Can a Passenger Sue Both Drivers in a Car Accident?
Car accidents can result in serious injuries, property damage, and in some cases, death. Drivers involved in a car accident can depend on their car insurance companies to provide compensation that covers medical costs and repairs or replacement of damaged vehicles. However, what happens if you are the passenger involved in an car accident?
Passenger Claims for Two-Car Accidents
The passenger in a vehicle that is involved in a car accident follows the same procedure for filing an insurance claim. However, they would file a claim with the insurance agencies of both drivers. An accident investigation can take a long time to settle, but medical bills and lost time from work continue to accumulate during this time.
The passenger that is injured in a two-car accident files their claim for injuries with the insurance company of the driver of the car they were in, and the driver of the other car involved in the accident when there is no definitive cause for the collision. If there is a clear distinction for liability, the injured passenger would file with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. For example, if the passenger was injured in a car that was broadsided because another car ran a stop sign, then that driver is clearly at fault.
While an injured passenger can file a claim with both drivers’ insurance companies, they cannot receive more compensation than the maximum allotment for the injury. In short, this means that a passenger with a $100,000 injury claim can receive $50,000 from each driver’s insurance company, but they cannot receive $100,000 from each insurance carrier.
Filing a Passenger Injury Claim Under No-Fault Rules
The insurance claims process can get complicated for injured passengers when a car accident happens in a no-fault area, such as DC. No-fault insurance means that an insurance company will pay for injuries for their policy holder no matter who is at fault for the accident. In most cases, passengers injured in a car accident may be covered under the driver’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) clause of their insurance contract.
However, damages for injuries are limited. Passengers cannot file a claim against both drivers’ insurance policies unless the injuries are severe. When the injuries, medical costs, and lost wages of an injured passenger exceed the state’s threshold limits, the passenger can then sue both drivers to recover the compensation they need.
No-fault states also rely on the injured passenger’s medical insurance to cover the cost of medical interventions related to the injuries sustained in the accident. When the injured passenger’s medical insurance covers the cost of their injuries, the medical providers may be able to claim the money they paid out.
DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Injured Passengers Claim Compensation
If you or someone you know was injured as a passenger in a car accident, call the DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King at 202-331-1963, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. We will work diligently to ensure the legal rights of our clients are protected and that they claim the maximum amount of compensation available. Located in Washington, DC, we serve clients throughout DC and Maryland.