Can a Passenger in a Car Accident File an Injury Claim?
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Can a Passenger in a Car Accident File an Injury Claim?

15th January 2024

Can a Passenger in a Car Accident File an Injury Claim - Sand Law PLLC

Summary

  • The passenger in a car accident has rights that an experienced attorney can help seek compensation for.
  • Passengers have the same rights as drivers when hurt in a car accident.
  • Obtaining compensation can pose a challenge due to multiple insurance policies, comparative negligence, and other complexities.
  • A skilled car accident attorney can navigate those complexities to help an injured passenger get the money they have coming.

When most people think about legal action stemming from a car accident, they focus on the drivers involved in the wreck. But passengers can face severe injuries from a car accident as well. If you were a passenger in a car wreck, can you file an injury claim?

As you’ll see in this article, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” You have the same legal rights as anyone else hurt in an accident. At Sand Law, our attorneys deeply understand the complexities of these kinds of cases. We’ll help you navigate these complexities and obtain the money you deserve. Call 701-609-1510 or contact us online for a free consultation.

A Unique Situation

When a passenger suffers an injury in a car accident, they face a unique situation compared to the drivers involved. Unlike drivers, passengers typically aren’t responsible for the accident. But while you might think it would be easy, passengers often have challenges recovering compensation for their losses.

North Dakota follows a “no-fault” insurance system, meaning drivers seek compensation from their insurance companies regardless of who caused the accident. However, passengers can also file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance to cover their medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

Understanding Passenger Rights in North Dakota

North Dakota law allows passengers injured in car accidents to file a claim against the driver who was at fault. This process typically involves dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

While North Dakota is a no-fault state for drivers, passengers can bypass the no-fault system and seek compensation directly from the responsible party if their insurance doesn’t cover their damages.

To pursue a claim against the at-fault driver, you must establish the driver’s negligence or fault in causing the accident. This should involve getting the help of a car accident attorney to gather evidence such as witness statements, accident reports, surveillance video that supports your claim, and any other relevant proof that supports your version of events.

Dealing with Multiple Insurance Policies

When a passenger is involved in a car accident where the vehicle’s driver and another involved driver share fault, seeking compensation becomes complicated. The reason is the passenger may need to navigate multiple insurance policies.

This scenario adds layers of complexity to an already challenging situation. An injured passenger will need a skilled car accident lawyer to have the best chance of recovering their losses fully.

Shared Fault and Coordinating Claims

North Dakota follows the legal principle of comparative negligence. If both drivers share blame for an accident, the court reduces their compensation based on the respective percentage of fault. For example, if the court finds one driver 20% at fault, and their damages are $100,000, they’d receive $80,000 instead.

But since you weren’t driving, the court likely can’t assign fault to you. Regardless of comparative negligence, you deserve full compensation for your injury. But getting that compensation can be complicated.

In instances where both drivers share fault for the accident, you may find yourself in a unique position of having to coordinate claims with the insurance companies of each at-fault party. This coordination is crucial to maximizing the available coverage and securing fair compensation for injuries and damages.

Each driver’s respective insurance policies typically provide coverage after an accident. The passenger may need to file claims with both insurance companies to address their medical expenses, property damage, and other losses. However, this process requires a thorough understanding of each policy’s terms, conditions, and limitations.

This is yet another reason to hire a car accident lawyer immediately. Your attorney will handle all coordination and help you obtain fair compensation.

Coordination Challenges

Understanding the interplay between various insurance policies can be challenging for non-lawyers. Insurance policies often have specific clauses, exclusions, and limitations that may affect the scope of coverage. Coordinating claims requires carefully examining these details to ensure victims don’t overlook potential compensation avenues.

Challenges may arise when determining the extent of liability for each driver, especially if their respective insurance companies dispute or contest the degree of fault attributed to their policyholders. This can lead to disputes, delays, and potential reductions in the overall compensation available to the passenger.

How an Attorney Can Help With Insurance Complexities

Given the complexities of multiple insurance policies, seeking legal advice is the best course of action. Experienced personal injury attorneys know how to navigate the intricacies of insurance claims and can provide invaluable assistance to passengers seeking compensation.

Here are some of the ways an attorney will help:

  • Policy review and analysis – A skilled attorney can thoroughly analyze each driver’s insurance policy to identify relevant coverage details, limitations, and potential areas of overlap.
  • Negotiation and advocacy – In cases where disputes or disagreements arise between insurance companies, an attorney is a powerful advocate for the passenger. Negotiating on behalf of the injured party, a lawyer will work to secure a fair and comprehensive settlement that adequately covers all losses.
  • Mediation or legal proceedings – If disputes persist, legal professionals can guide passengers through mediation or, if necessary, legal proceedings. This involves presenting a compelling case to establish liability, quantify damages, and advocate for the passenger’s right to equitable compensation.

Other Potential Challenges and Considerations

In cases where multiple parties share fault, determining the extent to which each party is responsible can be challenging. Passengers may find themselves caught in disputes between insurance companies, each trying to minimize their liability.

An attorney can protect your best interests and advocate for fair compensation. They can investigate to determine the fault of each driver and ensure they both pay their fair share for your damages.

Understanding the insurance coverage limits is also crucial when pursuing an automobile accident claim. Passengers may encounter situations where the at-fault driver lacks insurance to cover their losses fully. In such cases, underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage in their insurance policy can provide an additional avenue for compensation.

Yet another essential consideration is North Dakota’s statute of limitations on personal injury claims. You must take action within six years from the accident date. Failing to do so can result in losing your right to seek compensation.

Speak With a Sand Law Attorney to Learn More

The attorneys with Sand Law will do everything possible to ensure you obtain the money you have coming for your injury. Schedule a free case review by calling 701-609-1510 or using our online contact form.

 

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