If you’re involved in an accident, several things will run through your mind. Maybe you are worried about the injury pain. You may be wondering what you’ll do about going to work the following day. Or perhaps you are afraid of the costs that you have to deal with in case you suffered a long-term injury. Another important issue that can’t be ignored is about who was at fault. Although the incident may have been an accident, there is nothing innocent about the event. The person who was responsible for causing the accident must be held liable for your injuries, even if it is the person who drove the car you were in. As a passenger, there are several benefits you’re entitled to.
Understanding the basics
If you are a passenger and you get hurt in an accident, your case is always easier than anyone else’s. This is because passengers don’t have to worry about liability; it’s the drivers that are liable.
Just like in any personal injury claim, that plaintiff in the case needs to prove two things: the damage (how badly a plaintiff was injured) and liability (defendants fault).
If an accident involved two cars, one of the drivers would definitely be liable. It’s nearly impossible to have an accident involving two cars without having at least one driver who was negligent in some way.
If the incident were a one-car accident (maybe the driver hit a tree or went into a ditch), the driver would be liable. The general rule is that in case a driver hit something because he or she did something –or didn’t do something- it all amounts to negligence. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, if a driver hit a deer that came out of the bus suddenly and tried to cross the road, he or she will not be liable. Nobody expects a deer to jump right into their way and this is the reason it’s not possible to find such a driver negligent in this situation.
Getting rid of relationships
Sometimes it’s very hard for you to sue a person who was driving your car. Often, there is that pre-existing relationship between you and the driver, especially when you were in the car together. You may feel a degree of loyalty to that person, especially if they are already being sued by the other party. You will likely feel like adding more misfortunes into their life by suing them. You need to always remember that the driver wasn’t feeling so loyal at that time when they subjected you to injury.
It is also essential to note that you are not suing the driver because you have something against them. It’s just that you have to be taken care of. You need to have your normal life back by being made whole, and that’s the responsibility of the driver. If the driver was insured, you would not be going to their bank account – you’ll force their insurer to compensate you accordingly. In case the driver is not willing to pay you out of the goodness of their heart, you’ll have to force them by taking the issue to court.
Filing the passenger injury claim
A passenger injury claim will proceed like other types of car accident claims. But there will be a difference. The passenger could make a claim against all the drivers if the accident involved more than one car. An personal injury lawyer should be able to help you get your compensation.
The best personal injury lawyers will get the insurance details for the drivers and file claims with the respective insurance companies on your behalf. But, there will be some exceptions. For instance, if one of the drivers wasn’t negligent, the passenger in that car cannot file a case against such a driver.
In case an accident happened in a no fault state, you will file a PIP (Personal Injury Protection) or a No Fault claim against that driver considering your medical bills as well as lost earnings.
After you have completed your medical treatment, your case will be ready for settlement. If both drivers were liable, your attorney would negotiate with the drivers’ insurance companies on your behalf. Mostly, passenger injury claims are settled painlessly, but some situations can prove to be difficult.