How can I pay for an injured parties out of pocket medical bills while protecting myself?

Asked over 4 years ago - San Diego, CA

A little over a week ago I was at a party. I don't remember the end of the party, but apparently (confirmed by several friends) I injured the shoulder of a friend of a friend. He hasn't contacted me directly, but I've heard through our mutual friend that he needed surgery. I am of course more than willing to pay for part or all of his out of pocket expenses, but want to do it in a way that sets me up well for the future. ie some sort of waiver of liability and a lack of an admission of guilt.

I'd like advice on how to accomplish this and also how to proceed with communication with the injured party. Is there any reason to contact him before he contacts me, is email for any reason better than a phone conversation, etc

Thanks in advance
Billy

Additional information

Just for the record I am located in San Diego, California
thank you all for your responses this far. They have given me a lot to think abouth in the past few days. I have been doing a fair amount of reading around the site and stumbled upon a case where the general concensus was that a bar could be held responsible for serving an intoxicated individual who was later involved in a fight where a bystander was injured. The injured party in my question was personally responsible for part of my intoxication (through offering marijuana after I was resonably intoxicated, but shortly before the incident). Would that make any difference in a civil injury suit?

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Steven Ronald Kuhn

    Contributor Level 15

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    Answered . Are you sure you injured him? Has he contacted you? Before you open a can of worms, you may want to rethink this and make sure you have all the facts straight. If you contact this person and offer to pay any of his out-of-pocket expenses, he may ask you for other damages such as pain and suffering or wage loss. If you do decide to contact him, make sure you reach an agreement as to how much you will be paying and obtain a written release of all claims signed by him.
    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

  2. Jason Austin Joseph Lundberg

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . Contact an attorney in your area. You will need to have an agreement in place by yourself and the other party. The agreement can be drafted by an attorney to include a provision from this suit or any future suit. This is something that should be drafted by a lawyer.

    NOTE: This answer is made available by an attorney licensed to practice in the state of California. The communication is intended for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding.

  3. Dimetri Reyzin

    Contributor Level 7

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    Answered . The key here is to insure that any money when and if given to the injured person by you is in exchange for a full waiver of all known and unknown claims arising from this incident. It also important to make sure that any settlement is such that it does not only protect you from any claims of the injured party but also in case of a lawsuit against the homeowner, you are protected from any claims for indemnity by the homeowner. Engaging attorney to accomplish these goals is a very good idea.

    THE RESPONSE GIVEN IS NOT INTENDED TO CREATE, NOR DOES IT CREATE AN ONGOING DUTY TO RESPOND TO QUESTIONS. THE RESPONSE DOES NOT FORM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP, NOR IS IT INTENDED TO BE ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE EDUCATED OPINION OF THE AUTHOR. IT SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON AS LEGAL ADVICE. THE RESPONSE GIVEN IS BASED UPON THE LIMITED FACTS PROVIDED BY THE PERSON ASKING THE QUESTION. TO THE EXTENT ADDITIONAL OR DIFFERENT FACTS EXIST, THE RESPONSE MIGHT POSSIBLY CHANGE.

  4. Pamela Koslyn

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . There's absolutely no reason to contact him - he may be fine now and have forgotten the whole thing, until you call or email with an offer to give him some money.

    Do everything in writing and don't admit anything. I agree that you need to lawyer to negotiate a release for any payment made, and your lawyer should ask for medical bills and receipts before agreeing to pay anything. You may also have insurance that would cover this claim, if it ever happens.

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  5. Adam David Sorrells

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . The issue of whether or not you should contact the person is a tactical and moral issue that I cannot comment on. To precisely answer the other part of your question, a formal release of liability is the legal document you are looking for. You offer to pay a certain sum of money, and the other side accepts and signs off on the release. If the release is legally sufficient, the other side is prohibited from coming after you for more money later.

    Good luck.

    Adam Sorrells
    Chico Personal Injury Lawyer

    disclaimer: The following was not legal advice, and cannot be relied on. For informational purposes only. You should seek the advice of an attorney immediately. Each case can be fact specific. No attorney/client releationship formed.

  6. Pamela Koslyn

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . There's absolutely no reason to contact him - he may be fine now and have forgotten the whole thing, until you call or email with an offer to give him some money.

    Do everything in writing and don't admit anything. I agree that you need to lawyer to negotiate a release for any payment made, and your lawyer should ask for medical bills and receipts before agreeing to pay anything. You may also have insurance that would cover this claim, if it ever happens.

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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