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I was a passenger in a car accident. I suffered injuries, so how do I get compensated?
For passengers who have been injured in a vehicle accident, a number of options are available when it comes to getting compensation. In fact, compared with vehicle drivers, passengers may have an easier time making an injury claim. That’s because in any car accident case, one or more drivers involved are usually deemed at fault for the accident. But an injured passenger doesn’t typically need to worry about establishing liability.
If it’s not obvious who is at fault for the car accident, an injured passenger’s best option may be to collect all relevant contact and car insurance information for every driver involved in the crash. Then, armed with this information, as an injured passenger you can notify the car insurance carrier of each driver who played a part in the crash, let them know of the accident and your resulting injuries, and tell them that you’ll be opening a claim over the incident.
Most passenger injury claims can reach settlement pretty painlessly, but there are a few situations where things can get complicated.
In two-car accidents where both drivers may be at fault, a passenger can get caught in the middle of a dispute between the two drivers (and their respective insurers) over who is more liable. For example, Driver A may accept only a small amount of fault for the accident (let’s say 25%), and if Driver B makes the same argument (that he or she is only 25% at fault), for the injured passenger there will be no quick path to a satisfactory settlement until liability is sorted out.
Another potentially problematic situation is when multiple passengers are injured in the same accident, the at-fault driver’s car insurance coverage limits aren’t very high, and the driver him/herself has little in the way of assets. In that case, you’ll have a number of injured persons trying to get compensation from the same small pot (the limited amount of insurance coverage available), and not much chance of success if they file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.
by: David Goguen, J.D.
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