This article is by Justin Farar, a partner LA personal injury attorney. Car accidents are never easy to resolve, but some are more complicated than others. If you have been injured while riding as a passenger, you may be wondering who will pay for your accident related expenses. The laws are a bit different in no-fault states. Below is an overview of how no-fault insurance affects those injured while riding as passengers.
What Does No Fault Coverage Mean?
In no fault states, your vehicle repairs and medical bills would be covered by your own insurance, instead of the other drivers car insurance. This is the case in no fault states no matter who was liable for the accident. The amount of coverage is determined by the state in which you live and the limits outlined in the car insurance policy. Under no fault rules, an injured party is now allowed to pursue the other driver for monetary compensation, unless their injuries reach a certain level or threshold.
What If I Am Injured As A Passenger In A No Fault State?
If you are hurt as a passenger in a no fault insurance state, you can file a claim against both drivers involved in the accident. There is one exception to this rule and that is if one driver is not at all negligent in the accident. In that case, you would only file a claim against the at fault driver. Your bills would be paid by the driver of the car in which you were riding, unless they were clearly not negligent in the accident.
What Damages Could I Recover?
The insurance of the car in which you were riding would cover accident related expenses such as:
- Medical Costs
- Hospital Bills
- Lost Wages
- Ambulance Fees
- Cost Of Occupational, Speech And Physical Therapy
- Price Of Medical Devices
You may also be able to obtain a settlement for pain and suffering or emotional distress in certain states, if your injuries are extensive and severe. It would depend on the laws in the state in which the accident occurred. You may also be able to obtain a monetary settlement for future lost wages if the accident caused you to become disabled and unable to work permanently. This kind of settlement is given to those who will no longer have the same earning potential over the course of their career due to their injuries. You may also be eligible for a partial future lost wages settlement if you can return to work, but can no longer make the same amount of money as you did before you were hurt.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
While many car accidents in no fault states are easy to resolve, others may take significantly more time to settle. You may need to speak with a lawyer if:
- Your Injuries Are Extensive And Severe
- You Are Disable After The Accident And Cannot Work
- Either Insurance Company Are Paying Your Bills
Hiring a lawyer may increase your chances of obtaining a fair settlement for your injuries. Statistics have shown that accident victims who do not have legal representation routinely get lower settlement offers than those who have a lawyer fighting for their rights. While many accident victims worry they cannot afford a lawyer, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis and do not charge a fee unless they win your case.
How Can A Lawyer Help Me?
Your lawyer is familiar with the complex legal issues that most personal injury cases have. For this reason, he may be able to perform the following functions to help you win your case:
- Speak With Medical Experts To Prove How Serious Your Injuries Are
- Negotiate With Insurance Companies On Your Behalf
- Obtain Copies Of Accident And Police Reports
- File Court Documents
- Represent You At Trial If Necessary
If you have been the victim of a car accident while riding as a passenger in a no fault state, it may be beneficial to speak with a personal injury lawyer for advice. During a consultation, a lawyer will examine the facts surrounding your case and let you know the best way to obtain compensation for your high medical bills and vehicle repairs. Having a lawyer working for you is the best way to increase your chances of a fair settlement while reducing the anxiety associated with most car accident and personal injury cases.