance, you may want to see if you can at least help out. Personally, I think its the right thing to do.

  4. You were likely both at fault, but because you are friends, splitting a small ER bill would be a small price to pay to keep this friendship. True?

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