Dec 12, 2017 Car Accidents, Catastrophic Personal Injury, Personal Injury, Vehicle Wrecks
- 1. Injured as a Passenger in a Car Crash? Start Here.
- 2. Passengers’ Rights and Options After a Crash
- 3. Roadblocks for Car Accident Passengers Who Are Owed Compensation
- 4. Complication #2: When Neither Side Agrees to Settle
- 5. Crosley Law Firm: Advocating for Injured Passengers in San Antonio and Throughout Texas
Injured as a Passenger in a Car Crash? Start Here.
As a passenger who has been injured in a car crash, you may be entitled to compensation from the driver or drivers who are found to be negligent in the wreck. Passengers are not held liable for a car collision. Instead, the fault lies with drivers of vehicles involved in the crash. This can include the driver of the vehicle you were in as well as drivers of other vehicles involved in the crash.
If you or a loved one was a passenger injured in a car crash, it’s important to understand what your rights are, potential roadblocks that exist with injury claims, and who you should contact if you are an injured passenger from a car wreck. We’ll discuss all of those things below.
RELATED: Crosley Law Firm’s Approach to Car Accident Cases
Passengers’ Rights and Options After a Crash
As an injured passenger involved in a car wreck, you have rights to certain compensation from the at-fault parties in the crash. Reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering are some of the most common forms of compensation for passengers who have been injured in a vehicle collision.
Below are some of the common methods for receiving compensation as a passenger after a car wreck.
Third–Party Insurance Claims
Injured passengers can make a third-party insurance claim because they are not liable for causing the car crash, meaning that you can file the claim under an insurance policy that is not your own. In cases involving multiple vehicles where more than one driver was at fault, a claim can be filed with all the drivers’ insurance companies. This option can be useful if no single driver has enough vehicle liability coverage to pay your expenses. In this way, the costs for your claim can be split between multiple insurance policies and allow you to receive full compensation.
“Injured passengers can make a third-party insurance claim because they are not liable for causing the car crash.”
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage
Unfortunately, a large number of San Antonio drivers are either uninsured or only carry Texas’ minimum level of coverage. If you’re seriously injured in a car accident, your medical bills and lost wages might quickly surpass the state minimums. At Crosley Law Firm, we encourage all drivers to purchase a UIM policy, which covers some or all of your accident-related medical expenses and lost income when an at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured. You might have claims against your personal UIM policy as well as the UIM policy of the driver you were riding with.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
If you or the driver you were riding with has a personal injury protection (PIP) policy, it might cover some or all of your medical bills and lost income, regardless of who was at-fault for the accident. While many PIP policies are very limited, they sometimes pay financial assistance when other insurance policies dispute coverage.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payment coverage, or “med pay,” is another helpful option for receiving compensation. If you have med pay coverage under your automobile policy, consider making a claim for medical payments. Med pay coverage often pays out sooner because it does not depend on factors such as who is at fault. However, as the name suggests, med pay will only cover medical expenses. Additionally, most med pay coverage policies are very limited, so keep in mind that even if you do have med pay coverage, you may still want to file a personal injury claim to receive full compensation for your medical costs and any other expenses you wish to claim.
“If you have med pay coverage under your automobile policy, consider making a claim for medical payments.”
Because these coverage options get complicated very quickly, speaking with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a crash is usually your best course of action. During a free consultation, attorneys like the ones at Crosley Law Firm can help you understand what your rights and options are for compensation. And if they can take on your case, they will investigate and handle your insurance claims, medical bills, and more.
Whether you try to handle your claim on your own or enlist the help of an attorney, some roadblocks can arise for passengers who file injury claims and seek compensation.
RELATED: How Insurance Can Cover Your Medical Bills After a Car Accident
Roadblocks for Car Accident Passengers Who Are Owed Compensation
Two major complications that you may face as an injured passenger include multiple passengers seeking compensation and disputes over which driver is at fault.
Complication #1: When Multiple Passengers Are Involved in a Crash
In a crash involving more than one passenger, insurance policy limits on compensation can be reached very quickly. For example, Texas requires minimum insurance to cover $30,000 per vehicle occupant, but only $60,000 per incident.
In a simple two-car crash where there is only one passenger injured and both drivers are at fault, the passenger’s costs can be split between the two insurance policies, which allows the passenger to recover a substantial amount from both parties before hitting policy limits. However, the drivers may make claims against each other and cut into that total.
“In a case where multiple passengers have claims against a single insurance policyholder, policy limits can be a significant problem.”
In a case where multiple passengers have claims against a single insurance policyholder, policy limits can be a significant problem. A maxed-out insurance policy will result in passengers not receiving the full value of their personal injury claims.
For example, if two or more passengers are injured in a crash and only one driver is determined to be at fault, that specific driver’s insurance coverage maximum of $60,000 has to be split between all of the passengers and the driver who was not at fault.
Unfortunately, if passengers sustained anything beyond minor injuries, it is unlikely that the negligent driver’s policy will cover the full costs of everyone’s injuries. Consider this: the average per-person cost of a crash involving moderate injuries was $48,793 in the most recent year with complete data. If two people have moderate injuries, they have already exceeded the policy limit. For severe injuries, that cost jumps to $169,611 per person, which is well above the minimum policy limits for most insured Texas drivers.
In cases like these, each passenger may have to settle for less than they are due, and if they cannot agree on who receives which percentage of the available compensation, the injured passengers will have to file suit and may even need to go all the way to court.
Complication #2: When Neither Side Agrees to Settle
In multiple-car collisions, injured passengers can also get caught in the middle of a battle between two drivers (or insurance companies) who cannot come to an agreement with each other over who is at fault and to what degree. Regardless of how the insurance companies and drivers try to determine liability, passengers’ settlements will typically be delayed until the settlement or verdict comes in regarding driver fault.
“Because of these potential complications, you should talk to an attorney right away after a crash.”
Because of these potential complications, you should talk to an attorney right away after a crash. A dedicated and experienced attorney will stand up for your rights, help you navigate legal complexities, and save you time and frustration so you can focus on healing and move on with your life after a crash.
They can also investigate all the possibilities for insurance coverage to try and get you the compensation you need to cover your medical bills and other losses.
RELATED: Crosley Law Firm Helps Injured Passenger Pursue Lawsuit Against Driver and Get Multiple Settlements
Crosley Law Firm: Advocating for Injured Passengers in San Antonio and Throughout Texas
The attorneys at Crosley Law Firm take passenger injuries very seriously. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car wreck as a passenger, contact our office right away. Call 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or fill out a quick and easy contact form to schedule your free consultation.
Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to address your questions and concerns, and we will fight to get you and your loved ones compensation for your losses. We have a no-fee policy, which means you don’t owe us a dime in legal fees or expenses unless we help you get a settlement or win your case in court.
Don’t wait. Contact us today!
Blincoe, L. J., Miller, T. R., Zaloshnja, E., & Lawrence, B. A. (2015, May). The economic and societal impact of motor vehicle crashes, 2010. (Revised) (Report No. DOT HS 812 013). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812013
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.
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Crosley Law Firm, PC is a professional corporation of trial lawyers focused on representing individuals and families who have suffered serious personal injuries or wrongful death. If you’ve been injured, fill out the form for a free consultation, or call 210-LAW-3000.