Q. I was a passenger involved in a car accident with another car, in California. Who pays for my injuries?
A. There are several issues you to have to wade through before figuring out who will compensate you for your injuries.
First you have to figure out who was at fault in the accident.
If accident was your driver’s fault:
If the driver of the car you were riding in was at fault, then you will be making a claim against their insurance. You will not be suing the other driver, since they were not at fault in the accident.
Your driver has a duty to everyone, including passengers, to drive safely and carefully and not to cause accidents due to their negligence. If they do, they are financially responsible.
In California every driver must have insurance to ensure those injured by their mistakes don’t suffer without compensation.
Yes you might not feel right about making a claim against or suing your own friend or family member, but that’s why they have insurance. So this shouldn’t be personal, you will be making a claim against their insurance, and that’s why your driver bought auto insurance in the first place.
If the accident was the other driver’s fault:
If it was the other driver’s fault, then their insurance will be the primary party you can seek compensation from.
There is also the chance that California Uninsured Motorist (UM) provisions will be available. If the car you were driving in had no insurance, and the car accident was your driver’s fault, you can’t sue the other car. But if you have an existing policy, and there is UIM coverage, you might be able to make a claim against your own insurance.
If the accident was the fault of the other driver, and they did not have insurance, you may make a claim against your driver’s UM policy, and if there isn’t any, you may make one against yours, if necessary.
If both drivers are at fault:
There can also be situations where both drivers (if there were only two vehicles involved) are at fault. In that case the percentage of fault must be determined and attributed to each driver. Then both drivers will be responsible for that percentage of your injuries.
Do you need a car accident lawyer if you are a passenger injured in an accident?
Whoever you decide to pursue a claim against, you will be dealing with insurance adjusters who do not want to pay you what you are fully entitled to. They’ll want to take a recorded statement. They’ll ask you questions in a very rapid manner. They will then offer you a real low offer, probably not enough to even cover your medical bills.
You are suffering through many issues, with many unanswered questions right now. Including:
- serious injuries
- mounting medical bills
- missed time at work because you are in too much pain to go
As you can see, there are many questions and issues to sort through. An experienced car accident attorney can help you evaluate your California accident and help you make sure your interests are protected, and that you are fully compensated for your injuries. For more information, call our office right away to schedule a free consultation.