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How Injured Passengers Can Receive Compensation After a Car Accident

If you've been involved in a car accident as a passenger, there are several different ways to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Passengers are generally the most innocent when it comes to car accidents. Since they weren't driving the vehicle, they are rarely at fault for the accident. As a result, it can be less complicated to make your case and receive compensation from all the responsible parties' insurance companies... with some exceptions.

Filing a Third Party Injury Claim

Since you're making a claim under another driver's insurance, the claim is considered “third party.” You can either file a claim with the insurance of the driver you were riding with at the time of the accident, or you can file a claim with another driver involved in the accident. Depending on who was at fault and how many cars were involved, you may be able to file multiple claims.

For example, if the driver of the vehicle you're riding in turns in front of a speeding car and gets hit, the fault may rest on both parties. Since car insurance policies have limits on liability coverage, you may or may not be able to get enough compensation from one insurance company to cover all of your medical expenses. If that's the case, you may be able to file a claim with the other driver's insurance for the remaining amount. You cannot, however, get more compensation than your claim is worth.

In order to receive compensation as a passenger, you do have to prove that one or both of the drivers were negligent in some way. This is usually an easy case to make (especially if it was a multi-car accident), but could be difficult in some rare situations. If the accident happened in a “no fault” state, however, the liability would not matter and you'd need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) claim with your own insurance.

Covering Your Medical Expenses While You Wait

Insurance claims take time and settlement does not happen until all of your medical treatment is complete, so what do you do in the meantime? Most people have what's called “med pay” written into their insurance policies. Med pay is there to cover medical expenses while a claim is being processed.

NOLO explains:

Med pay is not contingent on determining who was at fault for the underlying car accident. This makes processing the claim significantly faster. Keep in mind that if you are claiming pain and suffering, lost wages, or you incurred any other expenses as a result of the accident, med pay will not cover those items.

Med pay usually has a fairly low cap, so if your medical bills exceed the amount you can claim through med pay, you'll need to cover your bills some other way (i.e. health insurance while the claim with the other driver's insurance is being processed).

When Insurance Companies Will Not Settle

Again, insurance companies will not settle with you until you are completely finished with any and all treatment. Hopefully, the insurance companies will work out a deal with you and settle the claim without too much hassle, but there are instances when they refuse.

One instance is if there is a disagreement as to who is liable for the accident. From our previous example, if the insurance company of the driver who turned in front of the speeding car feels that the driver who was speeding carries most of the blame, they may refuse to settle until the speeding driver's insurance agrees to that liability.

This situation puts the passenger in the middle of a hopeless insurance dispute and they probably won't receive the compensation they need to cover all of their medical expenses or lost wages.

If you are a victim of a fight between insurance companies, you need to get help from an experienced Colorado car accident attorney. Contact the Babcock Law Firm today to discuss your case. Let us work to get the compensation you deserve.

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