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What if You Are Injured as a Passenger in a Car Accident?

Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Oct 30, 2017 in Car Accidents

car accident about to happenWhen a passenger is injured in a car accident, he or she has the same right to recovery as the driver who is not at-fault in the accident. In some instances, the passenger may have the right to recover from multiple parties.

Regardless of the specifics of your accident, it is important that you take steps to protect your right to file an injury claim. One of the most important steps you can take is to contact a trusted attorney. The auto accident lawyers in South Bend at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak can discuss the legal options that may be available to you during a free consultation.

Single-Vehicle Accidents

If you are involved in an accident in which the vehicle you are riding in collides with a parked car, a stationary object or something else in which another motorist was not involved, you may be able to file an injury claim against the driver’s automotive insurance policy.

Every driver has the legal duty to drive in a responsible manner that protects their passengers from unnecessary harm. If the driver acts in a careless manner by texting and driving, drinking and driving, speeding, or not paying attention, he or she may be found liable for the accident and his or her insurance company will be held financially responsible for your injuries.

Multiple-Vehicle Accidents

If you are involved in an accident that involved multiple vehicles, things may be more complicated. You may be able to file the claim against one or all of the parties.

Make sure that you gather contact information for each driver and report the accident to police. Some things to keep in mind about multiple-vehicle collisions include:

Minimum Insurance Requirements

In Indiana, every motorist is required to maintain a minimum level of car insurance in case he or she is involved in an accident. While the driver may purchase additional insurance, the mandatory minimum amounts include:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury liability
  • $50,000 for bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 for property damage
  • $50,000 for uninsured motorist coverage

While these amounts may be sufficient to pay damages involved in minor car accidents, serious car accidents may result in injuries that cost much more to cover. If more than one driver is at fault, you may be able to file multiple injury claims to attempt to recover the total amount of all of the damages you suffered.

Comparative Fault

Indiana applies comparative fault principles to personal injury claims. This system apportions damages to the at-fault parties in proportion to the degree of fault of each party.

For example, if you suffered $100,000 in medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering and one driver was responsible for 30 percent of the accident, that driver can be held responsible for $30,000 of the damages. You would then pursue the other driver or drivers for the remaining 70 percent of the damages you sustained.

In rare cases, passengers can be held partially liable for the accident. For example, maybe you were doing something to distract the driver in the moments before the crash. If this happens, your total compensation award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you were 10 percent at fault, you would only receive $90,000 of a $100,000 compensation award.

If you are somehow found to be 51 percent or more responsible for the accident, Indiana's modified comparative fault law prohibits you from recovering any compensation.

Why You Need to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer Immediately

It is common when someone is hurt in an accident involving multiple vehicles for each driver’s insurance company to try to blame the accident on the other drivers. They may try to reduce the extent of damages that they are responsible for paying or outright deny the claim.  

This is why it is critical to hire an experienced car accident injury attorney. The car accident lawyers at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak can review the circumstances of your case to determine who may be liable for your injuries.

We can file accident claims on your behalf and handle all communications with insurance companies as we pursue maximum fair compensation for the damages you suffered.

Call us at (844) 678-1800 to get started with your claim today.