How to recover compensation as a passenger injured in a car accident.
Passengers Injured in Car Accidents
A passenger injured in a car accident has every right to recover for their injuries. In fact, injured passengers may have a liability claim against the driver of the other vehicle as well as the driver of the vehicle they were riding in.
Recoverable damages for an injured passenger injured in a car accident include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Past and future medical costs and expenses;
- Pain and suffering;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future earning capacity;
- Disability or loss of normal life;
Passenger Claims Against Opposing Drivers
If the other driver was at fault for the accident, a passenger injured in a car accident is entitled to make a claim against the at-fault driver and their insurance company just as the driver of their car would be. In fact, passengers make such a claim in the exact same manner as a driver would.
Injured passengers should be advised that they may need to use a separate car accident lawyer from the driver of their vehicle. This is especially the case if there is a question as to whether the opposing driver or the passenger’s own driver was at fault for causing the car accident. The reason behind this is if it comes out that the passenger’s driver was even partially at fault for the car accident, then a lawyer representing both the driver and the passenger would have an inherent conflict of interest.
Passenger Claims Against the Passenger's Driver
In some situations, the driver of the vehicle a passenger was riding in will be at-fault for causing the car accident. Even if this is the case, the passenger is entitled to bring a claim against the insurance company for their driver to seek full and final compensation for their injuries.
Folks are obviously often reluctant to pursue a claim against their own driver because that driver is typically a friend or family member. However, it’s important to remember that the passenger is typically seeking compensation from an insurance company – not directly from the person they are closest with. Deciding not to pursue a claim generally does not save the driver any money. After all, they’ll be obligated to pay their insurance premiums regardless of whether the passenger pursues a claim.
Working with a Car Accident Lawyer
Passenger claims can be a bit more difficult than a regular claim made by a driver against another driver, in part because of how many insurance policies that come into play. For this reason alone, it is important for an passenger injured in a car accident to work with an experienced car accident lawyer.
As someone who frequently represents folks injured in car accidents (including passengers), trust me when I say that a passenger injured in a car accident should NOT speak with an insurance company from either the opposing driver or their own driver before speaking with a car accident lawyer. Speaking with the insurance company first may make it difficult for the injured passenger to obtain full and fair compensation for their injuries.
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