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What Should I Do if I Am Hurt in a Carpooling Accident?

Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on November 11, 2022


woman getting into a car with other peoplePeople who choose to carpool often do so because it helps save them money on gas. It can also help limit the amount of mileage on a vehicle. Some counties and municipalities often incentivize carpooling by adding a carpool-only lane on highways.

But what if you are injured in an accident while carpooling or with a vehicle full of carpooling passengers? Our South Bend-area auto collision lawyers discuss what your legal options may be after a crash.

The consultation is free, and there are no upfront fees.

Who May Be Liable for a Carpooling Accident?

If you were injured in a carpooling accident caused by someone else’s negligent actions, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages.

Indiana is an at-fault state, so accident victims must file a claim with the at-fault party’s liability insurance.

To successfully recover compensation, you must be able to prove your injuries are a direct result of another party’s negligence.

The following factors may help determine fault for the crash:

How Did the Crash Occur?

Car accidents usually occur because one or more drivers were negligent or broke a traffic law. For example, a driver was speeding, texting and driving or following too closely. However, in a carpooling accident, distraction may play a large role.

The more people there are in a vehicle, the easier it may be for the driver to get distracted by a passenger. If the driver was distracted long enough, it could cause a crash. If this happened while you were a carpooling passenger, you may be able to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance.

Does Your Employer Incentivize Carpooling?

Some companies offer incentives to their employees who choose to carpool to work. This opens the door to an employer being held liable for damages if an accident occurs.

Due to the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer may be vicariously liable for the negligent actions of his or her employees.

If your coworker was driving the car you were riding in, you may be able to pursue compensation from his or her liability insurance as well as the liability insurance of your employer.

However, you must be able to prove your employer encouraged or incentivized carpooling. For example, if there was a stipend offered to employees who offered to drive other employees to work.

What if I Was Illegally in the Carpool Lane?

To encourage more people to carpool and diminish traffic, some municipalities designate a carpool lane during certain hours of the day. During that time, it is illegal to drive in the carpool lane if you are a solo driver.

The insurance company will try to find any reason to deny your claim. This includes trying to pin some of the blame for the collision on you.

If you were illegally in the carpool lane when another driver crashed into your vehicle, the insurance company will say they should not have to pay you compensation because you broke a traffic law.

However true it may be that you broke the law in this case, it does not mean you are not eligible for compensation. Simply being in the carpool lane does not mean you are responsible for the crash.

If you can prove the other driver acted negligently, you may be able to recover full compensation for your damages.

What Are the Challenges of Filing a Carpool Accident Claim?

There are some challenges to pursuing compensation for a carpool accident besides the risk of having your claim denied.

A lot of people falsely believe that pursuing compensation from the driver of a vehicle he or she was riding in will affect the driver directly. However, it is the driver’s liability insurance you will be dealing with, even if your attorney finds it necessary to file a lawsuit. You are not suing the driver. You are suing the insurance company.

Another challenge of filing a carpool accident claim is that multiple parties may be liable. If that is the case, you may need to file multiple claims with multiple insurance companies. This can be overwhelming, especially for someone who just suffered an injury in a crash and is trying to focus on his or her health.

Some people may also find it challenging to file a claim against their employer for fear of retaliation. They do not know that an employer retaliating against them in this situation is illegal.

Due to the challenging nature of potentially seeking multiple claims against friends, family or an employer, it may be in your best interest to work with an attorney.

Call an Attorney Today

If you were injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, call our attorneys today to discuss your claim.

There are no upfront fees, and the consultation is free. We do not charge you anything while we work on your case.

Call (844) 678-1800 to get started.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases

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