Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting In Multiple Fractures
Our client was a passenger in an automobile that was involved in a serious car collision. She was taken to the emergency room and diagnosed as having multiple traumas including fractures to ribs and clavicle, a concussion and lung contusions. Extensive treatment and therapy were required as a result. On this woman’s behalf, we successfully negotiated a settlement in the amount of $175,000 in an effort to spare our client the necessity of waiting years for a trial and testifying before the court.
Injuries to Passengers in a Car Crash
In one recent year, over 23,000 passengers died in vehicle crashes. When an automobile, bus, or truck crash happens, it must be determined which of the drivers of the various vehicles may or may not have been at fault. Sometimes, especially in the case of multiple vehicle accidents, more than one driver may have been negligent, and each driver, in varying degrees, may have been partially responsible for the terrible event. Each accident is different in this regard.
But one thing is almost always true, which is that passengers in such vehicles are virtually never a contributing cause to such crashes. This of course includes riders in a bus, Uber, taxi, or limousine. Unless it can be shown that a passenger grabbed the wheel, attacked the driver, blinded the driver or the like (and thereby contributed to the crash), passengers are otherwise generally unprotected travelers who may have to suffer the effects of negligent drivers without any effective way to protect themselves.
The first thing that always occurs when multiple insured cars are involved in an accident is a determination of liability. Insurance companies are certainly not quick to accept responsibility for an accident involving one of their insured. To do so would mean that they will have to pay damages (money) to other parties. Sometimes, they have little choice when the cause of the accident is clear, such as their driver being intoxicated, or if the accident was a single car crash in which the driver left the roadway and crashed into a telephone pole. But if there is any question about fault, you can be assured that the insurance companies will fight over that issue, sometimes all the way to a trial, and for many years down the road.
Who Should a Passenger Sue in an Auto Accident?
One thing is usually clear in such cases; it is not the passenger’s fault. But who should be the subject of a claim or lawsuit? If the liability is unclear, generally an attorney will sue all parties involved just to be safe. That is because if the proper party is not included and the statute of limitations (time limit) runs out on the lawsuit, it will be impossible to add additional parties later. Generally, the passenger may make a claim against:
- Their driver’s Insurance: If it appears that the driver of the car in which they were traveling was the one at fault, they can file against their driver’s insurance company. But if the driver is a member of their own family, they may not be able to, because the passenger may be a covered party on that policy, and one cannot claim against one’s own liability insurance.
- Other driver’s Insurance: When the other driver is at fault, the insurance policy for the other driver should pay. But keep in mind that if there are multiple people in the passenger’s vehicle that were seriously injured, they may have to split the proceeds of the other party’s maximum insurance policy limit.
- Passenger’s Policy: A claim may also be filed against the passenger’s own car insurance policy under the medical payments coverage provision, although it will generally not pay for any pain and suffering or lost time from work. As such, it is not the preferred source of compensation and if there are opportunities to access the other drivers’ policies, that is almost always preferred.
There is only one constant when it comes to accident cases; insurance companies never pay gladly or without being pushed. Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC knows how to work with these insurance companies and has been successfully helping injured passengers obtain maximum compensation for their injuries since 1990. Contact us at 800-996-4824.