When thinking and talking about car accidents, most individuals focus on the drivers and how to determine which driver was at fault for an accident. Although this is an important determination to make and has a substantial impact on how a claim will progress, it is also important to think about the impact a car accident has on any other individuals involved, such as the passengers in either vehicle.
If you are injured in a car accident where you were riding in one of the cars as a passenger, you have the right to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your damages. Unlike the drivers, you have multiple options for doing so.
As a Passenger, You May Seek Compensation through Either Driver’s Insurance Policy or your Own
If you are not on the same insurance policy as the driver of the car where you were injured, you may go through your own automobile or health insurance policy to cover your medical expenses, provided you have your own insurance policy. You cannot seek compensation for lost wages or pain and suffering through this venue because these damages, unlike medical expenses, require you to prove the other party’s fault to collect compensation.
You may also file injury claims through the liability insurance policies of both the driver of the car in which you were riding and the other driver involved in the accident. What you cannot do,
however, is collect more money than your total claim is worth by going through multiple insurance providers for compensation. Instead, what you can do is collect the total amount you can possibly receive from the more at-fault driver’s policy, then go through the other driver’s insurance provider to recover any other money you need to cover the remainder of your needs.
If either of the cars involved in the collision were driven by drivers other than their owners when the crash occurred, you may seek compensation through the car owner’s insurance providers.
Seek Compensation through an Official Claim
As a passenger, the thought of filing an insurance claim against your friend or relative can be unsavory at first. You do not want to allege that your friend injured you or intended to cause you harm. But this is incorrect thinking. When you file a claim with your friend’s insurance provider to cover your losses, you are protecting yourself by ensuring that your needs are met. It is not a personal attack, but the correct usage of the automobile insurance policy that he or she pays for. Do your best to keep your emotions out of the personal injury claim process and do not, under any circumstance, allow yourself to be talked out of filing a claim on the promise that he or she will simply give you money to cover your expenses. Although the driver might mean well, he or she might either be unable to cover the full cost of your needs or fail to ever pay you, leaving you injured and at a financial loss.
For help with going through a friend or loved one’s insurance provider to cover your losses, work with a car accident attorney. Attorneys handle issues like this on a regular basis – allow your attorney to guide you through the difficult parts of seeking compensation for your losses.
What if I Was a Rideshare Customer?
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have changed how Americans get around. They have also brought questions of liability and the definition of an employee to the forefront of our minds and news outlets. Traditionally, rideshare drivers were not covered by their rideshare companies’ insurance, but by their own personal automobile insurers. After this was challenged in multiple lawsuits, rideshare companies Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar updated their insurance policies to provide some coverage for their drivers during rides with customers. Currently, whether a rideshare driver or his or her platform may be held liable for damages caused in an accident depend on the following:
- Whether the driver had a passenger in the car;
- Whether the driver’s personal insurance policy covers the damages caused;
- Whether the driver was logged into the platform when the accident occurred. This is possibly the most important factor used when determining whether to seek compensation from a driver’s personal insurance provider or his or her platform’s contingent liability coverage; and
- Whether the driver was at fault for the damages.
Rideshare accidents can be tricky. Talk to your attorney about the laws specific to the platform you used for your rideshare and exactly when in the trip the accident occurred to determine the right way to proceed with your claim.