You may have many questions if you are a passenger in a car accident. Who will pay my medical bills? Which insurance helps me? What are my rights as a passenger in a car accident? These questions are valid and expected. Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys answer these questions and more below.
You Have the Right to Compensation After an Auto Accident
As a passenger, you have just as many legal rights as the driver to seek compensation for any injuries or damages suffered in the accident. You may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages after a car crash.
Economic damages are monetary or quantifiable damages. Examples of economic damages may include, but are not limited to:
- Medical treatment costs
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Future medical bills for long-term injuries
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
Non-economic damages are non-monetary losses and are more challenging to measure than economic damages. A few examples of non-economic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Who Is Responsible for My Injuries as a Passenger in a Car Crash? You Have Options to Seek Compensation
Your options of recovering compensation depend on the circumstances surrounding your case. You may be able to seek compensatory damages from one or more drivers involved in the crash, including, but not limited to:
- The driver of your vehicle: If you suffer injuries in an accident, and the driver of your car is at fault, he or she may be liable for your injuries.
- Other drivers: If the other motorist or motorists are at fault, they may be liable for your injuries.
Was your car the only car involved in the accident? In a single-vehicle crash, your driver will most likely be liable for your damages. If the accident involves more than one driver, you may be able to recover compensation from more than one motorist. This is because California is a comparative fault state. Comparative fault means that two or more drivers may share responsibility for the accident.
Determining fault in a motor vehicle accident can be difficult. This is one reason why you should consider calling a personal injury lawyer after an accident. An experienced attorney can help you determine accident liability.
What Coverage Would Pay for the Injuries to the Passenger?
California requires that motorists carry liability insurance. Liability insurance helps a motorist pay for any damages or injuries others suffer when the motorist is the at-fault driver. California has minimum liability insurance requirements for passenger vehicles. These requirements include:
- $15,000 for injury and/or death to one person
- $30,000 for injury and/or death to more than one person
- $5,000 for property damage
What if the at-fault driver does not have car insurance? If this is the case, you may need to turn to your auto insurance policy. Do you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage? If so, then you may be able to file a claim with your insurance company.
Is There a Limit to the Amount of Compensation a Passenger Can Receive?
California’s minimum liability insurance coverage limits the amount of compensation you can receive. Limits are based on how many people suffered injuries in the accident.
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Single Victim Accident
If a motorist carries minimum liability insurance, the policy may only provide $15,000 in protection if one person suffers injuries or dies in the accident.
Multiple Victim Accident
Auto insurance policies may double the compensation if more than one person suffers injuries or dies. California’s minimum coverage is $30,000 for more than one person. Unfortunately, this is usually not in the best interest of the victims. For example, if four people suffered injuries, the insurance company may only pay out $30,000 total.
Can a Passenger Be Liable for a Car Accident?
In most cases, a passenger will not share any responsibility for an auto accident. It is the driver’s responsibility to maintain control of the car. However, there are exceptions when a passenger may share liability for an accident. Examples could include cases of a passenger:
- Operating the vehicle (i.e. taking hold of the steering wheel)
- Incapacitating the driver
- Obstructing the driver’s view
- Interfering with the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle
- Enabling or encouraging an unfit driver to drive
Seek the Assistance of a Car Accident Attorney to Handle Your Personal Injury Claim
We recommend hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to help you with your personal injury claim. An attorney can help you with your claim from the beginning and guide you through the entire legal process, including:
- Answering your legal questions
- Conducting an independent investigation of the accident
- Determining liability for your injuries and damages
- Collecting evidence to strengthen your claim
- Handling communication with the insurance adjuster and insurance company
- Negotiating with the insurance company for full and fair compensation
- Litigating on your behalf, if necessary
Consider discussing your unique situation with our dedicated attorneys. We have extensive experience helping victims of California car accidents. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients.
During a free consultation, we can answer your questions and help you understand your legal rights as a passenger. We can then determine how we may be able to help you.
Contact Our Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers After an Accident
Have you suffered a personal injury or damages as a passenger in a car accident? You have legal options as a passenger. You may have a viable car accident claim to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact the Los Angeles car accident attorneys of Steers & Associates to schedule a free consultation. We can answer your legal questions and help you understand your best legal options.
Call us at (800) 824-5416 – Link to your phone number here or fill out our online contact form. We provide consultations over the phone, through video conferencing, and in the office. We conveniently have offices across Southern California, including Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Lancaster, and Long Beach.
Allen Vaysberg practices personal injury law and works tirelessly to defeat the tactics of insurance companies and large corporations who try to deny justice and fair compensation to injured people.