How Much Money Can a Passenger in a Car Accident Get?

Auto Accidents

If a car crash hurts you and it was not your fault, you might be wondering if you can recover any money and how much. You also might be wondering how to sue someone or go through insurance.

The answers to these inquiries will partly depend on state statutes. Each state has different laws concerning car crashes, insurance coverage, and negligence cases. Additional factors include the severity of the wreck and the extent of the injuries.

Third-Party Claimant

car accident attorenyAs a third-party claimant hurt while riding, you may recover your medical expenses and more from any or all drivers, up to their policy limits, depending on how the case resolves. Some states have no-fault laws instructing motorists to carry injury coverage in the case of wrecks, and the fault may not even be a consideration.

If you are related to the driver, you likely cannot claim as a third party, which may affect the process of recovering costs. It might also restrict your ability to recover altogether.

Much will hinge on the particulars of applicable laws, the specifics of the crash, and the drivers’ insurance policies, so generalizations about how much you can recover are challenging to make. Still, you should ask about making a third-party claim with the insurers of however many drivers were in the crash and try to recover the amount of money that their insurance coverage permits.

How to Sue for Negligence?

An insurance claim will not cover all damages in very severe injury cases. This is when you should sue for recovery for your damages. Suppose you cannot work anymore or lost work for a long time and are looking at a lifetime of medical expenses due to the negligence of another. In that case, a negligence claim may be suitable and victorious.

How much you can recover depends on your actual damages and who the defendants are.

If you’re a passenger hurt in a car wreck, you probably have many questions. You want to know how you will pay for your medical care. How will you pay your bills if you have to take time off work? Will you get a settlement for all that you’ve suffered-the pain, anxiety, and inconvenience of being in a car accident that isn’t your fault?

  • You can take steps right after the accident to help you get full compensation for your injuries.
  • Depending on the case, you might be covered by your auto and insurance policies, another party’s car insurance policy, or both.
  • If an insurance company opposes paying you, you can file a lawsuit.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident as an Injured Passenger?

Seeking immediate medical care for yourself and others involved in the crash should always be your priority after a car crash. After ensuring everyone is safe and the police have arrived at the scene, you can take measures to help yourself get full compensation for your injuries.

You’ll need to collect info and evidence for your car crash case, including:

  • Insurance details for any individual and car involved in the crash
  • Names and phone numbers of witnesses
  • Photos of the crash scene
  • Photos of your injuries, and
  • A copy of the police report

You’ll also want to keep your records of:

  • All medical treatment and bills you obtain as a result of the crash
  • Lost earnings for accident-related time off from work
  • Transportation expenses
  • Expanded or recent household costs arising from the wreck, and
  • Expenses associated with canceled trips or changed plans.

The evidence you collect at the accident scene will help you establish who was responsible for the wreck. The documents you keep during the aftermath will help you verify your losses, also known as “damages.”

How to Get a Police Report?

You’ll require a police report to sustain your description of the wreck. However, getting your hands on a police report might be frustrating and time-consuming. Police departments will demand that you have a legitimate reason for the report and request proof of identity before releasing the report to you.

Get the incident number from the officer who responded to the crash. Find out how fast their department processes reports; ask precisely what kind of identifying info you’ll need to bring and how much a copy of the report will cost you. Most departments charge an administrative cost for the report (normally around $20) or charge you a copying fee per page.

How to File a Passenger Injury Insurance Claim?

Injured passengers need to determine who might be responsible (liable) for their accident-related losses to figure out how much money they can recover for their damages.

Prospects generally include:

  • The drivers involved in the crash
  • The owners of all vehicles involved in the crash if the owners are distinct from the drivers
  • The employer of a driver if the driver was performing company duties at the time of the crash
  • The parent of a minor motorist involved in the crash
  • Anyone who contributed to the crash (like a jaywalking pedestrian), or
  • Your auto and health care insurers.

Claims Against Drivers and Car Owners

If you’re a passenger hurt in a car crash, you might file a claim to recover money against:

  • The liability insurance coverage of the motorist or owner of the vehicle you were riding in, and
  • The motorist’s liability coverage or owner of any other car involved in the crash.

You can’t collect from both motorists and owners more than your case is worth, but if one motorist or owner is uninsured or underinsured, you can make up the remainder of your losses (called damages) from another. You might also depend on your own underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage to recover money for your losses.

The Insurer of Your Driver

Your best buddy is driving you to dinner in their vehicle when they hit a tree. Drivers who hit immobile objects normally do something (or fail to do something) while driving that counts as negligence, like speeding or not paying attention to the highway. You’ll submit a claim to your buddy’s insurance company. You might obtain a settlement offer fast, but you might need to haggle your way to a better result. If the insurer rejects part or all of your claim, you might need to file a lawsuit.

If your buddy borrowed their uncle’s car and crashed it, you can file a claim against the uncle’s insurance company and your buddy’s carrier. The insurance companies will hash out which policy will pay for your damages and which will kick in if the primary policy can’t cover your losses.

The Insurer of the Other Driver

To get full compensation, you need to file a claim against the insurer of the other driver’s car.

If it’s evident that only one driver is at fault for the accident, filing claims with both insurers might delay the process. For instance, if a rear-end crash hurts you, you might not bother filing an injury claim against the lead car’s driver.

What if My Spouse or Relative Was Driving the Vehicle?

Most insurance policies cover the individual or individuals named in the policy. They almost always cover the insured’s spouse and other licensed drivers living in the home related to the named insured.

So, suppose you are riding in a vehicle driven by a relative with whom you live. In that circumstance, you probably won’t file a liability claim against the motorist since the same policy probably insures you. You cannot file a claim against your liability coverage.

If another driver was at-fault for a crash, you can claim that motorist’s policy. If your motorist was at-fault, some of your medical bills and expenses can fall under personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, medical payment coverage (MedPay), or health insurance.

Your Insurance

The individual’s insurance who was at fault for the accident pays for your damages in most cases.

You might need to file a claim under your policy if:

  • The responsible motorists or car owners don’t have insurance or don’t have enough insurance to pay for your losses, and
  • You want the payment to cover your medical bills.​

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Suppose a motorist involved in the crash doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for your losses. You can file a claim under your car insurance if you have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage (UM).

Most UM policies pay for injuries while driving or riding in the car named on your policy and driving or riding in any car you don’t own.

Medical Payment Coverage

Many car insurance policies pay up to specific limits for accident-related medical bills, no matter who was at fault for the crash. If you have MedPay, your medical costs are covered when driving or riding in the insured car or anyone else’s vehicle.

Your Own Health Insurance

You can always use your health insurance to pay for your car accident-related medical care.

If you can pay your bills through your health plan or car insurance coverage (like MedPay or PIP), find out if one option requires reimbursement and another doesn’t. You’ll likely want to go with the one you don’t have to repay.

Your insurer might be free to get reimbursed from another party’s insurer (like a motorist or owner). Insurance companies will likely work behind the scenes to agree on splitting the expenses.

If I Was in a Car Accident, Can I Receive a Settlement?

Most car accident claims settle before the case gets to trial.

The benefits of settlement for both parties include:

  • Limiting expenses
  • Saving time, and
  • Bypassing the unpredictability of a trial.

How Much Money Is a Passenger Injury Case Worth?

No two car crash lawsuits are the same, so you can’t comprehend how much compensation you will get for losses.

Most insurance adjusters (and judges and juries) regard:

  • The harshness of your injuries
  • Your medical expenses
  • The likelihood of long-term effects of the crash
  • Lost income (past and future), and
  • Pain and suffering (mental and physical).

How to File a Car Accident Lawsuit?

If insurance settlement negotiations fail or a driver’s insurance coverage isn’t enough to fully repay you for your injuries, you can file a suit. Whether to “settle or sue” generally comes down to cash.

Before you decide, you should speak to an experienced car accident attorney about whether a lawsuit makes sense in your case and how much money you can expect to recover.

How Much Money Can I Recover When Multiple Passengers Suffer Injuries in a Car Accident?

Another possible issue appears when multiple people are hurt in a crash.

For example, suppose a car carrying three people is rear-ended. All three people were hurt and filed claims with the vehicle’s insurance carrier that caused the wreck. If the total value of their claims is more than the insurance coverage, the passengers might not get the entire value of their claims because they have to take their funds from the same pot.

If the injured passengers can’t agree on how much they should get, the driver’s insurer likely won’t settle with any of them. The passengers will then have to file a car accident lawsuit and let a judge or jury determine how much money they deserve.

Know When to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer

If a car accident hurts you, you need a lawyer to determine who needs to pay your medical bills and other accident-related damages. If the driver was a companion or someone close to you, you might hesitate to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit.

A lawyer can give you objective guidance about your claim. A lawyer can also bargain with insurance companies for you and go to court if required to get you the compensation you need.

Hire a lawyer after a car crash, as the amount you recover can increase significantly if you do.