Can I Still Make A Claim If I’m A Passenger In The Car Whose Driver Is At-Fault?
Here’s a great article by Marc Albert, a top rated Long Island personal injury attorney. You absolutely can make a claim, even if the driver of the car you were in was found to be at-fault. There are only a few things that make the process different overall, and a few situations where the passenger may be caught in the middle and dependent on the two insurance companies. The first that will happen is the insurance companies involved will try to decide who is at fault by collecting police reports, getting statements from both parties and talking to any witnesses. At the end of their investigation, they determine that the drive of the car you were in is at fault for the accident.
Filing a Claim as a Passenger
The process for filing is the same process as it is for the drivers, except that you as a third-party can’t be at fault, so you would be entitled to receive full compensation for damages. It is important to note that you can file a lawsuit against both parties or only the at-fault party. If you are related to the driver, you would probably not file a claim, because you would be considered insured. Keep in mind that if you are filing against a friend, there is no need to feel uncomfortable. The claim is against their insurance company, not against them.
Duty of Due Care
Why can you file against the driver who’s car you were in? The driver of any automobile, bike, boat, etc. takes on the responsibility of their passengers when they drive. Not only do they have to drive carefully for other drivers on the road, but they also have to keep their passengers safe. This is called the duty of due care, and if they get into an accident because they were on a cell phone or speeding, then they weren’t exercising that care or protecting their passengers.
If you as the passenger are found to be partially at fault in any way, the amount of money received will be less according to the percentage of fault that is yours. If you took the wheel of the car into your hands from the driver or was purposely distracting the driver, you may be held liable for 20% of the accident. In that case, you would receive the remaining portion (80%) for which you are not found to be at fault. This is also called comparative negligence, which is only used in some states, but points out if there was a fault from another party other than the two drivers.
Serious Injuries or Death
If as a result of the accident you are seriously injured, a personal injury lawyer should be contacted immediately. They will help you handle the insurance company and make sure that they aren’t making false promises or being fraudulent. The firm may also want to send their investigators out to the site of the accident to take pictures, inspect the area, and look at what may have caused the accident.
If there were more passengers in the cars that were involved in the crash, the amount of money you’ll receive would be lower, depending on how many people are filing a claim. Insurance covers a particular amount of damages, and if that number isn’t high enough to cover the costs for the passengers, the negligent driver would have to negotiate with the passengers on an amount.
There are some situations where the driver of the car you were in doesn’t have car insurance, even if they were supposed to. Your car insurance may also cover some of the medical costs you endure as a result of being in an accident, even though it wasn’t your car. This can happen when both parties involved don’t have car insurance, or if their medical insurance can’t cover your medical costs. This is also particularly useful if you live in a no-fault state, where each driver’s insurance covers their costs. There is also the option of using your health insurance.
When you’re in a car accident, it’s hard to know what to do- especially if you are only a passenger. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have the right to be taken care of as much as the drivers. You would have every right to file a claim against the at-fault driver, even if you were in their car.