Riding Shotgun: 4 Guidelines for Drivers When Your Passenger is Injured in a Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident changes your day in a moment, even if there are no injuries and little damage to the vehicles involved. Now take this same scenario, and imagine that you have a passenger in your vehicle with you who has sustained an injury during a crash. The steps that you take following the incident just got more complicated.

Let’s take a look at four things that you, as a driver, need to consider when your passenger has been injured in an auto accident:

 

  • Treat your passenger’s injuries like you would your own – Immediately after any accident, all parties should take the time to assess any injuries involved. Just as you would take the time to make sure you were okay and would seek medical attention if needed, you should exercise the same level of care with your potentially injured passengers.

 

  • Your relationship to the passenger can affect their claim – When a passenger in your vehicle gets injured in an auto accident, they have the right to make a claim against your insurance policy. However, if the passenger is related to you and is named on your insurance policy, their injuries may not be covered under your first party benefits (called Personal Injury Protection/P.I.P) if you’ve waived that coverage.

 

  • The type of accident determines the type of liability – A passenger in an auto accident might have the right to sue one or both drivers involved in an accident depending on the circumstances. For example, if both drivers are found to be at fault, the passenger can sue both drivers for their injuries. Yet if one driver truly had no fault whatsoever, they would be exempt from a law suit.

 

Single-vehicle accidents (like those occurring when a driver strikes an object or an animal) require a different type of liability investigation. Liability will be determined by the insurance company for that vehicle, and then the passenger may potentially make a claim moving forward.

 

  • Your passenger can make multiple claims – While the law prevents passengers from receiving more money than their claim is worth, they might be able to make several claims against your insurance policy if you have some fault in the accident. Not only can they make a bodily injury claim for their accident-related medical expenses, lost wages, and the pain and suffering they’ve endured, but they may utilize a part of your coverage called Personal Injury Protection/Med Pay (depending on whether it is a Maryland, Virginia or DC policy). This part of your insurance policy would provide payment for your passenger’s  medical bills while their bodily injury claim is processing.

 

If you’ve been involved in an auto accident as either a driver or a passenger and have sustained injuries, contact Pérez Halpern LLC right away. We can guide and support you to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

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