Understanding The Legal Process

Four Things You Should Know Before Filing An Accident Claim As A Passenger

by Eli Gregory

A passenger injured in a car accident faces a much different accident claim from a driver injured in a car accident. As a passenger, here are some of the things you should know before filing a claim.

You May Have To Make Multiple Claims

As a passenger, it's advisable to hold both drivers responsible for your injuries and pursue claims against both of them. This is the only way you can expect to receive maximum damages for your injuries. Moreover, in many multi-car accidents, it's common for more than one driver to be deemed to have caused the accident. Pursuing a claim against only one driver means you will only be compensated for the portion of damages that the driver is deemed to have caused.

Multiple Passengers Reduce Your Potential Settlement

Another reality you should expose yourself to is that you will have to share the available compensation with other victims of the accidents. For example, if there were multiple passengers in the cars, they will all have to pursue their damages against the respective defendants. Consider an example where four passengers are injured in a two-car accident. If driver A had a liability coverage limit of $40,000 and driver B had a liability coverage limit of $30,000, all the injured have to share the available compensation pool of $70,000. This means each accident victim will be going all out to win the maximum compensation possible, and you need to do the same by hiring an accident lawyer like those at DiMaria Law.

Your Compensation Might Be Delayed

In a typical multi-car accident case, it is common for each driver to point fingers at others as far as liability for the crash is concerned. As an innocent passenger, you may be caught in the crosshairs of the fighting drivers, which may delay your recovery. This means you may have to wait a longer time to get your settlement than you might have waited while pursuing a claim against a single defendant.

Don't Assume You Are Automatically In the Clear

Lastly, you should not assume that you are automatically free of liability just because you were a passenger in one of the cars. This is because passengers can be liable for accidents; here are some of the ways in which passengers can cause accidents:

  • Grabbing the wheel of a car in fear, for example, if they think the driver is going to lose control of the car
  • Distracting the driver, for example, by playing games or engaging in horseplay
  • Providing the driver with alcohol that ends up intoxicating the driver
  • Allowing an intoxicated person to drive; for example, if you hand over your car keys to an intoxicated person and allow them to drive