Any passenger who sustains injuries in a car accident will typically have the legal right to file an insurance claim. If necessary, a passenger may also file a personal injury lawsuit. The passenger in a car accident is then able to file a claim or a lawsuit against the driver or drivers whose negligence was the cause of the crash.
If you are riding in a vehicle as a passenger and are involved in a multi-vehicle collision and decide to file a lawsuit, you want to make sure that you sue all the potentially liable drivers in the same lawsuit. If you do not do this, you may end up with inconsistent results. If you settle against only a single driver in a two-car accident when you are the passenger, you want to make sure that a settlement that you get from a single driver reflects the odds that you will not get anything from the second driver.
Insurance that Covers the Injuries of a Passenger in a Car Accident
There are different types of insurance policies that may come into play for a passenger injury claim after a vehicle accident. These insurance policies include the liability insurance of the owner or driver of the vehicle you are a passenger in, the liability insurance of the driver or owner of the other vehicle or vehicles involved in the crash, your own personal auto insurance, and your personal health insurance.
Most states, including Florida, require personal injury protection as a part of the minimum insurance policy. This is the part of the policy that covers injuries for passengers involved in an accident.
There are several things to keep in mind when it comes to insurance coverage and your injury claim.
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A third-party claim occurs when you make a claim against someone else’s insurance policy. If both of the drivers involved in the crash have the same amount of fault for the accident, as a passenger you may be able to file a third-party claim against both of their policies. But, if one policy will cover your injuries entirely, you will not be able to recover a financial award from the other party’s insurance. Essentially, you cannot “double-dip.”
Personal Health Insurance
If someone else’s liability insurance covers the cost of the injuries from the car accident and you have personal health insurance, you will typically use your own health insurance to pay for the cost of your medical care at first. The cost for your medical care and any co-pays or deductibles will then be factored into a settlement. It is important to note that if you successfully obtain a court award or settlement, your health insurance is entitled to reimbursement from the amount that you receive.
No-Fault Insurance States
There are several states, including Florida, that are no-fault insurance states. In these states, your ability to sue the driver at fault for the accident is typically restricted to accidents that cause an injury that meets a certain dollar amount threshold. There are statutory priorities that outline the order in which a claim may be pursued. In order to file a lawsuit as a passenger in a vehicle in the state of Florida, you must experience one of the following as a result of the car accident:
- Bone fracture.
- Significant disfigurement.
- Significant or permanent limitation of the use of a body member or organ.
- Substantially fully disabled for at least 90 days.
If your injuries meet at least one of the above definitions, you are not limited to only making a personal injury claim with your personal policy. You may be able to hold an at-fault driver responsible for the accident through a third-party claim or a personal injury lawsuit. You may also be able to pursue compensation for any category of non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.
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Filing a Third-Party Claim
As a passenger, filing a claim against the at-fault driver is the same as filing any other type of car accident claim, except the passenger in a car accident may be able to make a claim against both drivers involved in the accident.
As mentioned, in states such as Florida, which is a no-fault insurance state, you are likely covered under the personal injury protection insurance policy of the driver of the vehicle you were riding in. You will likely have no recourse against the other driver unless your injuries meet the statute thresholds.
In most cases, passenger injury claims can be settled without much issue. However, there are situations where there are some difficulties that may arise. If you are a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a crash, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC at 800-601-7557. We are happy to discuss your personal injury claim with you and determine what steps you can take in order to possibly be reimbursed for your injuries and other damages caused by the accident.