Injured passengers have the same rights as drivers after a car accident. If you’ve been injured while riding in someone else’s car, you will file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the insurance company refuses to pay, you then file a lawsuit to collect compensation for your accident-related expenses.
If you were hurt while riding with a friend or family member and they’re determined to be the at-fault driver, it’s understandable to feel reluctant about taking legal action. However, failing to protect your rights can leave you with a substantial financial burden that will affect your life for many years to come. Even if your friend or family member is temporarily upset by the accident, they will ultimately want to see you have access to the medical treatment you need to recover from your injuries and move on with your life.
This Is Why Drivers Have Insurance
Drivers are required to carry auto insurance, so they’re not personally responsible for paying the bills after they’ve caused an accident. When you file a claim as an injured passenger, you’ll be negotiating with the insurance company directly. They will be paying the settlement from premiums paid by all policyholders.
Most personal injury claims will be settled out of court without the need for a trial. However, it’s important to be aware of the possibility that the insurance company will fight your claim. Injuries resulting in extensive medical care or permanent disability lead to hefty damage awards, which negatively affect the company’s bottom line.
Your friend or family member will be named on the lawsuit if the claim can’t be resolved out of court, but the insurance company will oversee the process. Your friend or family member may need a lawyer, but the insurance company will provide the lawyer free of charge.
It is possible that your friend or family member will have their insurance premiums increased as a result of the accident, but this shouldn’t prevent you from taking legal action. Insurance companies have the legal right to raise premiums after any accident in which the driver is found at fault, even if there is no resulting personal injury claim. Failing to protect your right to compensation won’t necessarily help your friend or family member, but it’s guaranteed to hurt you.
Special Rules for Drivers in the Same Household
If you live with the driver who caused your accident, you are likely considered an insured person under the policy. Insured persons can’t pursue liability claims against their own auto insurance.
There Might Be More Than One Liable Party
Most people think of car accidents as being caused by just one person, but the reality is more complicated. Often, two drivers each share a percentage of fault. For example, one driver may have been speeding and the other driver may have run a red light. In cases like this, both drivers are partially liable for the resulting damages.
If both drivers are determined to be partially at fault, you will need to file claims against two different insurance companies. Your friend or family member’s insurance will only pay for the percentage of damages that corresponds with their assigned percentage of fault.
When You Hire an Attorney, You’re in Control
When you hire a personal injury attorney to handle your car accident claim, you’re in control of how your case proceeds. Your attorney will advise you on your legal rights and recommend actions to take, but the final decisions are left up to you. There is no need to worry that your friend or family member will be personally attacked or blamed for their role in the accident.
Have You Been Injured In A Louisiana Car Accident?
If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule your free consultation.