What Are My Rights as a Passenger in a Car Accident?
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Apr 11, 2019 in Auto Accidents
If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger, you may be confused about your rights. You may feel bad about filing a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were in. However, it is important to remember that you are not taking action against them personally. You are simply protecting your rights to be compensated for the harm you experienced from the insurance company.
The Phoenix car accident lawyers at Phillips Law Group are committed to protecting the rights of injury victims, including those who were injured in car accidents as passengers. We explain your rights below and are available to discuss your case further during a free, no-obligation consultation.
Arizona is a “fault” car accident state, meaning that the person who was at fault for the car accident is financially responsible for any injuries that you sustained, including medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering. As such, the first step in filing a claim is determining who is responsible for the incident.
In one-vehicle accident cases, liability is typically clear and the fault is of the driver. When more than one driver is involved in an accident, the case may be more complicated. The insurance companies will conduct an investigation to determine which party is at fault. Arizona follows the comparative fault system in which multiple parties can be determined to be at fault. They are responsible for their individual degree of fault.
For example, one driver may be found 80 percent at fault while the other is 20 percent at fault. In this situation, the first driver’s insurance company would be responsible for 80 percent of the damages and second driver’s insurance company would cover 20 percent of the damage.
It is common in this type of situation for the insurance companies to blame each other and try to attribute a greater degree of fault to the other driver. Hiring an experienced lawyer in this situation can help protect your legal rights and your ability to recover maximum compensation for your claim.
What if the Driver Does Not Have Insurance?
Like most states, Arizona requires all motorists to carry a minimum amount of car insurance in case they are involved in a traffic accident. These minimum requirements are:
- $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one individual in an accident caused by the insured driver
- $30,000 for bodily injury or death for all injured people in an accident caused by the insured driver
- $10,000 for property damage per accident caused by the insured driver
This insurance covers medical expenses, property damage expenses and other expenses that other drivers, passengers or pedestrians who were injured in the accident incurred, up to the limit of the policy.
If the driver does not have insurance, it is possible that other insurance may apply. For example, if a family member is driving a vehicle or if the owner of the vehicle gives permission to the driver to use his or her vehicle, the vehicle owner’s insurance liability coverage may kick in. If a driver was using a company vehicle, the employer’s insurance may cover it. You can also consider filing a claim against the medical coverage part of your own insurance policy. An attorney can investigate what other insurance may be available to cover your damages.
Filing a Passenger Injury Claim
A passenger injury claim is handled similarly to how other types of injury claims are handled. You may make a claim against both drivers if it is determined that they contributed to the accident. At the time of the accident, it is important to ask for each driver’s information, including the following:
- Contact information
- Insurance company
- Insurance policy number
- Description of vehicle
When you make a claim, you do not have to provide a recorded statement. At this point in the claims process, you may wish to contact a lawyer who can help negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Us Today
If you have been involved in car accident, it is in your best interest to hire a car accident attorney to review your case. Our firm has extensive experience helping injured victims pursue the maximum compensation they deserve. We can guide you through the claims process and protect your best interests every step of the way.
Your consultation with us is free and at no risk or obligation to you. We only receive payment if you successfully recover compensation for your car accident case.