What happens when you’re involved in an accident but were a passenger in one of the vehicles involved? Can passengers file claims for compensation following an accident? What rights to compensation do passengers have?
If you were seriously injured in a car accident and you were a passenger at the time the accident occurred, you are entitled to compensation. You can seek compensation for medical bills and other related losses in a variety of ways since you were a passenger in the collision. The approach you take depends on the party or parties responsible for the crash.
Filing a Claim Against Your Driver’s Insurance
If the driver of the car you were traveling in caused the accident, you can file a claim against his or her insurer. A driver’s liability coverage should provide compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering as well as lost wages.
Your relationship with the driver may impact your decision whether or not to seek compensation. However, you should remember, that you will be pursuing compensation from the driver’s insurance policy, not from the driver’s personal assets.
Filing a Claim Against the Other Driver
You can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company if the other party was at fault in the collision. It is also possible to file for compensation even if the other driver is determined to be only partially at fault for your injuries. This is known as shared liability. You can file a claim against both drivers if they both bear some degree of responsibility for the collision.
Filing a Claim Against Your Own Policy
It is also possible to file a claim against your own auto insurance policy. This compensation is not based on liability and will depend on your individual policy. It typically will not cover lost wages as well as pain and suffering. It may only cover medical payments. Again, this will depend on your policy which is why you should seek advice from an experienced attorney.
Another reason why it is important to consult with an attorney before filing a passenger claim against your own automotive policy is because the compensation awarded may be deducted from your settlement with the other parties.
If a passenger is shown to have contributed to causing the accident e.g. by distracting the driver, the passenger’s compensation may be reduced based on the degree of his or her fault in causing the accident. For example, if you were found to be 10% at fault and your damages totaled $50,000, your award would be reduced by $5,000.
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident in Los Angeles or the El Segundo area, please call us today at 310-640-1200 to schedule your free consultation. We will help you fully evaluate your options to determine your best course of action.