The person who caused the car wreck was the driver of the car in which I was the passenger. Can I file a claim for my injuries?

passenger claiming injuriesIf you have been involved in a wreck that was not your fault, then you are entitled to be compensated for the damages that result from the accident. This is true even if you and the driver were in the same vehicle.

Even with simple accidents, if you are injured as a passenger, there are often up to four different kind of insurance coverages that can apply - the driver’s policy, the driver’s UIM policy, your own UIM policy, and your own PIP policy.

For example, let's say that you are injured as a passenger and both drivers are partially at fault. The breakdown could be as follows:

  1. Liability policy of the drivers:  You may be able to recover under both liability policies with the driver of the vehicle you were in, and the other driver involved in the accident. Each side would pay according to his percentage of fault.
  2. Your driver’s UIM policy: “Underinsured Motorist” (UIM) insurance policies essentially pay for medical expenses and other damages that result from an accident caused by a driver who does not have enough insurance to cover all of the damages. If the insurance to the liability policies described above do not fully compensate you for the harm you sustained during the accident, then your driver’s UIM policy can be used.
  3. Your own UIM policy: If the above insurance policies do not  fully compensate you, you can use your own UIM policy as well. This is true even if you do not own any of the vehicles involved in the wreck.
  4. PIP: “Personal insurance protection” (PIP), is an extension of your car insurance and it covers out of pocket medical expenses. Many times it is called “no-fault” coverage because it pays regardless of who is at fault and regardless of what other insurance policies have paid.

In sum, when there is an accident, it is extremely important to find all the insurance policies involved. This is especially true of you have substantial medical bills or lost wages.