Knowing Your Rights As A Passenger In A Car Accident

We all hope to never be involved in a personal injury case, whether we are the plaintiff or defendant. Personal injury occurs when one party is injured or harmed by the actions or inactions of another person. Generally, personal injury cases fall into one of two categories. One is intentional torts, when someone intended to inflict harm on another person. The other is negligence, where someone’s action or inaction caused injury or harm to someone, whether intentional or not. If you have been injured or have a loved one who has been injured and it results in negligence, there are certain actions you need to take and things you need to know about when to seek the help of an attorney.

Knowing Your Rights

In most cases, the first priority in a motor vehicle accident is the injured person’s own policy, even if that person is not driving at the time of the accident and their insured vehicle is also not involved. If you’ve been in a car accident as a passenger, you have rights. You have the right to pursue compensation for medical bills and lost wages that you suffer as a result of the injuries you sustained in the accident. Certain factors will determine how and from whom you can claim compensation – Who is at fault for the accident? Did you own an insured vehicle at the time of the accident? If not, a family member or other person related to you was? Knowing well your rights and the differences between how drivers are treated versus passengers is important to ensure you receive the maximum possible compensation for your claim.

Liability Claims for Passengers

The second avenue for financial compensation is to file a claim against the person responsible for the accident. This part of the claim is called the “liability” portion. Oftentimes, the insurance companies of the two (or more) drivers involved battling each other over whom to assign blame. Sometimes multiple parties share a percentage of the fault for the accident. Unlike drivers involved in an accident, passengers are rarely at fault as they did not have control of any vehicle. Therefore, it is likely that a passenger can file his claim against either the driver of the vehicle in which he was traveling or the driver of the other vehicle. However, it is possible to get caught in the middle of a liability claim if the insurance companies that cover drivers cannot agree on who is at fault. This can also delay the possibility of obtaining compensation for your liability claim. In addition, this disagreement may mean that it is necessary to give several recorded statements with multiple insurance companies, attend an independent medical examination or provide information to determine the facts of the accident and the extent of the damage.

The Process

The process of obtaining compensation from the responsible driver’s insurance company can be further complicated, if the responsible driver is a close relative such as a parent or spouse. In most states, you have the right to sue the driver of the vehicle that is at fault, especially the vehicle you were riding in, regardless of how they are related to you. Unfortunately, this fairly common situation means that it may be necessary to file a lawsuit against a member of your own family in order to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled under the law. Many Boston personal injury lawyers find themselves in a battle among families in this kind of situation, but the person filing the claim has to take that responsibility. The lawyer is only there to guide you.


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