By: Whalen Hersh
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What to Do if You Are Injured as a Passenger in a Car Accident
Passengers involved in a motor vehicle accident have options regarding claiming compensation for injuries and losses incurred. The cause of the accident may be a subject of investigation, however, as a passenger in a car, unless you have done something to cause the crash (which is unlikely), you will be deemed an innocent victim of the negligence of the driver or drivers involved and should be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
As an injured passenger, you should involve a car accident lawyer right away to offer legal counsel and representation when making a personal injury claim. Whalen Hersh is a leading car accident and personal injury lawyer who ensures you are rightfully compensated for the injuries sustained, and losses suffered.
Where Do You Obtain Compensation For Your Claim?
Depending on your specific case, you may obtain compensation against the driver of another vehicle directly responsible for causing the accident, the driver of the vehicle you are riding in, or potentially your own insurance company.
1) Your Driver
When you ride in another person’s car as a passenger, your driver is responsible for safely operating their vehicle and safely transporting you in it. If an accident is attributed to your driver, then they may be held liable for your injuries and losses incurred in the accident. You can file a bodily injury claim with their insurance company, but you may ultimately need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver to collect compensation. Other insurance benefits may be available from different sources, including MedPay and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Special rules for filing claims and lawsuits against your driver may apply in certain circumstances. That is why it is important to talk with a lawyer right away to discuss your circumstances, the insurance coverages involved, and the timelines that may be applicable.
2) The Driver of the Other Vehicle
If the collision is caused by the driver of another vehicle that hits the vehicle you are riding in, you may submit a claim to the other driver’s insurance company and receive compensation if they are found to be a cause of the accident. The other driver’s liability insurance policy will be used to pay for the medical costs incurred and other damages, including lost wages, pain and suffering, and permanent impairment. Again, you may need to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation, and again, other insurance benefits may be available to you as a passenger. Talking with an experienced car accident lawyer is the first step in understanding your legal rights as an injured passenger.
3) Shared Liability
If investigation establishes that more than one driver in a collision is responsible for the accident, the drivers will share liability, including compensating injured passengers. In such a case, you may be entitled to file claims with the insurance companies for all drivers who are at fault, and you may need to sue them in a personal injury lawsuit to obtain compensation for your damages. The relative fault of the drivers involved will need to be assessed, and it may be that one driver will be more at fault than the other, making them responsible for a larger share of your damages. Having a personal injury attorney on your side to help navigate the law and the evaluate your claims is critical.
If you suffer serious injuries that require long-term treatment or render you permanently disabled, you may need to claim additional compensation beyond the insurance coverage provided by the negligent drivers. (And if the insured drivers only have minimal levels of insurance, even damages for relatively limited injuries can often exceed the insurance coverage available.) That compensation can come from your own insurance company if you have underinsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage may be one of the most important coverages you can buy.
After being involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should involve a personal injury lawyer to advise you of your rights, investigate your claims, and help you determine the best course of action for obtaining compensation for your injuries from all available sources.
Need to Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney? Call us Today
Claiming compensation after an accident can be tedious and frustrating. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to help understand your rights. At Whalen Hersh, we will walk you through the claim process—and litigation if necessary—to ensure you get fairly compensated for injuries you have sustained from the accident. Please get in touch with us now to set up a free consultation with our legal team.