Passenger Accident Claims And Insurance
If you are a passenger in a car accident, you will potentially have numerous options available to compensate you for your personal injury claim. Except for in limited circumstances, passengers are not at fault for car accidents. This means liability (who is at fault) will not be contested. Instead, your claim will be fought over the injuries and which insurance company should pay for those injuries.
Pursuing Your Passenger Accident Claim
Working with a personal injury law firm will protect your rights as you attempt to recover from your injuries from a car accident. The personal injury lawyer will also help you sort through the liability associated with the accident. The first thing the lawyer will ask for is a copy of the police report from the accident. Typically, the police report will contain statements from both drivers, together with a diagram of the accident. There are numerous sections of the police report where the attending officer makes notes which help tell the story of the accident. These notes contain everything from the estimated speed of the vehicles upon impact, to the road conditions. Lastly, the police report will also make note of any citations given to either driver, which can dramatically help or affect your case depending upon the citation.
If you do not have a police report from the accident, we can assist you with obtaining one at no cost. Just click HERE to request one.
Starting Your Personal Injury Passenger Accident Claim
Assuming the police report indicates the other driver is at fault, the most logical entity to pursue is the insurance company for the other driver. In North Carolina, there are insurance minimums that each driver must carry. The minimums in North Carolina are $30,000 for one person for bodily injury (“Personal Injury”) and $60,000 for injuries to two or more people in a single accident. Additionally, each driver must have $25,000 in property damage coverage; however, if you are a passenger the property damage aspect will most likely not affect you.
If you are a passenger, this means that the driver of your vehicle may also be injured. You can see how, depending upon the severity of the injury, the injuries for all individuals in your vehicle may exceed the amount of insurance the at-fault driver carries. If this is the case, you can also pursue an Underinsured Motorist Claim by starting a second claim with the insurance of the driver of your vehicle.
Your personal injury attorney will advise you as to the specifics of this claim, and you must be careful not to settle for less than the full policy amount of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy if you intend to pursue an Underinsured Motorist Claim. Lastly, the underinsured motorist limits must exceed the limits of the policy of the at-fault driver. If your claim comes to this crossroads, your personal injury attorney’s skill set in navigating underinsured motorist coverage will help you tremendously.
What If Your Driver Is At Fault?
If the driver of your vehicle is at fault, this will not prevent you from recovering from your injuries. Provided you did not contribute to the accident, your lawyer can start a claim with the insurance company for your driver. The minimums mentioned above will still be in effect.
Recovering With Medical Payments Coverage In Passenger Accident Claims
Your personal injury lawyer can also pursue a medical payments claim for you. If you or the driver of your vehicle have medical payments coverage on your auto policies, you can submit medical bills from the accident. You will be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary medical expenses which stem from the accident. While these amounts are typically $1,000-$5,000 they can make all the difference in settling a personal injury claim. This is particularly true of a smaller claim.
If you are able to recover medical payments coverage, your lawyer should be able to successfully argue for you that your medical payments coverage is not subject to the Medical Liens in personal injury created by N.C.G.S. 44-49 and 44-50, which helps you to retain more of your settlement funds.
Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today About Passenger Accident Claims
If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.
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