If you’re injured in a car accident at the fault of the driver of the vehicle you were in, you’re probably wondering what kind of claim you can make. Because the medical bills, lost wages, and damages associated with a car accident can be expensive, you will surely want to pay as little as possible out of your own pocket.
But who is responsible when you’re injured as a passenger? How do you make a claim and who should you make that claim to? What kind of options do you have?
Who is at Fault for Your Injuries?
Before you can begin making a claim, you will want to look at who is at fault for the accident. If the individual driving your vehicle is to blame, you will want to make a claim against the insurance policy of the driver or vehicle owner. Because this insurance claim is not involving your own insurance, this is what is known as a “third party claim.”
If the individual driving the vehicle was fully to blame for the accident, then you can only pursue compensation from that individual’s insurance policy. However, if both drivers contributed to the accident, then you may be able to pursue additional compensation by filing claims on both insurance policies.
When pursuing compensation from an insurance policy, you must remember that you can not receive more than your claim is worth. For example, if you have $10,000 in medical bills that you are looking to have covered, you will only be able to receive compensation up to that amount. Filing multiple claims on both driver’s insurance policies is only beneficial to you if the first is unable to cover the entire amount of your claim.
How to File Your Claim as a Passenger
To file your claim as a passenger, you will begin your claim like any other. After the accident, you will want to gather the insurance information from each of the drivers but particularly from the driver who was at fault. You would then need to contact that insurance provider in order to file the claim.
However, if you live in a No Fault state, then you will need to file Personal Injury Protection. You should also keep in mind that if the individual who was driving is a family member, you may not be able to file an additional claim against them. If you are protected under their car insurance, your injuries and damages will be covered under their initial insurance claim.
Getting Your Settlement from a Passenger Injury Claim
Most passenger injury claims can be settled easily and without much need for negotiation. But because accidents can get complicated, there are a few things that may make the process a little bit more difficult.
For starters, you may have trouble with your claim if the drivers cannot agree on a settlement and want to take the case to court. If it is not clear who was at fault for the accident, this can make it difficult for you because the driver of your vehicle may decline the insurance claim if they are attempting to put the fault on the other driver. This would mean you would need to wait until the jury decides who is at fault and to what degree each individual is at fault. If the court decides that both drivers were equally negligible in behaviors that lead to the accident, then each would need to pay half of your claim. But if the jury decides that one driver had the majority of the responsibility, then that driver would need to pay more.
You may also run into problems if there were multiple passengers injured in the accident. Because the driver’s insurance policy only covers so much money, you would need to split that amount of money with each passenger that was injured in the accident. If you are the only passenger injured, it may cover all of your expenses. However, if there are 2 or 3 other passengers hoping to make a claim on the insurance policy, the group of you would need to split whatever amount of money the insurance company is able to provide.
If you’re looking to create a claim for an accident you were a passenger in, you will want to consider speaking with a personal injury attorney about all of your options. With professional help, you can ensure you’re getting the most compensation possible.