In most auto accidents where there is a passenger in the car, certain questions arise. One of the most important involves whether the passenger is eligible to make a claim based on no-fault insurance, which can vary from state to state. However, while the process of filing these claims can be a bit more complex, it is usually possible for an injured passenger to take advantage of these policies. But in order to do so, there are many steps that must be followed to ensure all goes well.
What is No-Fault Insurance?
To fully understand how to file a claim based on no-fault insurance, it’s crucial to have a good understanding of this type of insurance. In essence, no-fault insurance means the driver’s insurance company will pay for damages such as lost wages and medical bills, whether or not that driver was responsible for the accident. While the laws vary from state to state, there are some common aspects in most policies. For example, while the injured passenger receives money relatively quickly to pay for medical expenses and lost wages, they generally cannot make a claim against the negligent driver unless their injuries are deemed extremely serious by a qualified medical professional. The reason behind these rules lies in the fact that no-fault insurance was created by states to keep insurance costs low, which in most cases has proven to be very effective.
Differences in No-Fault Laws and Limits
To ensure a passenger who has been injured in an auto accident knows exactly what they may be entitled to regarding damages they suffered, it’s important to retain the services of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can help them understand the rules. For example, while some states limit the amount of money a passenger can receive for pain and suffering, others may require the driver’s insurance to pay the first $25,000 in medical bills and lost wages. However, regardless of what rules a state may have enacted in these situations, utilizing the services of a personal injury lawyer can make a tremendous difference. Whether it’s learning what a passenger may be entitled to if they have been injured or finding out the maximum limits a state may have on medical expenses or pain and suffering, an attorney skilled in this area can help their client navigate the process and get the compensation they need and deserve under the circumstances.
Passenger Injury Claims
Resembling most standard auto injury claims, passenger no-fault claims allow for claims to be filed against both drivers if it was a two-car accident. The exception to this rule is if one driver was clearly not negligent, such as if they were rear-ended while at a red light or stop sign. In situations such as these, the passenger can only make a claim against the driver who rear-ended the vehicle. By getting insurance information from each driver, the passenger can then file claims with each driver’s insurer. If negotiations for a settlement are started, the passenger’s lawyer will negotiate with the insurance companies of both drivers, ensuring a fair and reasonable agreement is reached in regards to compensation.
Cooperating With the No-Fault Insurer
While in some cases these claims may go rather smoothly, there are other times when these complex cases may get even more complicated. One of the reasons for this is that passengers filing a claim fail to cooperate with the no-fault insurer, which can have a negative impact on the outcome of their claim. When a claim is filed, chances are the no-fault insurer will require the injured passenger to undergo an independent medical examination with a physician chosen by the insurer. Along with this, the passenger may also be expected to give a recorded statement of the accident, which can prove to be detrimental to their claim. Because of this, it’s imperative to have an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side during this process. In doing so, you can be advised as to what you should or should not do or say, which can ultimately mean the difference between success and failure.
Hire an Attorney
If you are a passenger who has been injured in an auto accident and needs to file a no-fault insurance claim, hiring an attorney can be the best decision you will make. By letting a knowledgeable and experienced attorney advise you every step of the way, you will have a much greater chance of not only filing your claim properly, but also gaining the financial compensation you deserve.
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