Can An Injured Passenger Sue The Driver After a Car Accident?
Getting involved in a car accident can be a scary experience. However, if you are a passenger in a vehicle that gets into an accident and are injured, you may wonder whether or not you can bring a lawsuit against the drivers involved. This can be a complicated situation, as there is often more than one driver involved in a crash. Understanding what your options are in these situations is important.
Whose insurance will cover passenger injuries?
Any passenger in a car accident usually has the legal right to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. There are also instances in which you may be able to make a claim against more than one driver involved.
There are various types of insurance policies that could come into play to help cover a passenger’s injuries after a car accident. This can include:
- liability coverage of the driver or owner of the vehicle you were riding in
- liability coverage of the driver or owner of another vehicle involved in the crash
- your personal car insurance
- your personal health insurance
Like most car accident cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will be responsible for covering medical expenses and property damage of others involved. When working to determine fault, the insurance carriers will use all evidence available, including police reports, video and photo surveillance, eyewitness statements, and more.
If you were the passenger in a vehicle in which your driver was partially at-fault, and the other driver also shared fault, you may have the right to make a claim against both drivers’ insurance carriers. As an injured passenger, your job is not to sort out which driver was at fault or which driver had more or less fault for the incident. You will make a claim to both insurance carriers and let the drivers and their respective insurance carriers determine who will pay for your expenses.
A personal injury lawsuit may be necessary
If you are a passenger injured in an accident and the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier refuses to pay a fair settlement or denies a claim, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover compensation. In these cases, you will want to make sure you file a lawsuit against all potentially liable drivers at the same time. A personal injury lawsuit should be handled with the help of an attorney. A skilled and experienced car accident attorney will have the resources and experience necessary to thoroughly investigate the case and explore all routes of compensation available to you. An attorney will handle all negotiations and ensure that all court deadlines are met.
In the state of Washington, victims of car accident injuries have three years from the date the incident occurred to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
What types of compensation are available for these cases?
There are various types of compensation available for passengers that are injured in a Washington car accident. While the total amount of compensation available varies from case to case depending on specific factors, the following types of compensation are generally available:
- Coverage of all crash-related medical expenses
- Lost income if a victim cannot work while recovering
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
If the gross negligence of one or more of the drivers caused the accident, or if either drivers’ intentional actions caused the incident, punitive damages may also be available. Speak to a Seattle car accident attorney to learn more about what your options are.