Passenger Injuries in Car Accidents & Legal Compensation
Passengers who have been injured in a car accident may have multiple options for seeking compensation. They may be able to pursue third-party insurance claims against the liability insurance of any driver who was at fault, including the driver of the car in which they were riding. (There is an exception for injured passengers who are family or household members of the driver, since they likely fall within the driver’s insurance policy.) They also may be able to pursue claims against the insurance of the owner of one or more of the vehicles involved.
Special issues may arise in Uber or Lyft accidents. You can explore this discussion of those complexities if you were injured as an Uber or Lyft passenger.
Making Multiple Claims
An injured passenger may make claims against more than one driver and allow the insurance companies to determine who was at fault.
You may choose to make claims against multiple parties and insurance policies, assuming that more than one person or entity was at fault. This can be helpful if one insurance policy does not provide enough coverage to account for your injuries and costs. You can make up the difference by getting payments through another insurance policy. However, you cannot get a “double recovery.” If one insurer provides full compensation, you cannot get additional compensation from another insurer that would go beyond the value of your claim.
Health Insurance Claims
Getting compensation through a liability insurance policy may take a long time. A third-party claim involves proving the fault of the driver who holds the policy, which may be contested by the insurer. Meanwhile, you may have urgent treatment needs and medical bills associated with them. You can potentially use your own health insurance to cover these costs. Injured passengers would need to pay the deductible and any required co-payments, as well as costs for charges that the policy does not cover. The health insurance company later may pursue compensation from the auto insurer if it ultimately pays out on the claim, since auto insurance is supposed to take priority.
Med Pay Coverage
You may be unaware that your own car insurance policy may include coverage for medical payments, regardless of who was at fault for an accident. Payments under med pay tend to be issued much faster than payments under liability coverage. They exclusively cover medical bills and do not account for your lost income or pain and suffering. Also, med pay may not be enough to cover all of your medical costs if your accident was serious. It often has a low limit compared to other types of insurance.
A victim may continue to pursue third-party claims even if they receive compensation through med pay.
Making a med pay claim and receiving compensation through it does not prevent a victim from continuing to pursue a third-party claim under the liability insurance policy of a driver or vehicle owner. Similar to when you are pursuing claims against multiple parties, however, you cannot get a double recovery through med pay and liability insurance. Any amount that you receive through med pay for your medical bills will be subtracted from that component of the compensation awarded through liability insurance. No other components of the compensation award will be affected.