Most people associate personal injury lawsuits associated with traffic accidents with the drivers of the vehicles involved. However, if you have been injured as a passenger, you may also have grounds to file a personal injury suit. However, it will vary in several significant ways from the type of suit that you would file if you had been in the drivers' seat of one of the vehicles. Here are several things that you need to know about passenger personal injury claims.
You Are Responsible for Reporting Your Injuries
Many people who become injured as a result of being a passenger in a vehicle that gets into an accident assume that the driver's insurance policy will automatically cover their medical bills as well as pay for lost time off work, but this is not the case. You'll have to file with the courts in order to receive any form of compensation, which is why it's important for those who have been in an accident to file a report with both your own and the driver's insurance company on your own behalf within 24 hours after the accident occurs.
You Will Probably Be Filing a Third Party Suit
Most passenger personal injury claims are third party suits that may involve more than one insurance company. Depending on the provisions of your own policy, you may be covered to a certain extent if you sustain injuries in someone else's automobile while that person is behind the wheel, and that is where you will need to start in your quest for compensation. You won't be filing suit against your own insurer, however. In the event that you aren't covered under your own policy (many people choose not to pay for that particular type of coverage), your personal injury suit will be against the insurance companies of the the drivers who were directly involved in the accident, which is where things get complicated.
- If both drivers have been found to be partially at fault, your claim will have to include both of their insurers.
- If it's a one-car accident and the driver is not at fault in any way, you may be out of luck. An example of this is if a deer suddenly jumped in front of the vehicle on a dark night.
- The insurance companies involved may try hard to show that your actions as a passenger may have contributed to the accident.
The services of a qualified, experienced personal injury lawyer like The Reed Noble Law Firm PLLC is essential if you are going to successfully navigate the particularly murky waters of a third-party personal injury suit.