Passenger Rights in a Vehicle Accident

Read Time: 2.5 minutes

TL;DR

  • If you are a passenger in an accident, you can file a third-party claim with the insurer of the driver at fault.
  • If you were a passenger in a collision while in a car that you own, you can file a claim with the insurance of the driver at fault; however, if that driver does not carry insurance, you can seek recovery under your own UIM policy, if you have them.
  • The compensation that you are able to recover will possibly be limited by the insurance coverage held by you and both drivers, and the extent of damages that you have suffered.
  • The maximum amount a passenger can receive is no more than the total amount of the claim, even if you file claims against both drivers.

When a vehicular accident happens, emphasis is usually placed on the drivers and which is at fault in causing the accident. But if there are passengers in one or both of the vehicles, they have the legal rights briefly described below.

 

If you are a passenger in an accident, who do you file a claim against?

As a passenger, you may find yourself unsure of which driver is responsible for your injuries and damages. Which driver is at fault? Because Louisiana is a comparative fault state, it is possible for each driver to be partially at fault. Therefore, you can file a third party claim with the insurers of both drivers if they are both at fault. These are known as third party claims because you are filing a claim against an insurance company that is not your own. Both drivers’ insurance policies should cover your injuries under their bodily injury coverage.

According to the Louisiana Department of Insurance, if the owner of the car that you were a passenger in at the time of collision has medical payments coverage, then your injuries will be covered by the policy regardless of which driver was at fault.

However, medical payments coverage is optional in Louisiana, and not all drivers elect to have it. So, you may not be able to recover damages under this type of coverage.

 

What if you, as a passenger, owned the car?

If you were a passenger in a collision while in a car that you own, seeking compensation from your own insurance policy can be difficult.

As stated above, if the other driver is at fault in causing the accident, you can file a claim with their insurer. But if that driver does not carry insurance, you can seek recovery under your own uninsured or underinsured insurance motorist (UIM) policy, if you have them.

However, if the driver of your car was at fault in causing the collision, then you will have to make sure that your policy will allow you to seek damages under your own bodily injury coverage. Again, if you have medical payments coverage, this will pay for your damages and injuries regardless of who was at fault.

 

As a passenger in an accident, what can you seek compensation for?

The compensation that you are able to recover will possibly be limited by the insurance coverage held by you and both drivers, and the extent of damages that you have suffered. In most cases, though, you should be able to recover compensation for:

  • The full amount of your past and future medical expenses,
  • Any and all property damage,
  • And other economic damages.

It may be possible for you to seek non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, depending on the facts of your accident. In Louisiana, there is no cap on the amount of non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, that you can recover in a car accident passenger lawsuit.

However, the maximum amount a passenger can receive is no more than the total amount of the claim, even if you file claims against both drivers.

If you have been injured in a car accident in which you were a passenger, contact our office today for a free consultation to learn your rights.

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