If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident as a passenger, you more than likely suffered injuries through no fault of your own. In fact, unlike many accidents, you can almost automatically be eliminated as the person at fault. The only way a passenger could cause an accident is by doing something truly reckless, such as suddenly grabbing the steering wheel.
If that’s not the case, you’re probably off the hook, but now you have injuries you need compensation for. For assistance, consult with a Los Angeles passenger injury lawyer who can walk you through the claims process and ensure your injury claim is as strong as possible.
Filing an Accident Claim
Even as a negligent-free passenger, receiving compensation for your injuries can still be an involved process. Several different insurance companies, including your own, may be involved. If one policy compensates you for part of your claim, the amount you can receive from other policies may be reduced by this amount.
There are a lot of caveats involved when dealing with the insurance companies. An experienced Los Angeles passenger accident attorney can help you file a claim against the driver(s) at fault, as well as his or her insurance company. You’ll need to establish proof of your claim, which your attorney can help you do by presenting evidence such as the police report, statements from the parties involved as well as any witnesses, and physical evidence from the scene.
California’s Fault-Based Legal System
Different states have different laws for handling a motor vehicle claim. Some states have “no-fault” car insurance laws. In these states, unless your damages reach a certain amount, you’ll file a claim against your own auto insurance company even if you weren’t at fault. California, however, is a fault-based accident state, so you can file a claim against the insurance of the driver who was at fault without first incurring a baseline amount of damages.
You may be hesitant to file a claim if you were a passenger in the car of the driver who was at fault, particularly if he or she is a close friend. But people carry insurance exactly for this reason, and it may be the only way to receive money for your injuries. Additionally, you may have to make a claim against your driver’s insurance if the other driver isn’t insured, or you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident where the at-fault driver is never found.
If the driver’s insurance limits aren’t high enough to cover your damages, or if the insurance company makes a low settlement offer, your passenger accident attorney can help you determine whether to file a lawsuit. You may also receive additional benefits from your own health or auto insurance. An experienced passenger injury attorney in Los Angeles can help you navigate all your avenues of recovery.
California is a comparative negligence state, so if you were in some way partially responsible for the accident, or for failing to mitigate your injuries, you can still recover a percentage of your damages. If you got into the car with a driver you knew was intoxicated or failed to follow the state’s seat belt laws, your damages can be reduced somewhat, but not completely.
Getting Help From a Passenger Accident Attorney
Contact a Los Angeles passenger accident attorney for a free consultation. The legal process can be complicated and difficult to navigate, and we’ll make sure you receive the advice and representation you need.