Can I Make a Claim as a Passenger If I’m Injured in a Car Accident?
Statistically, being in a car accident in Kentucky is more likely a matter of when, not if. Thousands of drivers in Kentucky get into car accidents each year. As a passenger, you have no control over whether or not the vehicle crashes. While this can be a nerve-wracking position to be in during the accident, it can make it easier to recover financial compensation after a crash. You may have a general understanding of how to handle a car accident claim as an injured driver. If you are an injured passenger, however, the claims process will look slightly different.
Common Passenger Injuries in a Car Accident
Riding in a car as a passenger can be dangerous during a collision, especially if you were riding in the front passenger seat. The crash could make you strike your head on the dashboard or windshield if you were not wearing your seat belt. Even with a seat belt, you could suffer internal organ injuries, broken bones or lacerations. Other common passenger injuries include whiplash, head injuries such as concussions, chest injuries, spinal cord injuries, soft-tissue injuries and wrongful death.
How to File a Passenger Injury Claim in Kentucky
Kentucky uses a relatively uncommon no-fault car insurance rule. It is a rule in place in only 12 states in the US. With this insurance rule, each driver will recover compensation through his or her own insurance policy after a car accident, whether or not the driver was at fault for the collision. All drivers in Kentucky must carry at least $25,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per person, $50,000 per accident and $10,000 in property damage liability insurance. After a crash, each driver will seek benefits through first-party insurance claims.
As an injured passenger, the driver of your vehicle should cover your injuries and losses through his or her auto insurance plan. You will be able to file an insurance claim with your driver’s auto insurance provider. The driver’s bodily injury liability insurance will pay for your medical bills up to the policy’s maximum. It will also need to stretch to cover the driver’s medical bills, as well as the bills of any other passengers in the vehicle. The driver may run out of insurance coverage before fully reimbursing your medical costs.
Luckily, you also have the right to file a third-party liability claim against the other driver as a passenger. If the driver of your car does not have enough insurance, you can file a claim for additional benefits with the other driver’s insurer. You may also be able to seek benefits through your own auto insurance or health insurance coverage. Your insurance company will seek reimbursement for its own expenses from the correct driver’s insurer. Finally, you may be able to file an injury lawsuit in Kentucky in certain circumstances.
When Would You Need to File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Although it is uncommon, you may be unable to successfully resolve your claim with an auto insurance company at the settlement stage. Both drivers’ insurance companies may have a dispute regarding fault, for example, or your crash may involve one or more uninsured drivers. Your injuries may also be severe or catastrophic, making it more difficult to obtain fair compensation. If an insurance company denies your initial claim or offers insufficient compensation for your losses, you may need to take the matter to court in Kentucky.
Hire a car accident attorney to represent you during a lawsuit. An attorney can ensure the full protection of your rights as an injured passenger and someone who was not at fault for the car accident. Keep in mind that you will have to bring your lawsuit within Kentucky’s statute of limitations. This is two years from the date of the accident or two years from the last no-fault insurance payment (whichever is later) for auto accident claims. Speak to an attorney about your injuries as a passenger as soon as possible to make sure you meet the filing deadline.