If you are a passenger in a car accident, it can be a confusing and stressful situation, especially if you are seriously hurt. You know the accident was not your fault, but whose insurance coverage is responsible for paying for your medical bills and other expenses you incur because of the crash?
Filing a Claim Against the Driver’s Insurance
If the driver of the vehicle you were in was responsible for the crash, you have the right to file a claim against the driver’s insurance policy. Any liability coverage on the motorist’s policy will usually cover medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering up to the policy limits. Special rules may apply if the passenger is related to the driver of the vehicle.
This means that even if you are hurt in a single-vehicle accident, you may still be able to secure the compensation you need to pay your medical expenses and cover your other related losses. Because the injury claim is filed against the driver’s insurance policy, it is not a lawsuit against the person you were riding with and will not cause them undue financial stress or strain. You aren’t suing your friend, relative, co-worker, or neighbor. You are simply seeking compensation from the insurance policy that exists solely for this reason – to take care of those who are hurt in a crash caused by the policyholder’s negligence.
Filing a Claim Against the Other Driver’s Insurance
If the driver if another vehicle is found liable, a passenger can pursue a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy. If both drivers shared liability for the accident, you might be able to pursue a claim against both insurance policies.
Filing a Claim Against the Passenger’s Policy
A passenger may also be able to file a claim against the medical payments portion of their own policy. Since this type of coverage is not based on liability, it can still cover you if you were riding as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle. Damages for pain and suffering, lost income, or other expenses that are not related to your medical costs are not included in this type of coverage.
If there is no liability coverage available – for example, the car was uninsured in a single-vehicle accident – the passenger may be able to recover compensation under the uninsured motorist (UM) coverage on the passenger’s auto policy. Underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits may be available if the responsible parties lacked enough coverage.
What to Do If You Are an Injured Passenger
If you are a passenger in a motor vehicle accident, you need to do the following:
- Seek medical attention.
- Write down all the details of the accident while you still remember them.
- Get a copy of the police report.
- Get contact and insurance information from all drivers involved.
- Avoid discussing accident details or injuries with other drivers. Do not give a recorded or official statement to another person’s insurance company before speaking with a lawyer.
- Do not post anything on social media about your accident, injuries or potential case.
Contact Us for Help
If you are injured as a passenger of a motor vehicle, you need experienced legal advice. The lawyers at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP can help you seek fair compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys have more than 130 combined years of experience in representing car accident clients, and we’re ready to help you.
Our offices serve North Carolina and South Carolina, including Asheville, Waynesville, Franklin, Greenville, Spartanburg, and surrounding areas. Contact us by phone or online for a free consultation today.