Passenger's Rights to Compensation Following a Car Crash
Being the victim of a car accident as a passenger is terrifying, because you have no control over the actions of either driver and can do nothing to prevent an impending crash. Unfortunately, passengers are most frequently the victims when negligent motorists cause wrecks.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, passengers were 64 percent of the 35,092 fatalities in auto accidents in 2015. And just as an injured driver may be eligible for compensation, passengers can also be entitled to reimbursement for their injuries from the negligent party.
Who Is Responsible for Compensating an Injured Passenger?
One of the basic elements of a claim for compensation is proving a party’s negligence in causing the car accident. Unlike the drivers, there's rarely any claim that a passenger was negligent in causing the wreck unless he was doing something obviously wrong, such as grabbing the wheel or blocking the driver's vision.
There are a number of options for compensation when you are a passenger, including the following:
- Your driver. If your driver was completely or partially to blame, you would file a claim for compensation with his insurance company. You may be uncomfortable pursing this option if the driver is a friend or family member. However, you need to remember that the insurance company, not the person you know, is paying your settlement. If you live in the same household as a negligent driver and are related, your claim under his liability policy may be denied under family member exclusion.
- Other driver. The other driver’s insurance company could be partially or completely responsible for compensating you, depending on its insured’s level of negligence. It's not uncommon to have claims against your own and another driver.
- Third parties. When other causes, like a defective roadway or vehicle manufacturer defect, caused your injuries, you may be able to pursue a claim against these parties.
- Your auto policy. If the negligent parties had insufficient coverage, or none at all, you may be able to file a claim for medical benefits or underinsured or uninsured motorist coverages under your insurance policy. However, you must have purchased these types of coverage.
In some cases, multiple parties could face liability. While this may increase the likelihood that you'll be fully compensated, it might also make negotiations much more complicated.
If you or a loved one was injured as a passenger in an auto crash, let Alan Morton take over the burden of identifying the responsible parties and negotiating your settlements. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, fill out our convenient online form today.