Any time a traffic collision occurs and someone gets hurt—whether the injured person is the driver or a passenger—it can be a confusing time to think about one’s rights and filing a personal injury claim. Although passengers have somewhat of an easier time collecting compensation following a crash since they aren’t usually found liable for the wreck, they aren’t always given the money they need and deserve.
It is important for passengers to know that they have rights to collect fair and just compensation for their costs associated with the crash, but that insurance companies often attempt to limit those rights by limiting their financial recoveries.
What Are a Passenger’s Rights in a Crash?
When a passenger is injured in a car accident, the passenger can file an injury claim in order to collect fair compensation. Here are some ways in which passengers can collect after being injured in one of the various types of wrecks.
- Passenger injured in a one-car accident. Sometimes a driver may run off the side of the road or hit a tree and the passenger in that vehicle may get injured. If this is the case, a passenger would need to file a claim against the driver’s insurance policy to collect damages. Although this may feel awkward when a friend is at fault, it is important for passengers to remember they aren’t suing their friends but they are filing a claim against the driver’s insurance policy for their expenses related to their injuries. The driver’s insurance coverage should provide compensation for a passenger’s medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering up to the policy limits.
- Passenger injured in a two-car accident. When two vehicles collide, one driver will end up being held liable for the crash. If this is the case, a passenger would need to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company—that is, of course, if the other driver is found liable for the collision. Obviously, the same rules apply: a passenger can only collect up to the per-accident, per-vehicle policy limits. If the amount of damages a passenger incurs is more than the driver’s policy limits, the passenger could file a claim against his or her own automobile insurance (i.e., coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists) to make up the missing amount of money.
- Passenger injured in a multi-vehicle accident. Sometimes three or more vehicles are in a collision. After an investigation, one or two drivers may be deemed negligent in some way and there may be one or two insurance policies that a passenger can file a claim against in order to collect compensation. While there may be more options for filing a passenger injury claim when several vehicles are involved, there still may not be enough money to fairly compensate an injured passenger. This is because when several passengers are injured in a multi-vehicle wreck, often there isn’t enough money to go around. If this is the case, passengers need to file suit in order to collect the money they deserve.
If a passenger has to file a claim against his or her own automotive insurance policy, it is important to know that one’s medical payments portion of a policy does not cover lost wages or pain and suffering. When a passenger’s injuries are serious or disabling and life-changing, the policy a passenger can file against may not be enough to cover the actual financial costs as well as the costs associated with the pain and suffering the passenger endured. For this reason, a passenger may need to file a lawsuit against the various negligent parties in order to obtain the amount of money he or she deserves.
Legal Help for Passengers
Involving an attorney is often in a passenger’s best interest. An experienced attorney knows how to get the passenger the most compensation possible. Sometimes that could even involve a third party or dividing up liability among multiple parties. Even if a claim seems straightforward, a lawyer if often needed to convince the insurance company to pay the injured passenger a fair settlement.
If you would like help making sure you get the money you deserve after being hurt as a passenger in a crash, please call us today and take advantage of our offer for a free, no-obligation consultation.