If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, in the same way you would if you had been driving. Several insurance policies may be available to help pay for your damages, including your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Below, we discuss passenger rights and your potential options for recovery.
What Insurance Covers You
Several insurance policies may potentially cover you as an injured passenger, including:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – PIP covers medical bills and lost wages, regardless of who is at fault.
- Medical Payment (MedPay) – MedPay covers medical expenses following a car accident, regardless of who is at fault.
- Bodily Injury Coverage – Bodily injury coverage is liability insurance. The at-fault driver’s liability insurance pays for the damages their insured’s negligence causes. Every driver must carry at least $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage – If the at-fault party does not have any insurance, you may have uninsured motorist coverage as part of your own insurance policy that can help cover your expenses.
- Underinsured Motorist Coverage – If the at-fault party has some insurance but it is not enough to fully cover your damages, you can file a claim with your underinsured motorist coverage, if you have any.
- Health Insurance – You can use your own health insurance for treatment. You may have to reimburse the health insurance company out of any settlement you receive, but it can still save you money to initially use your health insurance because insurance companies negotiate lower treatment costs with providers. Additionally, a South Carolina car accident lawyer can help negotiate down medical liens so that you keep more money in your pocket after your case settles.
Whom to File a Claim Against
You generally file a claim against the at-fault driver. That may be the driver of the car you were in, the driver of the other vehicle, or both. If you are not sure who was at fault for the accident or your claim involves disputed liability, you can file a claim against any party you believe was partially at fault. Under joint tortfeasor liability principles, each party is responsible for their percentage of fault in an accident.
For PIP and MedPay, both of which are no-fault policies, you can file a claim with your own insurance or the insurance that covered the vehicle you were traveling in at the time of the accident.
If the at-fault driver does not have insurance or enough insurance to cover your damages, you can file a claim with your own insurance.
How Stewart Law Offices Can Help
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, a South Carolina car accident lawyer from Stewart Law Offices can help. We can assist you with filing your claim, investigate the accident to determine all potential sources of insurance and compensation, and help you seek full and fair recovery. Contact us today for your free consultation.