An accident can be a very traumatizing experience, even for a passenger. The level of anxiety and pain of a person directly involved in an accident, either as a driver or passenger, cannot accurately be quantified. It may even be more difficult for the passenger who is not in control of the vehicle.
After a traumatic accident, there is a long road to recovery, and the passenger may wonder about the best options available to them. If you want to recover compensation after a passenger accident, several alternatives are available to you in Florida. These options are made available by Florida Law.
Options for an Injured Passenger
Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
Under Personal Injury Protection, you can approach your insurance company to recover compensation when you are involved in an accident. Personal Injury Protection Coverage is ‘no-fault’ coverage. PIP implies that the injured passenger can claim compensation from their insurance company without having to prove fault. Your insurance company will compensate you for expenses such as medical expenses, loss of wages and opportunities, and incidental expenses not exceeding your policy limit.
In Florida, Personal Injury Protection is mandatory and must include at least 10,000 dollars in coverage.
Your Driver’s Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) Insurance Policy
An injured passenger may also decide to file a claim under the Driver’s Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) Insurance Policy. Injured passengers will recover additional compensation under a BIL Insurance Policy if the injury is serious, severe, significant, and a life-long impairment.
As an injured passenger, you can recover compensation under this option when the negligent driver had a Driver’s Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Policy. However, unlike a PIP, this insurance policy requires proof of fault. You file your claim under a Driver’s Bodily Injury Liability, usually where the driver is a relative, a co-worker, or a friend.
Another Driver’s Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) Insurance Policy
When another driver is responsible for the accident, you will file your claim under Another Driver’s Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Policy. This Insurance Policy will also require proof of fault.
Third-Party Claim for Liability
An injured passenger will file their claim under a third party claim for liability when other factors caused the accident which led up to the injury. For example, a faulty vehicle or a bad road caused the accident. When these extraneous factors play a role in causing the accident, you can recover compensation under a third-party claim for liability.
The Types of Compensation Available for Passengers
Like most personal injury claims, passenger accident claims have about the same financial compensation. Compensation in personal injury claims is in the form of damages. These expenses include out-of-pocket expenses occasioned by the injury, medical expenses, and possible future expenses resulting from the injury. Damages can be general or special.
- General damages (or general compensatory damages): Unlike special damages, general damages cannot be quantified. An example is the pain and suffering the injured party has suffered since the injury occurred.
- Special damages (or special compensatory damages): Special damages are reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the injured party. When a person has suffered a physical injury, all costs are out of pocket that can be awarded as special damages as long as the injured person can account for the expenses.
What You Can Claim Compensation For
An injured passenger can claim compensation for any of the following:
- Medical Expenses
- Loss of wages
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of opportunity and reduced earning capacity
- Physical deformity
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
- Likely future expenses
Challenges That May Arise as a Passenger
To escape eventual liability, insurance companies may accuse you of comparative negligence. Florida is a comparative negligence state. Once one can prove comparative negligence, it will prevent the injured passenger from claiming all their total compensation. Comparative negligence will arise, for example, in the following instances.
- When the passenger distracted the driver
- When the passenger took control of the steering wheel
- When the passenger did not fasten their seatbelt
- When the driver acted on a piece of information from the passenger which turned out to be false
- When the passenger rode with a driver whom they know to be unlicensed, unable to drive or suffering from an impairment
Insurance companies may begin to shift liability to each other to not to bear the eventual liability of having to pay compensation to the injured passenger.
Proving the Injury is Related to the Accident
Insurance companies may say that another factor caused the accident. Suppose you have a medical history of a previous illness or condition. In that case, insurance may manipulate the situation to show that a bad state of health aggravated your injury.
Establishing a link between the injury suffered and the accident will be necessary. When the injured passenger wastes time before seeking medical care and assessment from a licensed health practitioner, it makes it difficult for them to establish the connection between the injury and accident.
Worth of the Accident
Your passenger accident attorney, after bringing together the facts, can help you determine the worth of your accident and represent this to your insurance company.
Without your attorney by your side, the insurance company’s cost of your accident may be minimized because passengers and drivers alike find it difficult to accurately estimate the worth of their accidents. An injured passenger is entitled to compensation for past, present, and future financial and non-financial losses if you have a claim outside of PIP. Insurance companies will try to keep your financial recovery to a minimum to protect their interest.
You will need an expert attorney on your side to avoid settling for less than you deserve.
Suppose you have suffered as a passenger in a bad car accident. In that case, we at the Coleman Law Group are a team of experienced attorneys who will present your case to try to help you recover the best financial compensation you deserve. Reach out to us for a free evaluation at 727-214-0400 or you can find us at 2901 1st Ave N, St. Petersburg FL, 33703.