When you get in the car with someone, there is a level of trust you must give them. They are in control of the vehicle that you’re in, traveling at high speeds, and making sure everyone is safe by being observant and cautious. However, what if the driver of the car you’re in causes an accident? Or, what if another driver on the roads hits the car you’re riding in? Let’s discuss your legal options as an injured passenger.
Common Car Accident Injuries
As a passenger in a car accident, you may experience mild to severe injuries.
Some of the most common car accident injuries include:
- Cuts and bruises
- Bone fractures and breaks
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
If you experience any of these injuries due to a driver’s negligence or lack of focus on the road, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Your Rights as a Passenger
Whether you are in the at-fault car or not, you can file a personal injury claim and seek insurance compensation. As a passenger, you have no liability in the accident.
If you are in the at-fault car, you may seek compensation from the driver. If you and your driver are hit by the at-fault car, you may seek compensation from the liable driver. Either way, you may file a claim against the at-fault party.
Things are a bit more complicated if you are injured as a passenger within an Uber, Lyft, or another ride-share vehicle. These types of rides are becoming more and more common, as people living in large cities find it easier to get a quick ride than drive and park their vehicle. Additionally, some people find ride-sharing to be cheaper than car ownership.
Technically, ride-share drivers are employees. If the driver has the appropriate insurance (commercial car insurance or a personal policy that applies when acting as a ride-sharing driver), you may seek compensation directly from the driver. It’s important to note, though, that most Uber and Lyft drivers do not have this type of insurance. In fact, they may even have a personal insurance policy that specifically doesn’t apply when driving for a ride-share program.
In cases where you cannot pursue compensation from the vehicle driver, you may be offered a settlement directly from the ride-share company. Uber and Lyft have third-party insurance that will cover accident damages up to $1 million.
If the accident was caused by another driver and not your ride-share driver, you may file a personal injury claim and seek compensation directly from the at-fault driver. If that driver is uninsured, you may seek compensation from Uber or Lyft.
What Can You Seek Compensation For?
After a car accident, you may seek compensation for numerous injuries and other damages caused by the collision.
Valid reasons for compensation include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Medical bills
- Counseling bills
- Future medical and counseling bills
- Lost income while out of work recovering from injury
While you cannot actively pursue punitive damages, you may still be awarded them after an accident. These are additional payments that the judge orders the at-fault driver to make if their conduct leading to the accident was exceptionally negligent or careless. For example, excessive speeding endangering everyone on the road leading to an accident causing injury.
Your First Steps After the Accident
First, you will want to speak with a personal injury attorney about your case. Working with a personal injury attorney significantly increases your chances of getting a fair settlement. Then, you’ll want to begin collecting all available evidence that shows who is at-fault for the accident. You’ll also want to collect official medical records that show your injuries are a direct result of the accident.
Filing Personal Injury Claim in Miami, Florida
If you believe you have grounds to file a personal injury claim after being injured as a passenger in a car accident, contact Mitchell & West, LLC. Not only can we help you with the administrative steps, but we can advocate for you to get the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies are eager to make money and they often offer injured drivers low settlements in order to keep higher profits. We want to ensure that you get every dollar that you are entitled to. Call (305) 783-3301 to speak with our Miami personal injury attorneys about your case today.