Passengers have several options in pursuing a personal injury lawsuit
If you, or someone you love, has been injured as a passenger in an auto accident, it’s important to know what options are available to you or your family to cover the otherwise unnecessary costs of medical treatment, as well as compensation for any pain and suffering caused by the collision. Filing a claim as a passenger who has suffered injuries in an accident is complicated and it is recommended that the victim consult with an attorney.
The primary difference between the options available to passengers as personal injury victims is whether the injured person was a passenger in the vehicle responsible for the crash.
When a victim is injured as a result of another driver’s negligence, the responsible party’s insurance company should cover the cost of damages in full, but they often don’t. Damages may include vehicle repair or replacement costs, medical bills, lost wages, and psychological trauma. Insurance companies have their own team of lawyers who begin evaluating a claim once it is submitted, which is why it’s imperative that you seek the help of a personal injury attorney immediately after you’ve been injured in a crash to represent you and your legal rights.
Depending on which state you live in, or where the crash occurred, determining fault may differ. There are three rules, or categories, that states across the U.S. follow: pure comparative negligence, modified comparative negligence, and slight/gross negligence. A judge or jury will use the evidence presented in court to make the determination of the individuals’ comparative negligence, following their respective state’s rules.
If a passenger is injured as a result of his or her driver’s own negligence, a claim will be made against his or her driver’s insurance policy under the driver’s personal injury protection (PIP) plan.
Litigating against a friend or family member who was the driver is often perceived as difficult because of the concern of damaging a relationship. However, this is when both the victim and the defendant need to take a step back from the emotion of the situation. They need to understand that is why all drivers pay for insurance – thousands of dollars in insurance annually – on their vehicles.
A number of states require all drivers to carry PIP for every passenger in their vehicle; these are referred to as no-fault states. However, if PIP is not required, victims may need to file a claim through the driver’s bodily injury coverage.
If injuries are sustained due to the negligence of the other driver, a claim may be made against his or her insurance policy. However, this route may pose a few obstacles for the victim. In no-fault states, injuries may not meet certain statutes and therefore have a claim be denied. Another issue may be that the level of fault in the accident may not be clear, and there may be a lengthy process of trying to determine fault before a claim can be approved and compensation can be delivered. An experienced personal injury attorney can help navigate these challenges and work to ensure that the victim receives appropriate compensation for his or her injuries.
At Bond Legal, our experienced accident attorneys are there with you in every moment. You have a trusted partner behind you all the way.