Passengers absolutely have the right to pursue a claim for compensation and when you are injured in a car accident as a passenger, you might be able to get recovery from more than one of the drivers involved in the crash. A driver is negligent if they’re found to have breached “their duty of care” when they got behind the wheel. At the time the injury occurs, the statute of limitations in Virginia for personal injury is two years.
Steps to take after an accident
After a car accident, you’ll have to deal with a handful of things, depending on how severe the crash. If you were injured, you’ll need at least emergency medical care, if not follow-up with your primary doctor or even a hospital visit. The actions you take immediately after an accident can have a huge impact on any future legal action you decide to take. If someone else is at fault, there are steps you must take to protect your rights for compensation for your losses.
- Check for injuries
- Call the Police
- Take Pictures
- Get all the information you can
- File an insurance claim
- Consider hiring a lawyer
An attorney will let you know what rights you have as a passenger and how to proceed with filing your own claim. Your attorney may help you win your case by hiring accident investigators to prove liability, negotiating with the insurance company, filing your case in court and much more.
What if the driver is a friend or family member?
Some people are reluctant to make a claim for their injuries against the driver if they are family or a friend. However, a passenger should not be nervous or afraid about pursuing a claim, because the driver bought car insurance for exactly this purpose.
In every incident, the insurance company will hire a lawyer for the family member that owns the policy to provide legal representation for their defense in court or to negotiate an out of court settlement. The attorney hired by the insurance carrier protects the rights of the policyholder and the insurance company and works to offer the lowest possible compensation for damages and injury.
Because of that, it is important to understand that it is not a personal attack when an injured family member or friend sues the responsible party. It is not based on revenge, but just one of the few ways that the system works to obtain compensation.
Multiple Passenger Injury Claims
Car insurance policies have a cap that is chosen by the policyholder for physical damage and bodily injury. The bodily injury coverage is capped at a certain amount per accident. If you were in a car with multiple passengers and were involved in a car accident, each of the injured parties will file claims against the negligent driver. If the total value of the injury cases exceeds the driver’s insurance, each injured person will have to settle with the negligent driver for less than what their case may be worth.
What this essentially means is that all the injured people must take their money from the same pot of money. If the pot is not big enough, then an attorney can go against your own insurance or a household member’s insurance. An attorney can help you find any insurance that may be available to you that could be tougher to find on your own.
If the injured parties cannot come to an agreement with each other regarding how much each should get, the insurer will usually not settle with any of them. At that point, the injured passengers will have to file suit to settle the issue of how much each of them will get.
How a Lawyer Can Help
We are here to help, we want to make sure that you know your legal rights. However, when an experienced and dedicated personal injury attorney from Geoff McDonald & Associates takes your case, you can be assured that every opportunity for obtaining compensation for you will be fully pursued. We believe that having an aggressive law firm on your side can make all the difference.