Passenger Injury In Car Accident
When most people think of car accidents, they think of injuries suffered by drivers who were not at fault. Unfortunately, that type of thinking doesn’t take into account the thousands of passengers who also suffer injuries in auto accidents. In fact, depending on the circumstances, passengers who are hurt in a car wreck have several options when it comes to filing a claim.
Common Types of Passenger Injury Claims
You have several claim options if you are a passenger who has suffered an injury in a car accident. However, if you live in one of 12 states that are governed by a no-fault car insurance system, you must file a claim with your own insurance company under the personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage would reimburse you for your medical expenses, and any lost wages resulting from the accident up to the coverage limits on your policy.
The 12 states that operate under a no-fault car accident system are Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah.
If you live in any other state or Washington D.C., there are several circumstances that will determine how you fail your claim, including:
- Driver At Fault – If you are a passenger in a single-car accident, you can file a claim against the driver to recover damages. If you are a passenger in a car with a driver who causes an accident between the car in which you’re traveling and another vehicle, you can file a claim against the driver to recover damages. However, if you are a passenger in a two-car accident in which the driver of the car you’re traveling in is only partially at fault, you can file claim against both drivers to recover damages.
- Driver Not At Fault – If you are a passenger in an accident in which the driver you’re traveling with is not at fault, you can file a claim against the other driver.
Things can get even more complicated, however, if there are multiple passengers in an accident who were injured.
In that instance, each passenger would have to file a claim against the driver or drivers who were at fault. However, the problem is that if these multiple claims exceed the negligent driver’s coverage limits, each passenger will either have to settle for less than they want, or go after the driver separately.
Passenger Liability In Car Accident Claims
If you are a passenger in an accident, and you are fount to be even partially at fault in the accident, that could significantly affect the damages you recover. For example, there are some states that will not allow you to recover any damages at all if you contributed in any way to the accident. So if you tried to grab the steering wheel prior to a collision, and you are found to have contributed to the resulting accident, you wouldn’t be able to recover damages.
In other states, passengers who contributed to a car accident will have their settlement or jury award amount decreased by the percentage in which they were found to be at fault.
Protect Your Rights
Passenger injury claims are rarely simple because there are so many different variables that can affect the damages a person can receive. And it may be very difficult to file a successful claim without the expertise and guidance of a seasoned personal injury lawyer. The Law Offices of Duane O. King has the resources and experience to handle all the complexities of a passenger injury claim. Please call us today to schedule a consultation.