If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a car accident, it can be a traumatic experience for all. You may be injured and thus rightly interested in seeking compensation for your pain and suffering. Oftentimes, the driver of either vehicle initiates litigation, but the passenger has prosecution rights as well.
As the passenger, you may be entitled to separate damages due to the negligence of the driver or another party. In this article, we will reveal how passengers can receive compensation for car accident injuries and how a personal injury attorney can help.
Relation to the Driver
When you’re the passenger of an accident, you can sue the driver of the vehicle you were riding in at the time of the incident. Passengers are allowed to file liability claims against the driver if they believe his or her negligence caused the accident. However, there are some exceptions to doing so. For instance, if you are related to the driver and/or share a home with them, you cannot sue them for damages.
This exception makes pursuing compensation tricky, especially if you are involved in a one car accident. For example if a driver rams the vehicle into a storefront, that would be considered negligent behavior. If that driver happens to be your mother, you may not be able to file a claim against her liability insurance, but you can attempt to file a first-party claim against the driver’s policy.
Who Can You Sue?
If you are not related to any drivers, you can issue an insurance claim against all the drivers involved, and a personal injury attorney will help you with the proper filing.
By law, every driver is required to carry liability insurance. Passengers can file a third-party claim against the insurance carriers of those held responsible for the accident. Nonetheless, if one of the drivers can prove absence of liability, such as the victim of a rear-end accident, then you should not pursue a claim against them.
Filing multiple claims is a good idea if one of the drivers has a fairly low coverage amount. You can petition the other insurance companies for the rest of your damages. The sole stipulation is that you can only receive compensation for the total amount of your claim. Damages cannot exceed the claim amount.
Can I File a Joint Lawsuit?
Passengers are able to file joint lawsuits with the driver of the vehicle they were occupying or with other passengers from the vehicle. In a multiple passenger lawsuit, you can choose to pursue one driver or all of the drivers involved in the accident. The only drawback is that you may have to settle for less than your claim is worth, depending on the involved drivers’ insurance policies.
A handful of states have no-fault clauses wherein the insurance company covers medical costs and lost wages no matter who is at fault. The passenger would file a personal injury protection claim (PIP) against the driver’s insurance company to receive compensation.
If you do not live in a no-fault state, you will have to file a formal claim against the driver’s liability insurance. Tennessee is not a no-fault state, so if your accident takes place in Tennessee, fault has to be determined before the insurance company will progress.
Mitch Grissim Personal Injury Attorneys
Mitch Grissim & Associates are a team of personal injury lawyers that work with clients in Tennessee. We help passengers in car accident cases attempt to recover the damages and compensation they deserve. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.