In almost all personal injury cases the individual seeking compensation was a pedestrian, or on a bike, or in another vehicle. However, sometimes a passenger suffers serious injuries because the driver was negligent. If you were injured in an accident while a passenger in a car, an nyc personal injury attorney will know what to do.
Personal Injury as a Passenger:
Passenger injury cases usually proceed in the same way as other injury accidents. If your a passenger and are injured when the driver rear-ends a car at an intersection, you would still need to file suit against the driver, If both drivers could realistically share liability, then you need to get insurance information from both drivers and pursue a settlement from each of them.
You should also know that a driver isn’t always found at fault. If two drivers crash into each other, it is usually clear that one was at fault. A deer in the road or a truck tire that comes apart in front of the car poses an injury risk no one could really avoid. In a sudden storm, even a responsible driver may not be able to avoid a crash.
When Both Drivers are at Fault:
In some accidents, both drivers are at fault. For example, if one driver was intoxicated and one driver was speeding or texting, they would share liability for the injuries. In cases where both drivers may be at fault, a lawyer will have to negotiate with both driver’s insurance companies. The insurance companies often do not agree on how much liability each driver has for the injured person’s medical bills. The situation becomes somewhat more complicated when there are multiple passengers with injuries.
Multiple Injured Passengers:
The case of multiple passenger injuries adds another level of complexity to these cases. Each injured person is trying to claim some of the same insurance money. In most cases, there is enough insurance money to cover the injured passengers, but not always. Additionally, there is no law requiring the passengers to reach an agreement on how to split the at-fault driver’s money. In other cases, the driver’s personal injury coverage proves insufficient to cover two or three sets of medical bills.
The responsible driver’s insurance company may end up facing disputes from two or three injured parties. The passengers are responsible for deciding how much of the insurance money each one gets, if they win the case. The insurance company is not obligated to help, and may refuse to settle with any of the passengers until they decide to settle.
Having two insurance companies involved adds to the complexity of any legal action. The insurance companies might not agree on who shares how much liability for your injuries. These disagreements can arise after a judgement. For example, if a jury decides that one driver was 25% at fault and the other was 75% at fault, the two insurance companies might not agree on which owes 75% of the amount. This is a time-wasting process that never comes up when only one insurance company is at fault.
Protecting Your Legal Rights:
Getting medical care is always the first priority. After that, you need to take certain steps to protect your legal rights. Ideally, you would take the same steps as any other victim of an injury accident. Collect all medical bills, insurance letters, and insurance documents in a folder. Get the driver’s insurance information too. A copy of the police report and any witness information is also helpful to an attorney.
A nyc personal injury attorney would tell you to never sign a settlement or agreement of any kind without consulting a personal injury lawyer first. Signing anything from the driver’s insurance company or attorney, could strip you of important legal rights. For example, you may accept a small cash settlement because you really need money, then find out your injuries require some expensive physical therapy. You may be stuck paying for that service yourself.
Passenger injury cases introduce complexities that don’t typically happen when one one driver hits someone. If you were a passenger in an accident caused by the vehicle’s driver, call an experienced nyc personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case.