I Was Injured as a Passenger. What Are My Rights?
If you were injured as a passenger, you have certain rights under personal injury. The chances of receiving compensation are high because it is rare that the passenger is at fault. New York is a no-fault state. This means that insurance companies are liable to pay for the medical bills, lost earnings and other expenses in personal injury claims. For instance, if you are injured by a vehicle in New York, the medical expenses will come from the insurer of the party at fault. This is regardless of whether you are the passenger or the driver. New York laws provide that no-fault claims should be filed within 30 days. It is, therefore, crucial to talk to a personal injury lawyer so that you do not lose your right to compensation.
Steps you should take as a passenger after an injury
There are certain steps you should take after being injured as a passenger in an accident. It is crucial that you gather any evidence you can at the scene of the accident. Take pictures and write down anything you remember about the circumstances leading to the accident. Ensure that you obtain the names of the driver(s) involved and any witnesses. The most critical information is the insurance details of the driver. As a passenger, ensure that you get immediate medical attention. This will help to add credibility to your injury claims. Keep a record of the doctor’s report and payment receipts.
Filing a third party insurance claim
An injured passenger can make a claim to the insurance provider of the owner or driver of the vehicle that they were riding in. The third party claim can also be made to the insurer of the other driver involved in the car accident. Claims made to any of these parties are termed as third party claims. This is because the claim is made to an insurer who is not your own. It is also within your rights as a passenger to sue both insurers. This can be allowed when the compensation received is not enough to cover the medical costs and other injury related expenses. The other insurer would cover the pending claim depending on the percentage of fault. This would be a good time to engage with a personal injury lawyer. They can help you get the full value of your claim.
How will I cover the immediate medical costs?
Insurance claims can be lengthy, especially if the investigations are still ongoing. The process can drag further if there are more than one parties at fault. This can work to your disadvantage because of the immediate medical costs involved. Many injured parties do not know this, but it is possible to make a claim to cover the medical costs while the case is still in progress. Such a claim is called “Med Pay.” It is important to note that, med pay is not tied to who is at fault. This claim can be made to your own insurance provider or the insurance provider of the driver at fault. Med pay does not cover for lost earnings or pain and suffering. It only pays for the immediate medical expenses.
Can a passenger be at fault?
In many accident cases, fault falls on one or both of the drivers. However, there are unique instances when the passenger can be partly at fault. For instance, if you had knowledge of the risk involved and you still rode in the car, then you can be partly to blame. A common example is if you get into the car knowing well that the driver is under the influence of alcohol. The defense may argue that you understood the risk involved. In such an instance, you will still receive compensation, however, the amount awarded will be less.
Do I need a lawyer if I was injured as a passenger?
While most personal injury cases appear straightforward, the actions of the party at fault cannot be predicted. The defendant may, for instance, argue that the passenger was not wearing a seat belt. They can attempt to demonstrate that the accident would not have been severe had the passenger been belted.
Having a lawyer on your side can help you in such circumstances. The lawyer can also help you secure full compensation.