If you were in someone else’s car and he or she got into an accident, you are probably wondering how to recover compensation for your damages. This is not something that many people are familiar with, so most people do not know what to do.
The compassionate Maryland car accident lawyers at Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices can discuss your rights as an injured passenger during a free case review. Our goal is to recover all compensation you are entitled, through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
There are essentially three options for pursuing auto insurance compensation after suffering an injury as a passenger in a car crash. There are pros and cons to each option, which our attorneys can review with you after a crash.
One option may be to file an insurance claim with the policy that covers the driver of the vehicle you were in. Drivers are required to have $30,000 in liability coverage for injuries they cause.
However, some people feel awkward making a claim against the insurance policy of the driver if this person is a family member or friend. That being said, you should remember you are not seeking recourse against the driver, just his or her insurance company. The driver will not have anything to do with the claims process in this situation.
The driver may also have personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) coverage that covers all passengers in the car at the time of the accident. PIP coverage provides compensation for reasonable and necessary medical expenses, including the cost of hospitalization, surgery, and therapy or rehabilitation. PIP coverage also pays for lost wages.
This is one of the advantages PIP coverage has over MedPay, which only pays for medical costs, such as costs from:
Another option is to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy. Drivers are required to maintain coverage for bodily injury liability in addition to property damage liability. Drivers are required to carry a minimum of $30,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage and $60,000 for two or more people injured in an accident they cause. Drivers are also required to carry a minimum of $15,000 for property damage they cause.
Many drivers carry only the minimum liability limits. However, some drivers purchase additional insurance. Injured passengers can receive compensation up to the policy limit when making a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy.
A drawback to this type of claim is that insurance adjusters may contest who is at fault for the accident and may deny the claim. This can cause additional obstacles and hassles for you as the passenger. When multiple vehicles are involved in the accident, each driver’s insurance company may try to blame the accident on the other drivers.
Another option is to file a claim under your own insurance company. If you have PIP or MedPay, you can use this insurance to pay for your medical expenses – PIP also covers lost wages. You are covered by this insurance no matter who is at fault for the collision.
Some passengers are afraid to file this type of claim because they fear that their rates might go up. For this reason, some passengers use this option as the last resort in case the value of their damages exceeds the coverage limits of other insurance policies.
If you still have damages for which you were not reimbursed after exhausting all insurance coverage or if your insurance claim is denied, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. You can pursue compensation for medical bills and lost wages, in addition to non-economic damages like pain and suffering and loss of companionship.
Whether you are filing a lawsuit or insurance claim, you can greatly benefit from the assistance of a qualified car accident lawyer. The attorneys at our firm have been through this process many times and know what it takes to obtain the fair compensation you deserve.
If you were injured as a passenger in an automotive accident, you have the right to pursue compensation for the medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages that you have suffered.
Our car accident lawyers at Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices are experienced at pursuing maximum compensation from negligent parties. We charge no upfront fees and work on a contingency fee basis. We are only paid for our services if you receive compensation from a settlement or award.
Contact us today to explore your legal options and learn about your rights.