It’s tough when you suffer a car accident as a passenger because you’re almost certainly not at fault for the accident. If you need help to cover your medical treatment and other costs, it’s a good idea to consider filing insurance claims for compensation.
Some people hesitate to file claims because the person who was driving is a close friend or family member. However, remember that you’re filing a claim against the driver’s insurance carrier and not the driver themselves.
Florida laws require every driver to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance for themselves and every passenger in their car. You’re entitled to compensation under this plan, but you also have other options. More importantly, you can contact the skilled car accident attorneys at Lawlor, White, & Murphey for guidance and legal help.
How to File a Claim as a Passenger in a Car Accident
As a passenger involved in a car accident, your first option to recover compensation is to file a personal injury claim against the driver’s carrier. Florida laws require “no-fault” insurance for every driver, which means that the driver’s insurance carrier should be the first to provide coverage regardless of who was at fault.
As a passenger, you’re covered in this basic policy up to its defined limits. You can also file a claim against the driver’s bodily injury policy if you sustained serious injuries.
If the other driver was at fault, you may also be able to file a claim against their insurance policy. However, this will be more challenging because you may not be eligible to file a claim against third-party carriers. Some policies only allow such claims if you suffered certain serious injuries, such as the loss of a limb, the loss of a fetus, and paralysis.
Secondly, you would have to prove that the other driver was fully or partly at fault for the accident. Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means each driver is only responsible for their percentage of fault in causing the accident and any settlement is shared as such.
Using Your Personal Insurance After a Car Accident as a Passenger
If the other driver’s insurance is too little or takes too long to pay, you can file a claim with your own carrier. Your PIP insurance can help to cover medical bills, but your premiums will likely go up due to the claim.
You can also use your personal health insurance policy to help meet medical bills after a car accident. However, if you recover any compensation from the driver or the other driver’s carrier, your insurance carrier may require you to repay all the medical costs they covered.
Can You Sue If You Were a Passenger in a Car Accident?
It may feel wrong, but there are many cases when you can and should sue the person who was driving and their insurer in order to recover more damages. This is particularly helpful if their PIP policy wasn’t enough to fully cover your medical costs.
If the other driver was at fault, you can also sue them and their insurance carrier, or other parties such as vehicle manufacturers or road maintenance agencies. Depending on the level of fault, the insurance carriers are often willing to settle to avoid a lawsuit.
As a passenger, you’re rarely considered to be at fault if you’re involved in an accident. That means you get full compensation, except in rare cases. For example, if you rode in a vehicle with a drunk or impaired driver, insurance adjusters could claim you knowingly put yourself in danger.
What to Do if You Have an Accident in an Uber or Lyft
Ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft carry insurance policies that also cover the passengers. For example, Uber has a $1 million liability coverage for its drivers when they have a passenger. Thus, if you make a claim, this coverage will pay your medical costs and all related expenses.
However, if drivers experience an accident when there was no passenger in the car, they’re only covered by their own PIP. Since drivers for ridesharing companies like Uber are third-party contractors, their insurance policies are intricate and require experienced attorneys to navigate successfully.
Get Help From Skilled Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorneys in Florida
If you have suffered a car accident as a passenger in Florida, it’s important to get legal help. The regulations around insurance claims for passengers can get murky and complex, requiring the help of highly skilled car accident lawyers.
The attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey represent clients in Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach, Weston, Coconut Creek, and all of Florida. We have decades of combined experience, by which we can help you win the maximum compensation you deserve. Call us now or contact us online to schedule your free consultation and we’ll help you with your case.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly