Here’s an article from Zayed Law – a Rockford personal injury law firm. It is a misconception that passengers cannot sue drivers of the vehicles they are riding in when they are involved in an accident. Passengers in a car accident are third parties who are able to recover damages for their injuries whether the accident was the fault of the driver of the car they were riding in or the fault of a second driver. Each state’s laws are different and insurance laws in each state differ.
Some states are at-fault states, which means that the driver who caused the accident is the party responsible for the injuries and damages to the other parties involved in the accident.
Most states are no-fault states, which means that a driver does not have to prove the fault in an accident in order to be compensated for injuries and damages. An insurance company in the cases of accidents in no-fault states usually automatically pay medical costs for their injured drivers.
The downside to being in an at-fault state is that the legal system is overloaded with litigation claims due to accidents. The downside to no-fault states is that injured drivers cannot sue the other party for pain or suffering as a result of the accident unless their medical costs exceed their insurance company’s threshold or the injuries are considered severe.
As an injured passenger in a car accident, you don’t have to prove the liability of either driver. There are times when both drivers were at fault and a passenger can file a claim against both drivers of the vehicles involved in the accident in an apportionment claim or one that is of comparative negligence.
Another factor that can affect a passenger claim is if either driver is uninsured or underinsured. The Insurance Research Council (IRC) reveals that 13 percent of Americans drive uninsured each year. 2.3 million people are injured annually in car accidents, the medical costs of these accidents exceeding $230 billion.
If you are a passenger in a car accident it is certain that someone is at fault. You do not have to wait for the driver of the car you were riding in to file a claim nor the other driver if it was a two-car accident. Sometimes insurance companies refuse to pay a claim and one of the parties must be taken to court to recover damages.
If a case does go to a court trial, the court may find both parties to the accident equally liable or partially liable. The judgement may not be split equally between the parties and a passenger whose case has gone to trial may recover from both parties involved.
Each passenger injury claim is unique in the factors that are involved in the accident. No two claims are alike and only an experienced attorney can advise a claimant on the nature of their case and the possible outcome.
A passenger in a car accident has several different ways to pursue in order to recover for their injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses including drawing from their own insurance even though their vehicle was not involved in the accident. An exception to being eligible to file a claim as a passenger is if you are related to the driver of the vehicle you are riding in. In these cases, you are usually considered an insured party while a passenger in their vehicle.
If you were a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a car accident, whoever is at fault, it is never the fault of the passenger and the passenger is eligible to recover full compensation for their damages and injuries.
Some people worry about making a claim against the driver of the vehicle they were riding in because they are friends with the driver. It is important to remember that you are not filing a claim against your friend but with their insurance company whom they pay a fee to in order to cover them in the event of just such an accident.
An attorney can advise a claimant how they will be able to recover, whether through the driver’s insurance or the other party’s insurance. And if an insurance company refuses to compensate, they have the resources available and the experience with insurance companies to successfully win cases against the insurance companies.
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