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Can You Sue As a Passenger In An Accident

If you’re involved in a car accident as a passenger, it can be scary, and it can leave you wondering what your legal options are. You do have legal remedies available to you as a passenger in certain situations, but conversely, you can also share responsibility for an accident.

If you’re a passenger and you distract the driver from the road, and then they’re in an accident, you might share responsibility for the damages of the victim.

If you aren’t responsible for an accident, then the following are things to know about your own legal rights as a passenger.

Passenger Injuries

If you’re the passenger of a vehicle that’s involved in an accident, you could sustain a wide variety of injuries. Common vehicle passenger injuries include head, neck, and back injuries, whiplash, fractured bones, and more severe injuries.

If you’re a passenger who sustains injuries in a car accident, you broadly have the right to file an insurance claim, and you may also be able to file a lawsuit if necessary. In addition, as a passenger, you might have the option to file a claim against the driver whose negligence caused the crash.

Suppose you’re a vehicle passenger and you’re in a collision involving multiple vehicles. In that case, you have to make sure you’re using all the possibly liable drivers in one lawsuit so you’re getting consistent results.

If you settle against one driver in a two-car accident as the passenger, you want to make sure the settlement from the single driver is reflective of the likelihood that you won’t get anything from the second driver.

What Insurance Covers Passenger Injuries?

For a passenger injury claim, there are different types of insurance policies that could be relevant.

These can include the liability insurance of the owner or driver of the vehicle you’re riding in, the liability insurance of the driver of the other vehicle or vehicles that are involved in the crash, your own car insurance, and potentially your health insurance too.

A third-party claim is when you make a claim against the insurance policy of someone else.

If both drivers who are involved in a collision bear the same amount of fault for the accident, if you’re a passenger, you might be eligible to file a third-party claim against both policies. If one policy covers all of your injuries, then you can’t recover compensation from the other party’s insurance.

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If someone else’s liability insurance is covering the cost of injuries from an accident and you have health insurance, you usually first use your health insurance to cover your medical bills. Then, the cost of your medical care and deductibles, and co-pays can be included in a settlement.

If you win a settlement or court award, you have to reimburse your health insurance for the amount you receive.

What Happens In No-Fault States?

In a no-fault state like Florida, you are restricted in your ability to sue the driver who’s at fault for the accident unless the damages meet a certain dollar threshold.

If you’re in a no-fault state, you have to experience a bone fracture, significant disfigurement, significant or permanent limitation of an organ or body part, or be fully disabled for at least 90 days.

If you’re injured, and it meets one of the above criteria, you aren’t limited to just making a personal injury claim in your own policy. You might be able to make a third-party claim holding the at-fault driver responsible.

You could also have the opportunity to pursue compensation for non-economic losses like pain and suffering.

How Do You File a Third-Party Claim?

If you’re a passenger and you’re going to file a third-party claim against a driver who’s at fault, the process is broadly the same as any other car accident claim, except, again, since you’re the passenger, you may be able to make a claim against all the drivers involved.

If a driver is at-fault for an accident, they may or may not be fully responsible for the damages.

If both drivers are equally liable for an accident, you might be able to sue both for damages, but you can only sue a person for the percentage of fault in many states. For example, if one driver is 90% at fault for an accident, and the other is 10% at fault, the one driver is liable for 90% of a passenger’s total damages.

If you’re a passenger hurt in an accident, before you think about filing a claim, make sure to get medical treatment. Then, you’ll want to start to gather evidence as you would if you were the driver in an accident.

You want pictures of your injuries and the accident scene, insurance information for anyone involved in the accident, and names and contact information of witnesses. In addition, you’ll want to obtain a copy of the policy report once it’s available, and you’ll want to maintain detailed records of all of your bills and medical treatments, lost earnings, and transportation costs.

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Finally, most insurance policies will cover the person or the people who are named in the policy. This means that insurance almost always covers the insured person’s spouse and any other licensed drivers who reside in the same household and are related to the insured person. Suppose you’re in a car with someone who you live with, and they’re in an accident with you as a passenger. In that case, you won’t, in most cases, be able to file a liability claim against them because you’re probably insured under the same policy as one another.

You don’t have the option to file a liability claim against your own liability coverage.  If another driver was at-fault in an accident, again, you could make a claim against that driver’s policy or the policy of the person who owns the car.  It gets complicated if you’re a passenger in an accident, and you have to determine things like who’s at fault and what the laws are in your state. To do this, the best course of action is usually to hire a personal injury attorney.